Working With Windows XP Task Manager

Sure, you could install a whole myriad of different tools and utilities to monitor and control the performance of your Windows XP system. And if you wanted to, you could even spend a whole lot of money in the process. However, the truth is that one of the most simple and effective utilities for this purpose is already sitting on your system, right under your nose. We’re talking about Windows Task Manager, otherwise known as the little utility that could…
Although Task Manager has been around in different iterations since Windows 3.1, the Windows XP version provides one of the simplest ways to monitor and control the performance of your PC. Not only does it provide details about the processes running on your system and the resources they are consuming, but it also provides some pretty slick little graphs to give you a quick visual snapshot of system performance. In this mini-series we’ll deeper into Task Manager, showing you how it can be used to better manager you XP system.

Accessing Task Manager

The method in which you access Task Manager may depend on the version of Windows XP that you’re running. XP Home users can easily open the utility by press Ctrl+Alt+Del, or by right clicking on the Windows Taskbar and selecting the Task Manager shortcut. If you’re running XP Professional, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete opens the Windows Security dialog box, from which you can press the Task Manager button to launch it. The taskbar shortcut method works for Professional as well.

Task Manager consists of five main tabs, each of which provides different information and useful functions. We’ll take a look at all five in this series, along with some of the additional features of Task Manager that you’ll want to be familiar with.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.