Task Manager in Windows Server 2008

Task Manager provides quick information on applications and services currently running on your server. It provides information such as processor usage in percentage terms, memory usage, task priority, response, and some statistics about memory and processor performance. Task Manager is very useful as a quick system sanity check, and it is usually evoked as a troubleshooting tool when a system indicates slow response times, lockups or errors, or messages pointing to lack of system resources, and so on.

Task Manager is started in several ways:

1) Right-click the taskbar (the bottom-right area where the time is usually displayed) and select Task Manager from the context menu.

2) Press Ctrl+Shift and press the Esc key.

3) Press Ctrl+Alt and press the Del key. The Windows Security dialog box loads. Click Task Manager.

When Task Manager loads, you will notice that the dialog box has six tabs: Applications, Processes, Services, Performance, Networking, and Users. You can perform several useful tricks with Task Manager:

1) The columns can be sorted in ascending or descending order by clicking the column heads. The columns can also be resized.

2) When Task Manager is running, a CPU gauge icon displaying accurate information is placed into the system tray on the bottom-right of the screen. If you drag your mouse cursor over this area, you will see a pop-up menu of the current CPU usage.

3) You can keep the Task Manager button off the system tray if you use it a lot. You do this by selecting the Options menu and then checking the Hide When Minimized option. The CPU icon next to the system time remains, however.

4) You can control the rate of Refresh or Update from the View and then Update Speed menu. You can also pause the update to preserve resources and click Refresh Now to update the display at any time.

The Processes tab is the most useful, providing a list of running processes on the system. It measures their performance in simple data. These include CPU percent used, CPU time allocated to a resource, and memory usage.

Several additional performance or process measures can be added to or removed from the list on the Processes page. Select View and then Select Columns. This will show the Select Columns dialog box, which enables you to add or remove process counters.

You can also terminate a process by selecting the process in the list and then clicking the End Process button. Some processes are protected, but you can terminate them using the kill or remote kill utilities that are included in the operating system. You will need authority to kill processes, and before you do, you should fully understand the ramifications of terminating a process.

The Performance tab enables you to graph the percentage of processor time in kernel mode. To show this, select the View menu and check the Show Kernel Times option. Kernel times is the measure of time that applications are using operating system services.

The remaining time, known as user mode, is spent in threads that are spawned by applications. If your server supports multiple processes, you can click CPU History on the View menu and graph each processor in a single graph pane or in separate graph panes. The Application tab lists running applications. You can terminate an application that has become unresponsive or that you determine is in trouble or is the cause of trouble on the server.