Back before we all knew better, the Windows task manager was accepted as the ugly eyesore that it currently is and we were happy to put it far out of our minds until the next time we had the misfortune to need it. To the experienced user, the task manager is a necessary evil, complicated, but not unusable. To a novice, however, the experience can be altogether alienating and is to be avoided at all costs.
Thankfully, following with their new-found love of simplicity, Windows has decided to rebuild the task management system, bringing an interface that the average user can actually understand. Rather than complicated file names, they added the actual names of programs in the default view. But with the changes, they haven’t forgotten their loyal users either. More detailed information is available at the press of a button to those that prefer it.
More often than not, however, the cause of your frozen machine lies in the hand of a pesky application that has either stopped responding or decided to eat up all of your precious resources in a petty attempt at a power grab. In this case, you’ll be completely satisfied with the default application view and more than able to solve your problem.
Clicking “More Details” will give you a list of processes that once had awful character strings that made absolutely no sense, but now have names that actually let you know what they do. More than that, Microsoft has grouped similar processes together in order to make the manager even more intuitive. And if you are still clueless, even with the new names, a simple click will take you to a web search of any process in the list.
Finally, there is the addition of heat maps. More proof that Microsoft has finally shifted some of their focus to good design. Heat maps allow you to visually identify which programs or processes are currently using the most resources (the problem ones will grow the brightest).
We’re obviously thrilled that Microsoft has finally let real design leak into Windows 8, but what do you think? Are they going far enough? What would you like to see change?