10 Windows 8.1 Task Manager Features You May Not Know


The new Task Manager in Windows 8 has a lot of useful features. Some of them are very obvious but some are quite hidden. You won’t notice them until you really need and find them quite useful. Here are 10 tips about the new features in this new Task Manager in Windows 8 that you may not know, until now.

Tip #1: 5 ways to launch the powerful Task Manager

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
  2. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del, and select Task Manager from the list.
  3. Press Win+X, and select Task Manager from the Win+X menu.
  4. On Start Screen, type “Task”, and hit Task Manager from the list.
  5. On desktop, right click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.

Tip #2: Toggle the resource value units

Right click any process in Processes tab, go to Resource values, and one of the resources. And from there, you can change the display units from Percents to Values, or vice versa.

Task Manager - change units

Tip #3: Switch To or Bring the Application up front

In Processes tab, not only can you kill the process you want to end, but also switch to or bring the process up front, if it’s lost under your other applications. You will need to expand the application tree first, and right click the process you want to Switch To or Bring it Front. The difference between test two is that Switch To will minimize the Task Manager while Bring it Front doesn’t.

Task Manager - Switch To

Tip #4: Restart Windows Explorer

Right click Windows Explorer process in Processes tab, and choose to Restart right there.

Task Manager - restart Windows Explorer

Tip #5: You will love the command line

While in Processes tab, right click one of the columns title and check Command Line to enable it. I guess you will like the clear indication where the processes are located.

Task Manager - command line

You can also right click the process and choose Open file location to go directly there in File Explorer.

Tip #6: Not sure what the process is? Search Online

If you are suspicious about any processes, right click on them and select Search Online. And it opens the default browser and searches the name in the default search engine you have set up. Also note that you can do the same to the processes in Details tab as well.

Task Manager - search online

Tip #7: Multiple view options in Performance graph

I am actually combining a few tips together, as they are all related in the same category.

1. Double click the graph view to toggle between Summery View and Full view.

2. Displaying CPU utilization graph in individual logical process mode. Right click the CPU performance graph → Change Graph To → one of 3 different mode, overall utilization, NUMA nodes, and logical processors.

Task Manager - CPU graph mode

3. How many slots of RAM used?

Task Manager - Memory graph

4. Copy the performance info and paste them to notepad

Task Manager - Performance Copy

5. You can open Resource Monitor right from the bottom of the Task Manager, while still in Performance tab.

Tip #8: Show history for all processes

Go to App history tab, and then go to Option to select show history for all processes to see a full historical resource utilization for all apps, not only those that are currently running, but all apps that have and had run.

Task Manager - show history for all apps

You can clear out the history by clicking on the tiny link Delete usage history at the top of App history tab.

Tip #9: More columns to Startup

To find more information about how a startup application performs, right click the Column title and choose more columns from there.

Task Manager - more column options for Startup

Tip #10: Analyze wait chain

In Details tab, right click the process you want to investigate, and select Analyze wait chain.

Task Manager - Details tab Analyze wait chain

And the Analyze wait chain window pops up with a list of processes the process is either waiting or depending on running. If you see one from the list that holds up the main process, terminate it right there.

Task Manager - Analyze wait chain

This is actually a great feature that would allow you to easily determine if a non-responsive application is waiting on another process to finish, and to terminate it right from there. To my own opinion, this is the best of all tips I am sharing in this post. I am actually saving the best at last.

That’s all for now…until next time, I guess. How many of these features have you not known of?



  1. Hi all
    Very interesting, learned a lot. Thank you!
    Is there a trick to force the column shown by default?
    Taskmgr always displays processes, when started, but I would be very happy if it could show the performance window, instead.
    Thank in advance for your reply.
    Running msconfig, I found that taskmanager was defined with an added /7 parameter
    Which utility? I tried from the run command with /0, /1,… without differences in behaviour.
    I am running Windows 8.1 Pro…

    • I don’t think it will default to the Performance tab. I’d like to have that feature as well.

      Good observation on the parameter…and sorry, have no idea what the difference it makes. I tried all of them too but with the same result.

  2. (continued)
    Here is the reaon of my request.
    I want to view taskmgr at start-up, and succeeded to do it with a reg key.
    It should then be easy to add a parameter to directly display the performance
    window, but till now didn’t find nothing helpfull.
    So any help should be greatly appreciated.


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