The Windows Task Manager Is About to Look a Lot Less Ugly

The Windows Task Manager Is About to Look a Lot Less Ugly
Screenshot: FireCube/Twitter

With the release of Windows 11, Microsoft took a big step toward modernising its desktop OS by redesigning outdated interfaces. But when the update arrived, the reception was mixed. Some things looked great, others were wonky (a centered Taskbar, really?!), and then there were some areas that seemed completely untouched.

Falling into the latter category is the Task Manager, the all-important tool that shows active processes, app history, and the performance of your system. Visit it today with a ctrl+alt+delete command and you’ll find a worn interface with low-res text, a plain white background, and tabs that look like they’re from the ‘90s.

Soon, though, the Task Manager could get the same makeover other parts of Windows have received. While Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed any changes, engineering student Gustave Monce posted to Discord a work-in-progress of an updated Task Manager, and to us, it looks pretty damn good.

As you can see from the above tweet posted by Twitter user FireCubeStudios, the new Task Manager adopts the Fluent Design language Microsoft employs throughout Windows 11. The tabs at the top of the window have been replaced with a left-hand sidebar where you can switch between processes, performance, app history, and startup. The window also supports Dark Mode and contains transparent interfaces and pops of colour — key characteristics of Microsoft’s new OS.

If the software giant goes forward with these changes, it would be the first major update to the Task Manager in the last decade — it was last tweaked in Windows 8. It would also help make Windows 11, which is currently fragmented with its mix of old and new interfaces, feel more cohesive.

Microsoft has been reluctant to update certain legacy programs that are geared toward technical users who care more about having the right tools than how they look, but it seems the software giant has recognised that modernising its OS means not leaving any corners unpainted.

The tricky part will be striking a delicate balance between functionality and beauty. The company will risk losing its most devout supporters should it oversimplify certain tools in the name of aesthetics. Fortunately, the visual changes being made by the Task Manager are on top of the existing codebase, and as Windows Latest points out, we might even get the option to swap back to the classic look.

This seems like a nice update that gives the legacy app a more welcoming appearance without fundamentally changing how it works. Right now though, the new Task Manager, which is buried deep within the latest Windows builds, doesn’t work properly, so we’ll need to wait for Microsoft to roll it out an official release before we can give it our praise.