There are loads of hidden system tools in Windows and in many cases you’ll never need to go anywhere near them, but even if you’re a bit wary of tinkering under the hood there are some very useful applications that you should know about.

One system tool that can be very useful when your computer grinds to a halt or, if you’re interested in what’s going on under the hood, simply to see which applications are using the most power is the Task Manager. You can use Task Manager to help you quit applications that have crashed or see which ones are hogging all the processor power and slowing your PC down.

To open the Task Manager press Ctrl + Alt + Delete from wherever you are in Windows 7 or Windows 8 and click on Task Manager when the options appear. At first glance the Task Manager doesn’t look like there’s much to it as it simply lists the running applications. Click on More details, though and the usefulness of the application becomes clear.

In Windows 8 the Task Manager had been redesigned and is much better at displaying information. You can see very quickly how many processes are running, how much CPU power they are using and how much memory those functions are using. Click on the Performance tab and you have a live graph of your network traffic or disk activity. To find out if other users on the PC are slowing down your work click on the Users tab and you can see which account is hogging the processor.

Visit the Dell Tech Zone for more advice on family computing.