Exam 70-272 – Windows XP's Task Manager (Part I)

The Task Manager is also known as ‘that thing that comes up with Ctrl-Alt-Del.’ While this was the case with Windows 9x and ME, it’s changed a bit with NT, and even moreso with Windows XP. With Windows 9x, you had the ability to bring up the Task Manager, or reboot with a subsequent ctrl-alt-del. With Windows NT, you have a window with options to change the password, enter task manager, logoff, shutdown, or lock the computer. Task Manager, however, has a few added features with Windows XP that come in very handy.

There are now four tabs within the Task Manager window instead of two as seen with NT and the three with Windows 2000. The Applications tab serves to display all of the active applications on the system. Services and application-spawned processes will not appear with this tab. The Processes tab, however, will display all processes running on the server – applications, processes, and services. From within either the Applications or the Processes tab, you have the ability to stop an entry. This doesn’t mean that you can always do so successfully. Many applications will spawn multiple processes which are either system-protected, or so interrelated that stopping an application or process is impossible to do without compromising system integrity. When this happens, you will either be presented with a message indicating that the app/process cannot be stopped, or a cycle of messages that amount to the same thing. There are two new Windows XP commands that can be used to potentially wrestle a service or process to the ground: SC and TASKKILL. SC is specifically designed to control services, and incidentally, it can be used to create a service from a program. In this situation, you might use SC to stop a service, or unload it altogether. The TASKKILL command is used as a command-equivalent for the processes tab within Task Manager. It can sometimes end a process that stubbornly hangs on within the GUI program.

[tags]exam, 70-272, task manager, XP, TASKKILL[/tags]

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