Microsoft details new features in the Windows 8 Task Manager


In another Building Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft details the major changes the company has made with its Windows 8 Task Manager. Of the new features, we explore the new heat map, friendly names, default view, and the ability to search the web for details on an unknown process.

Microsoft had three goals in mind when it came to developing the new task manager, as the company mentioned in their Building Windows 8 blog. First, the task manager needs to be optimized for the most common scenarios. “Focus on the scenarios that the data points to either use the applications tab to find and close a specific application, or go to the processes tab, sort on resource usage, and kill some processes to reclaim resources.” Secondly, the task manager needs to use modern information design to achieve functional goals. “Build a tool that is thoughtful and modern by focusing on information design and data visualization to help achieve the functional scenario goals.” And finally, the task manager should not lack functionality. “While there are some notable core scenarios, there is a really long list of other, less frequent usage scenarios for Task Manager. We explicitly set a goal to not remove functionality, but rather to augment, enhance, and improve.”

The default view of the new Task Manager displays a clean view of your running apps. Microsoft worked on making the default view great at killing misbehaving apps and removed anything that did otherwise. For example:

  • We took out the tabs from this view, since they distract from the core scenario.
  • We removed the menu bar from the default view.
  • This view shows just the apps, and removes individual windows that can’t be killed anyway.
  • We took out things that clutter the experience, such as resource usage stats and technical concepts that most users don’t understand.
  • No double prompts. If you click ”End task” we don’t ask you, “Are you sure?”, we just kill the app, and quickly! (But be careful, because we also won’t prompt you to save!)

The new Task Manager now contains a heat map that “allows you to monitor anomalies across multiple resources (network, disk, memory, and CPU utilization) all at the same time, without having to sort the data.”

Processes are also grouped by type, to keep items separated while providing an ungrouped view when needed.

Windows 8 users can also search the web for details on a process by simply right clicking on it within the Task Manager.

The new Task Manager also shows all of the services grouped by process with friendly names for each of them, so users no longer just see ten instances of svchost.exe.