June 23, 2017 // 11 a.m.
Microsoft has announced the biggest change in its Windows Task Manager since the tool received multi-processor support: It can now track graphics processor utilisation, including offering per-application breakdowns.
Launched as part of the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 beta and announced by Microsoft software engineer Dona Sarkar, the new Task Manager doesn't immediately look a whole lot different to the last version: The tool, as always, includes the ability to graph CPU utilisation and display which processes are pulling how much of each system resource. The new feature is largely hidden away: Clicking on the Performance tab reveals new entries for graphics processors, which can be clicked on for more details including live 2D and 3D utilisation graphing, just like the existing CPU graphs.
'The Performance tab shows GPU utilisation information for each separate GPU component, such as 3D and Video encode/decode, as well as graphics memory usage stats,' explains Sarkar of the tool's new feature. 'The Details tab shows you GPU utilisation info for each process,' just the same as it has previously for CPU utilisation, meaning that the Task Manager can now be used to track down software that is causing a drain on GPU resources with a view to killing it prior to launching a game or other GPU-intensive process.
The new Task Manager also includes grouping for processes launched by a single program. 'We've heard that you’d like to have all of each app's processes grouped in a single collection for easy management. So we did just that,' says Sarkar. 'Check it out in Build 16226 by opening a bunch of Microsoft Edge tabs and windows, and let us know how it's working for you! We’ve also added logic to show browser tab names where available, so you can easily know what you’re looking at.'
As with all Windows Insider builds, the updates contained therein - which extend beyond Task Manager to include improvements in Microsoft Edge, OneDrive, the Touch Keyboard, pen interactions, and enhancements to the Windows Shell among other changes - are considered beta status, with Sarkar warning that the GPU usage tracker is 'still under construction and you will find issues and bugs.'
More information can be found on the official announcement, while Windows Insider members can install Build 16226 now and try the feature for themselves.