As you can see in the screenshot above, the new Task Manager is a lot different looking. Don’t freak out! There’s still loads of power, it’s just hidden behind the More details button. Once you open up the detailed view, you’ll see a much cleaner and useful dialog window showing CPU, RAM, Disk, and Network usage.
The first thing you might notice in this screenshot is that two of the processes have a Status of “Suspended”. This is because they are both running as Metro applications, and since they are running in the background they are suspended and won’t use up any processor time.
Flip over to the Performance tab, and you’ll see an extremely slick dialog that lets you monitor all your CPU, RAM, Disk, and network usage. Awesome.
Continuing on the improvements, there’s now an App History tab, which lets you track how much RAM or CPU an application has been using over time—an extremely useful feature for figuring out what is slowing down your PC.
There’s a new Startup tab that lets you quickly find any startup items and disable them in one click. Done!
And here’s an interesting feature you might overlook otherwise—since you can’t kill Windows Explorer and still use the interface, they now provide a Restart button.
Multi-Monitor Wallpaper and Taskbar!
We haven’t tested this yet, so this image is from Microsoft, but as you can see, it’s now possible to put both the Taskbar and wallpaper across both screens. There’s even a bunch of options that let you configure it.
New Toast Dialogs
When you insert a USB drive, you’ll see a new Metro-style interface asking what you want to do with this drive. Awesome.
Hmm, wait… what’s that File History thing? Sure enough, if you look through Control Panel, you’ll see a new File History panel, where you can configure a backup drive to store a history of all your user files. It’s a backup solution.
You can backup to a network location as well…
And easily see the previous versions to restore.
New Control Panel
If you click on the Control Panel icon on the Metro screen, you’ll see a new full-screen dialog with loads of options. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory, so we aren’t going to go into detail here. You can use Personalize to easily change your lock screen picture, and change the applications that show notifications on the lock screen—though no applications are currently available to use.
Using the Search and Share sections, you can configure which applications are available to the search engine and sharing features, how much history is kept, and a lot of other options.
You can easily turn Windows Live sync on or off using this section. Very useful for the more paranoid among you.
PC Refresh and Reset
Some of you reload your PC on a very regular basis. Yes, you know who you are. Well now, Microsoft has built in an easy way for you to either reload Windows or completely wipe and reload—all with just a couple of buttons.
The Refresh option is like doing a reload of Windows without getting rid of your user folder—Windows store apps will be kept, Windows 7 style apps will be removed.
Reset will completely wipe the whole thing. Probably a last resort.
Last but Not Least – a New Aero Basic Theme
If you’re using a machine that can’t handle Aero, or you don’t like the shadows, here’s what the new Basic theme looks like.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our extremely long review. Make sure to let us know how you fared with your own install in the comments.
Programmer by day, geek by night, The Geek, also known as Lowell Heddings, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 09/14/11