Microsoft details Windows 8 Task Manager features and layout

By on October 14, 2011, 12:30 PM

Microsoft has detailed some of the new changes in Task Manager coming with Windows 8. The new version is a major change to the app that brings multiple improvements to one of Microsoft’s most commonly used features.

As with previous correspondence regarding their next-generation operating system, information about the new Task Manager comes via the Building Windows 8 blog. Group program manager of Microsoft’s In Control of Your PC team Ryan Haveson outlines some fundamental problems with the existing app that the team wanted to address.

They wanted to build a tool that was well designed, thoughtful and modern. Additionally the team wanted to fill in some gaps that forced more technical users to use other tools, such as Resource Monitor and Process Explorer. Finally, the new Task Manager needed better data organization for those new to this level of data.

During the redesign process, Microsoft found that 85 percent of users only used the Applications and Processes tabs in Task Manager. Further analysis showed that most users sort columns by CPU usage, private working set and image name, and that the top user actions have to do with ending tasks.

As such, a new set of goals came to life for the project. The team wanted to optimize Task Manager for the most common scenarios and use a modern interface to achieve fundamental goals, all without removing functionality in the process.

The new Task Manager is much cleaner looking than previous versions, but by using a “More details” button, technical users can still access much of the same functionality as before. Microsoft has also done a much better job grouping similar tasks together and filtering data based on usage statistics. There is even a heat map which represents different values with colors based on usage. You can read more about the changes at the Building Windows 8 blog.

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