Monday, February 9, 2009

Windows 7 – Task Manager & Resource Monitor

IMO the Task Manager has been a pitiful and misused utility in the Windows OS series. The information provided on the various tabs was painfully inadequate to get anything other than the most rudimentary picture of the current state of the OS. The good people/person at SysInternals came along and provided, what I believe should have been the actual Task Manager, Process Explorer (not to mention a slew of other useful utilities, ok I mentioned it..).

Along came Vista and the Resource Monitor button on the Performance tab of the Task Manager


No need to picture it here, but the Vista version of the Resource Monitor was/is, hopefully this won’t be to technical for you, ICKY. Limited sizing, cramped data, limited sorting and generally confusing interface. Basically, a very tiny evolution above the modal pop-up.

Windows 7 has actually improved the Resource Monitor significantly. It’s still not up to snuff with the SysInternals tools, but as a stand alone quicky utility it is finally getting useful.

It starts with the Overview tab. Notice the good info about network connections and which files are actually open and being written to. INCLUDING THE FILE PATH!


You can size each pane and size the columns. You also have multiple histogram views. MUCH BETTER.

The CPU Tab gives us Modules and Handles similar to Process Explorer. Plus, a nice filter for the handles.


The Memory Tab has the familiar list of processes and their respective sizes. But it also has a nice little graphic for the RAM snapshot. Keep in mind that the frames are now sizeable and you can choose which columns to display.


The Disk Tab also has useful information that you can filter by application or process.


Last, but not least, the Network tab which actually shows…GASP…some network information. What a shocker. Actual network information available right from an actual built-in, accessible OS tool….Excuse me while I go throw the flying pigs out of my house.


The interface is still a bit clumsy. It’s also a bit cramped, unnecessarily so if you’ve used the SysInternal tools or a ton of other system monitoring tools. I don’t get it. MS owns the tool set. Why don’t they model the new tools on the ones that are done right? Anyhow, minor quibbles aside. There are a few other nice goodies hidden around in the right clicks. Like, Analyzing a process on the Memory Tab. Overall, this is a drastic improvement over what the Task Manager used to be. Another W7 win.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff. I'm testing Win7 on my new laptop. I have seen a lot of things I like, including the improved Task Manager. So far, everything seems to be working - except the sound drivers. That's the risk of running a beta.

    What I like about the new Task Manager is that it's getting closer and closer to my roots. I was a Unix SysAdmin for 5 years. One of the the things I still like about Unix is the ability to see and manage all the processes. I know why Microsoft could NOT allow that level of access, but it's great to see them always getting closer and making it easy to see how the system is functioning.

    Also, thank you for directing me to your blog. I like the way you write and I like what you are writing about. Keep up the great articles.

    jeff shuey