While I never really want things to go wrong, I do want to be able to troubleshoot if needed. Probably the tool I use most commonly for that first step is Windows Task Manager. In Windows Server 8, a couple of new things are in place as well as a totally overhauled interface.

If you run Windows Server 8, the Task Manager is still accessible in all of the same ways we’re used to. The Processes tab is one of the first places I go in basic troubleshooting. In Windows Server 8, running processes are categorized into groups: Applications, Background Processes, and Windows Processes. This processes screen is shown in Figure A:

Figure A

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The next major area of Task Manager is the graph that shows resource consumption. The CPU graph is a good barometer of how “busy” a system is, but only if you know what is normal for that workload profile. Arranging the different sections by disk is a nice touch. This particular system has a C and an E drive, both of which can have I/O visually represented real-time. The performance graphs are shown in Figure B :

Figure B

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The Processes tab that starts the view into the system performance in Windows Server 8 doesn’t have an option to show all of the additional data that we all know and love. This includes process ID (PID), paged pool memory, what user is running the process, and whether it is a 32-bit or 64-bit execution. The Details tab of task manager on Windows Server 8 shows us all of that good stuff as shown in Figure C:

Figure C

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Finally, there is now a Services tab within Task Manager. This makes perfect sense as you can identify some area of trouble, then click over to the Services tab and restart the offending service. This nifty feature is shown in Figure D below:

Figure D

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Windows Server 8 keeps bringing new little features in every pocket that I explore. Do these improvements appeal to you for basic Windows troubleshooting? Share your comments below.