back to article Dark-mode Task Manager unveiled by original's creator

Microsoft allowed the original author of Task Manager to unveil the software giant's latest take on everyone's favorite last resort, replete with optional dark mode and the navigation cues of Windows 11. Earlier today, retired Microsoft operating systems engineer Dave Plummer, who coded Task Manager back in the glory days of …

  1. cornetman Silver badge

    > For performance reasons I think they took that out, and now Taskman competes for resources just like the cannon fodder that you're trying to clean up. So it can take a while to get started now and be a little slow to use

    I think that's pretty telling. Something like a Task/Process Manager should be as light as possible so that you can get access to it to kill stuff off when your machine is on its knees begging for mercy.

    Having it as a high priority process sounds like a smart idea.

    1. quxinot

      There's a time to skip 'pretty' and aim at 'fast'.

      Function > form.

      1. taz-nz

        They were probably worried people would leave it open in the background and it would effect the performance of the software in the foreground.

      2. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

        I can't help thinking about a couple of spoof articles from years ago, about customisable BSODs and them carrying advertising. Of course everyone laughed, they show up that frequency of course their appearance is important. Getting excited about the appearance of task manager is similar in that in an ideal world you don't need to bring it up.

        1. doesnothingwell

          Some of us always start Task Manager or System Monitor on every system, and a couple of terminals just in case. Windows 95 taught me to be ready to kill a process "when one goes bad" not if. I used to enjoy killing the desktop process and restarting it when things got weird.

        2. Fursty Ferret

          It's not just for killing unwanted processes though - the network usage monitor is extremely helpful.

          1. Down not across Silver badge

            A lot of the graphs are useful, but not essential to be part of process listing/killing tool.

            Task Manager should remain simple and to the point. Pretty graphs etc could be booted off to a different application that could then happily run at lower priority.

            When the system has started sucking mud, you just want to find out what is eating all resources and if applicable, kill it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Task Manager should remain simple and to the point. Pretty graphs etc could be booted off to a different application that could then happily run at lower priority."

              You mean like Resource Monitor?

              Task Manage starts in simple mode, without the graphs. You need to click on more details to see the graphs.

              Or just use TASKLIST and TASKKILL.

          2. Sparkus

            netsetman is your friend, as is a little network monitor from

      3. Someone Else Silver badge

        Function > form.

        Not if you're in the Marketing dept.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Old folk

    I haven't moved to Win11 so I can't comment on the new, improved (?) task manager.

    But Microsoft's attitude towards older and retired workers should be applauded. Ir's unlike other companies I could mention (cough, cough, IBM).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old folk

      "But Microsoft's attitude towards older and retired workers should be applauded. Ir's unlike other companies I could mention (cough, cough, IBM)."

      Hey now, IBM loves retired workers. They love them so much that they'd love to have every employee* over the age of 40 join the retirees.

      *(except for executive level employees, of course)

  3. Korgonzolla

    Strong neckbeard vibes.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So Borkzilla has neutered the Task Manager, but made it dark

    How typical. Form over function. Bells and whistles instead of resilience.

    One day, one day I will finally get rid of this heap of festering bytes that is Windows.

    One day.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: So Borkzilla has neutered the Task Manager, but made it dark

      One day already came for me, but I do keep one Winstall about for those times that there's only a windows app for what you need to do at that moment...

    2. devin3782 Silver badge

      Re: So Borkzilla has neutered the Task Manager, but made it dark

      I moved to Fedora Linux a couple of years ago mostly due to windows telemetry and the fact their OS is getting worse with windows 11 existing only for pushing adverts. So windows is relegated to a VM with a GPU passed through for gaming.

  5. Def Silver badge

    Task Manager?

    I haven't used Task Manager since the day I became aware of the rather excellent Process Explorer and Process Monitor.

    1. man_iii

      Re: Task Manager?

      Sysinternals make wonderful tools. Now part of microsoft i guess.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Task Manager?

        Now part of microsoft i guess.

        Since 2006.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Task Manager?

          Microsoft acquired Sysinternals to acquire Mark Russinovich, who wrote most of the Sysinternals tools. He knew more about Windows internals than most of their existing staff. The annoyingly talented bloke is now CTO of Azure, as well as a successful novelist.

          The sysinternals tools are still under active development and are invaluable. The only annoyance is that since becoming part of Microsoft, they pop up a license box when first run.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Task Manager?

