Windows Vista Tips: Troubleshooting With Windows Vista
Paul Watson, PC Technician Wednesday, June 17th 2009
If you don’t mind loading up your computer and taking it to the computer repair shop, you can usually get your computer back to working order within a day or two, and at a reasonable cost. With the economy being as tight as it is, however, having a few troubleshooting skills is worth the time it takes to develop them.
Troubleshooting With The Task Manager
In Windows Vista, one good place to look for information about what your computer is doing is the Task Manager. The Task Manager is a one-stop control center that will show you what applications are running at any given moment in time. You do need to be a little careful with the information the Task Manager gives you. You may not recognize some of the executable files that are running on your computer, but that doesn’t mean they’re surreptitiously damaging your machine. If nothing else, the Task Manager can give you a starting place for researching your problem.
To access the Task Manager in Windows Vista, press Ctrl+Alt+Del simultaneously. At one time, this key combination rebooted the computer, but these days, the “three-finger salute” calls up the Task Manager. You can also access the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc, or by right-clicking an empty area in the Windows taskbar. Once the Task Manager is open, choose the Processes tab and Windows will give you a list of all processes that are currently running.
Keep in mind that some processes are being run by the system. You may or may not recognize their names, but the Task Manager can tell you if the process is running or stuck, and how much of the computer’s resources the process is taking up. You can select a process and stop the task using the Task Manager interface. This is handy if you suspect that a process has hung, or that an application is no longer working properly.
Having a list of process names is also a good way to sort out those processes that need to be running from those that don’t. It can also help you spot memory hogs that are configured to run automatically at startup, viruses and spyware that may be slowing your computer down as well.
Photo Credit: TRD JZX100, via Flickr