Windows Task Manager gets better Edge process classifications and new Eco mode
Microsoft released a new build to the Insider channel this week that introduced two new features to the operating system's task manager. The first introduces better process information for the company's own Microsoft Edge web browser, the second a new mode, called Eco Mode.
Microsoft Edge Process Classifications
When you open the Task Manager in current versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, you will see many processes that have the same name if you run a Chromium-based browser. All Google Chrome processes are displayed as Google Chrome, and the same is true for Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi, Brave, or Opera.
The sheer number of processes, even with just one tab open, has confused users in the past; this is going to change soon, at least for Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser, as process titles better reflect the purpose.
Extensions, tabs, subframes, GPU, utility and browser are all clearly identifiably in the task manager, making it easier to spot misbehaving tabs, extensions or core browser components. Some processes, tabs for example, may lists other information, e.g. Service Workers that are being used by the site in question.
Users may distinguish between single item and multi item processes easily: multi item processes display an arrow icon in front while single item processes don't. The information is now as detailed as that of the built-in task manager of the Edge browser.
The change requires a Canary or Developer version of Microsoft Edge web browser for now, but it will eventually become available to all versions of Edge. Microsoft started the roll out of the feature to a subset of devices.
The type of process determines what is going to happen if a process is terminated by the user; this was the case previously as well, but it was not possible to determine the right process using the Task Manager alone.
- Browser process -- All Microsoft Edge processes of that instance will close.
- GPU or utility process -- Will close and restart.
- Renderer process -- Will close, tabs will show an error page.
- Extensions and plug-in processes -- Edge displays a notification that the extension or plug-in has crashed and displays an option to restart it.
- Crashpad processes -- Process will close.
- Dedicated workers/service workers -- Site functionality may break.
Check out the Tech Community article for additional details
The second new Task Manager feature in the latest Insider build is called Eco Mode. The mode enables users to throttle processes.
This feature is helpful when you notice an app consuming high resources and would like to limit its consumption so that the system gives priority to other apps which will lead to faster foreground responsiveness and better energy efficiency.
To enable Eco Mode for a process, right-click on a process or a child-process, and select Eco Mode from the menu.
The feature is rolling out to a subset of Insider devices.
Better process identification is a welcome change. Microsoft has not revealed if it plans to create an API for that so that other developers, e.g. browser makers such as Mozilla or Google, may implement this for their programs as well.
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