When it comes to dealing with running applications and Windows services, it's is easy to get caught up in advanced tools such as Process Explorer. But Task Manager is always there, waiting to kill a misbehaving task or inform you that Chrome is once again eating gigabytes of memory. Perhaps you've never strayed far from the "End Process" button and would like to know a few more bit and pieces about one of the operating system's more vital built-in programs? Well, here's your chance.
I must make the sad admission today that I've only just found out you can bring up Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Shift-Escape, as gHacks' Martin Brinkmann points out, along with many other interesting facts. I've been using Ctrl-Alt-Delete or right-clicking the task bar for a very long time, so hopefully I can trick my brain into learning this shortcut instead.
The Task Manager also does a lot more than just monitor processes — you've probably hit up the "Performance" tab before, but did you ever check out "Services"? Rather than heading into the administrative tools for the dedicated Services console, you can quickly check on what's running in the background and even disable ones you don't need (though this requires some knowledge of what the services do). You can also right-click on a service to go to its corresponding process and vice versa.
This is just the tip of the iceberg — if you want to read more about changing process CPU affinity and priority, or other parts of Task Manager, have a read of Brinkmann's article.