New in 22H2: Task Manager

Posted on June 15, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 4 Comments

Windows 11 version 22H2 brings a major visual refresh to the Task Manager for the first time since Windows 8 in 2012: it supports Dark mode and the system accent color for the first time, and you can now manually configure individual processes to use fewer system resources if needed.

Unfortunately, 22H2 doesn’t fix the single biggest Task Manager issue that was introduced in the first version of Windows 11: you still can’t right-click the Taskbar to quickly access Task Manager. But there are other ways. Some of the easiest include:

  • Right-click the Start button in the Taskbar and choose “Task Manager” from the menu that appears.
  • Type Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  • Find it with Start search.

However you launch Task Manager in Windows 11 version 22H2, you’ll be greeted by an attractive, visually refreshed version of the app.

As before, there are several views, including Processes (the default), Performance, App history, Startup apps, Users, Details, and services. However, unlike some apps with a navigation pane, the version used by Task Manager is collapsed by default and cannot be pinned open. Instead, you can temporarily expand it using the top toggle switch (“hamburger”) to see what each of the indecipherable navigation item icons means.

Windows 11 version 22H2 also introduces a new Efficiency mode feature that Microsoft hopes will offer a less drastic response to a poorly performing app: instead of force-quitting the app with “End task,” you can instead enable Efficiency mode on an app process that is over-stressing your computer’s CPU. Additionally, some updated apps, like Microsoft Edge and Notepad, will automatically employ Efficiency mode to restrict their impact on system resources.

To enable Efficiency mode on a process, open Task Manager and navigate to the Processes view if required. Then, select the process you wish to throttle and then select the Efficiency mode button in the Task Manager toolbar. (Alternatively, you can right-click the process and then choose “Efficiency mode” from the context menu that appears.)

After you confirm that you wish to undertake this action, Windows will lower the selected process’ priority, which will also improve its power efficiency. (If this causes any reliability issues, you can simply end the task as before.) A green leaf icon will appear next to that process in Task Manager to indicate it’s running in Efficiency mode.

Note that Efficiency mode isn’t available if you select a core Windows process or a process group. And that you can remove Efficiency mode from any process that is currently using it.

For now, Efficiency mode is limited to making CPU usage more efficient because this resource is “the most contended and power-consuming resource on modern [PCs].” But Microsoft is looking at ways to throttle process usage of other resources like memory, disk, and networking in the future.

You can learn more about Efficiency mode here.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “New in 22H2: Task Manager”

  1. brettscoast

    Thanks for the heads up Paul this looks like a really useful update to task manager.

  2. bluvg

    "Additionally, ...Notepad, will automatically employ Efficiency mode to restrict their impact on system resources."

    Finally!! What a hog, Notepad.

  3. dftf

    For anyone wanting the short-version of "what does Efficiency Mode" do, then from Microsoft's article:

    "(1) Reduces [the] process[es] base priority to low"

    Which doesn't do anything to reduce power-use, it just means it takes less-priority when other apps need to use the CPU. Once the CPU is idle, that process can still get up-to 99% of the CPUs time, like all other processes. (And you can do this today in Task Manager: right-click a process on the Details tab, then go to "Set priority". You can also use "Set affinity" to restrict a process to only use particular cores. I think both of these have been possible going back to Windows 2000 or XP, so not exactly new!)

    And (2) "... sets QoS mode to EcoQoS, [which] could mean running the processor at a lower-frequency to save power"

    So essentially if the system is idle, and one particular app then decides it needs to do something, Windows will use the SpeedStep on Intel CPUs (and I think it's PowerNow on AMD CPUs) to keep the CPU running at a lower-speed, which will use less-power, then boost back up to 100% speed when other apps run. Again, not exactly a dramatic change, as I think support for changing the CPU frequency was introduced in Windows XP (though only in Vista were you able to force this via the "Power plans").

    So... I'd sort of question if this is really doing anything the user couldn't already, and it feels like these changes are a bit-late. Sure, being able to default a particular app to always start at "Low" priority, or restrict what cores it can use, would have been useful things back in the XP, Vista and 7 era. But aren't all Intel Core i3 CPUs and-above, or AMD Ryzen 3 CPUs and-above, all quad-core as-standard now, meaning fighting-for-resources isn't as much of an issue as in the single-core and dual-core past?