UNIVERSITY OF THE THIRD AGE
We have put together a document (PDF) and a FlipBook, that explains this below. Click on either and you can read more about how the Task Manager works. There is also a video that demonstrates how the Task Manager works.
About This Page…
To see all of this page you need to scroll down.
We have created a short pdf on the various ways to open the Task Manager for Windows. Click the button below and it will open up a Portable Document File (PDF) in a separate window. If you wish you can then download this document to your own hard drive.
On the right is a link to a page that has a video which talks through the Windows Task Manager. We have also placed a link to the written explanation on wikipedia.
Checking the Health of your PC
Sometimes a computer may slow down and not perform as well as you want it to. This has a number of causes, not least the fact that we, as ‘users’, often demand too much. We may have a lot of programs open at once. If we do this the computer then creeks and complains and it may end up running slowly. (Sometimes, very slowly!)
If this happens there are things you can do to check if the computer is being given too heavy a burden to cope with.
Gary gave an overview of how the Central Processing Unit (CPU), as the brain of any PC, can be checked to see how it’s coping with the load we put on it.
On a PC running Windows this is done by using the software utility program called Task Manager.
Think of someone who uses the gym for their regular exercise. Most fitness fanatics use several methods to wear themselves out. Running machines, rowing machines, weights and so on. What they usually do is move from one bit of kit to the next. What they don’t do is use all of the kit at the same time! If they did (yes, we know that’s not possible!) Trying to use all the kit it would soon grind them down to a frazzle. (Our advice is to do walking regularly. Less expensive and every bit as good if you do it with others and have a good chat!)
When we use a computer (and it applies to both PC’s and the Apple Mac, the two main operating systems) we have a tendency to forget that if we have a Web browser running, and a word processing app., and a spreadsheet app., and a photo app., and lots of other ‘apps’ etc. This has to be managed by the ‘memory’.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
The Random Access Memory (RAM) is the component that is responsible for doing the 'managing' of the stuff you want to do. If there is too much of a load on the RAM the computer will start to run more slowly. Eventually the overload is like wading through treacle!
This can cause frustration and take up a lot of time. The more RAM you have in your PC/Mac the better it will run. Even so, if you do have a lot of programs/applications open at the same time it will slow down, even if you have a lot of RAM. The minimum required for modern computing is at least 4gb. Anything less and it will start to creek under the weight of the tasks you want it to do.
What Happens When I Switch My Computer Off?
Unlike the CPU which has permanent stuff inside it, the RAM only stores information whilst we have the PC/Mac switched on and running. Once you turn the machine off all of the information stored in the RAM is lost.
A bit of history: it’s not that long ago that multi-tasking wasn’t possible. All you could do is run one program at a time. But now the amounts of RAM that most PC’s have is pretty vast; this means we can do lots, run lots, and get confused lots!
To run the Windows 10 Operating System (OS) they recommend at least 4 gigabytes. But, in truth, for the OS to run efficiently, you should have a lot more. The more RAM you have the better your PC will cope.
The key to not allowing your PC/Mac to slow down is to go easy on the number of ‘tasks’ you ask it to do! (We’re all guilty of doing this aren’t we? All you have to do is say ‘yes’ and we’ll move on. 🤪)
What is MultiTasking?
Multitasking refers to the simultaneously performance of multiple tasks and processes by hardware, software or any computing appliance. It enables the performance of more than one computer process at the same time with minimal lag in overall performance and without affecting the operations of each task. Multitasking is also known as multiprocessing.
- Multitasking is implemented in coordination with the base/host operating system (OS) that allocates, sends and manages overall tasks and processes to the central processing unit (CPU).
- In multitasking, a computer never performs more than one task at a time, but the processing ability of the computer’s processors is so fast and smooth that it gives the impression of performing multiple tasks at the same time.
- The computer uses scheduling to manage the selection and processing between different tasks, where tasks are sorted according to different criteria, such as task delivery time and priority.