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TaskMgr gripes

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/01/04

Bad bad TaskMgr: showing less information than before.

Bad bad TaskMgr: showing less information than before.

Many people regard the task manager introduced in Windows 8 not as a big success. Of course there is Process Explorer, but you need to download that and it’s quite heavy.

A long thread with a lot of complaints is at The new Task Manager is stressing me like crazy, so if you miss something, look there if it is covered.

The thread also mentions where the TaskMgr stores its settings. Which is important as TaskMgr destroys its in-memory settings when windows auto-update restarts your system. Which it does very often. This is the scenario:

  1. TaskMgr starts
    1. Reads settings from registry
    2. Erases settings from registry
  2. TaskMgr runs
  3. Windows-updates reboots automagically

What Microsoft expects to be the normal scenario is this:

  1. TaskMgr starts
    1. Reads settings from registry
    2. Erases settings from registry
  2. TaskMgr runs
  3. User stops all applications before updating
  4. TaskMgr quits
    1. TaskMgr saves settings to registry
  5. Windows-updates reboots

This also happens in many other scenarios (for instance when logging off, Windows only waits a short while for all applications to stop voluntarily, then just kills them).

This queries the content:

reg query HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TaskManager

This saves the settings once:

reg export HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TaskManager "%APPDATA%\TaskMgr8.settings"

This imports when needed:

reg import "%APPDATA%\TaskMgr8.settings"

Note that the files is a traditional .reg file, but I use a different extension to you cannot accidentally import them.

If you really want, you can install the Windows 7 TaskMgr and have it act as Debugger over the new one (this doesn’t overwrite it, just replace the behaviour) with a registry script. See How to restore the good old Task Manager in Windows 8

–jeroen

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