      Yeah knowing what tasks are controlled by what process is actually very helpful.

      Has enabled me to spot for instances two scripts/processes running and deadlocking each other (Useful to go back to support and go this isnt right surely)

  6. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Light and dark mode but

    I want grey mode, no need to make it dark or light then!

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: Light and dark mode but

      As someone who has been changing the fore- and background colors in command prompts, xterms, window handles, menus, and the like for more decades than I care to admit, I should really be baffled by all the "dark mode" nonsense. "What sort of crippled software gets foisted on people so as to make this an interesting thing to even mention?", I should be thinking.

      But, sadly, it happens too often to cause genuine bafflement any more.

      I mean, really. I probably could have tweaked one of my unimpressive programs on something 8bit to have a "dark mode" and a "light mode" if I wanted.

      Edit: no, wait. I think they were already "dark mode" -like. I'd have had to code a "light mode" instead.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Light and dark mode but

      Windows let you choose the colour scheme until Vista. Any "mid-grey mode" you cared to invent was not only possible but immediately honoured by all Petzold-quality apps.

      Because this was easy for both end users and developers, people used it and it worked, so when a partially sighted user chose a high contrast theme, it worked.

      Now all the end users are stuck with whatever the devs have hard coded, and all the devs have different ideas about what dark mode even means.

      It's all gone to shit and I blame the "designers" and their over-complex themes that hardly anyone knows how to change.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Light and dark mode but

        Absolutly, I still prefer the Windows 2000/98 interface look hence why I am saying grey mode.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Light and dark mode but

          2000's colour choice was a little better in my opinion, i seem to recall it wasn't exactly grey... there was an element of colour to the taskbar etc.

  7. VoiceOfTruth

    Dave has a good YouTube channel, for those who don't know.

    It has lots of trivia and snippets for those who want to know more.

  8. Someone Else Silver badge

    Same old, same old.

    So Micros~1 continues to rearrange deck chairs (well, in this case, not so much rearranging them as hastily slapping a coat of paint on them1), while in the meantime having it remain close to useless for folks who have Real Work™ to do.

    SysInternals FTW!

    1 Something about lipstick and a pig...

  9. Sparkus

    Slow news day?

    How about just making all of the windows system-level utilities, sysinternals and powertoys included, skinnable and theme-able...........

  10. Skiver

    Dave's YT channel is informative and entertaining

  11. Lorribot

    Ooo, dark mode, now there's an idea.

    Wonder if the Register will ever bother with that new(ish) fangled thing that is blessing for some with certain eye conditions. Not that i would ever play the disability discrimination card.

    1. Aleph0

      Can only speak for Firefox as it's the browser I'm using. On Android one of the few extensions working on the recent versions is Dark Reader that enables an algorithmically-generated dark mode per site.

      Since I prefer a more muted appearance, on the desktop I've written myself a userstyle that I'm using with the Stylus extension. Works with the pages I'm habitually reading (front page / articles / comments), some other ones that I rarely go to may well have gotten broken since my latest update.

      If you're using a Chrome-based browser I hear that they can directly store and apply user CSS modifications, so it's possible to roll your own. I agree that first-party support would be nicer, though.

      1. MrReynolds2U

        Yeah I recently modified a subset of the Reg CSS into a dark theme and added it to Opera as an extension.

        Really simple to do if you fancy a dabble.

  12. wolfetone Silver badge

    "So far as I can tell I think my code is 90 per cent still there"

    Is that because, like most of Windows, the new developers have absolutely no idea what the old code does?

  13. John_3_16
    Thumb Up

    FYI... And free!

    I use Process Hacker 2... Used Process Hacker for years & always satisfied. No need for anything new from M$ including 10 or 11. I will navigate to Linux/Ubuntu if Win7 fails me. My updates continue to the very last day. Nuff said there. After that I will continue with what I have until I cannot. Then I will choose my new OS from those freely available. Not afraid to learn something new. My backup is controlled via DVD installed Linux. Exposure there is positive. Small, fast & error free so far. No problems accessing/using my multi-terabyte USB drives, my 1Tb SSD or fitting nicely in my 32 gig of RAM. My system is a 32/64 bit processor running Win7 Home Premium.

    I originally chose Process Hacker over Task Manager a couple of W$ OSes ago. More versatile & faster. More process/disk/networking info. Supports Vista, XP, 7, 8 & 10... Continues to be updated & improved. Check out:

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