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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (A+ 4 Real)
 9  Chapter 1: What are Operating Systems and How Do They Work?
      9  Operating System Features
           9  The Task Bar and System Tray

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The Task Manager

Sometimes a program will stop responding due to a variety of reasons. When this happens, we can use the CTRL, ALT and DEL “Three Finger Salute” key combination. Under Windows 95 and 98, the Task Manager will appear immediately. Under Windows NT, 2000 and XP the “Windows Security” dialog will appear, from which the “Task Manager” option can be selected. If the system is responsive enough, right clicking an empty area of the Task Bar and selecting “Task Manager” will produce the same result.

The appearance of the Task Manager depends on the version of Windows in use. Figure 45 shows the Windows 2000 Task Manager:


Figure 45: Task Manager

 


If an application has failed, the status column will read “Not Responding”. Click on the task you wish to end, and click “End Task”.

The second Task Manager tab lists all the processes currently running on the system. Processes are often low-level applications that control critical parts of the operating system, so despite the presence of an “End Task” button a process should be terminated (known as “killed”) as a last resort, and only when its exact purpose is known. Killing a process literally stops it dead in its tracks with no consideration for what it may be doing at that point, making it very easy to lose data or corrupt files.

The third tab provides a scrolling real time status report on the processor activity and memory usage of the machine. It is useful for quickly checking the system status; a more in depth analysis technique will be covered later in the book.

You may have noticed that the Task Manager has an interesting property. No matter how you move and manipulate it, it cannot be covered by another window. This type of window is known as a “topmost” window, and is only used where necessary.


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