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.