Windows Task Manager has floating performance panels, but it also has a system tray icon that shows CPU usage. How to use it – and how to free up space in the taskbar so that the Task Manager window shortcut gets out of your way.
This trick works on Windows 10, but it has been around for a long time. It also works on Windows 7 or even Windows XP.
How to open Task Manager
To find this feature, simply open Task Manager. You can do this in several ways: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, right-click on the taskbar and select “Task Manager”, or press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and click “Task Manager.”
RELATED: Seven ways to open Windows Task Manager
How to find the tray icon
The task manager displays a small CPU user meter icon in your notification area, also known as the system tray, to the left of the clock.
The icon always shows a meter that represents current CPU usage. For current memory, disk and network usage, you can hover over the icon and you will see a tooltip.
Like all other messages is the (system bar) icon, you can drag and drop the icon to move it left or right in the taskbar icon bar.
The higher your computer’s current CPU usage, the more the meter fills the icon.
If you do not see the Task Manager icon in the taskbar tray, click the arrow to the left of the notification area, and then drag the CPU usage icon to the notification area of the taskbar.
RELATED: How to show Windows 10’s hidden floating performance panels
How to hide the task manager from your taskbar
If you want this useful icon in your notification area at all times, you need to leave Task Manager open. But with the Task Manager open, its application icon will appear as a running application in the taskbar.
You can hide that icon.
To do so, click on the Task Manager window and click Options> Hide when minimized.
After checking this option, click the Minimize icon at the top right of the Task Manager window.
The Task Manager icon disappears from the current applications in the taskbar, but it will still appear in the system tray. (If you still see it, right-click on the taskbar shortcut and select “Remove from taskbar.”)
To open it again, double-click the CPU usage icon in the tray or just launch Task Manager in one of the usual ways.
To close the Task Manager, right-click on the tray icon and select “Close” – or just open the Task Manager and click the “X” button to close it instead of minimizing it.
RELATED: Windows Task Manager: Complete guide