Microsoft revealed on Thursday its methodology behind the various Task Manager improvements in Windows 8.
The software giant went about designing the new Task Manager by assessing how people use the Task Manager in existing versions of Windows. “People are spending most of their time using the first two tabs, which are pivoted around views of applications and processes,” said Ryan Haveson, the group program manager Microsoft’s In Control of Your PC team, in a blog post on Thursday. Microsoft investigated how users use the processes tab and came to the conclusion that the application tab was lacking detail. “We determined that the most common usage of the tool was to simply end or “kill” an application or a process,” explains Haveson.
The company focused on the following changes for Windows 8:
- Optimize Task Manager for the most common scenarios
- Use modern information design to achieve functional goals
- Don’t remove functionality
Microsoft has now optimised the default view of Task Manager in Windows 8 with quick and easy access to end tasks. There’s no more tabs in the default view and the menu bar is no longer present. “After taking out all of the extras, you are left with a tool that is great at one thing: killing a misbehaving app,” says Haveson.
One of the new features in the Task Manager is the colorised heat map view. The processes tab now includes a heat map that represents different values of data with colors. “Our telemetry data told us that it was very common for users to go to the process tab, sort by CPU or memory utilization, and then look for applications consuming more resources than expected,” said Haveson. The new view now makes it easy to locate an application that is misbehaving and taking up a lot of resources.
The view will also light up to draw a users attention to a process if it is above a threshold. “Think of this as a warning indicator, letting you know a good place to start looking if you are experiencing performance issues,” says Haveson.
The new Task Manager can also group applications, background processes and Windows processes, making it even easier to identify each application in use on a system. Microsoft has also made it easier to identify each process with a context menu option of “Search the web”. Users can right click on a process and search the web to learn more about the process. “Task Manager was a unique opportunity for user experience designers and researchers working together with technical program managers and engineers to create a clean, organized, and efficient design,” explains Haveson. “We made it more streamlined for mainstream users, and more detailed for power users.”