How to See What Apps Are Running in the Background on Windows 11

Ever wonder what apps are secretly running in the background on your Windows 11 computer? Knowing this can help you manage performance and battery life. Here’s a quick way to see what’s going on behind the scenes: Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc, then click the “Processes” tab to view all the running apps and processes. For more detailed information, keep reading!

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to See What Apps Are Running in the Background on Windows 11

In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps to identify and manage background apps on your Windows 11 machine. By following these steps, you’ll be able to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently.

Step 1: Open Task Manager

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Task Manager.

Task Manager is the go-to tool for checking which apps and processes are running on your computer. The shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc quickly pops it up, saving you time hunting through menus.

Step 2: Click on the “Processes” Tab

Look at the top of Task Manager and click the “Processes” tab to view all active apps and processes.

The “Processes” tab lists all the active apps and background processes, giving you a clear picture of what’s consuming your system’s resources.

Step 3: Identify Background Apps

Scroll through the list to find apps running in the background. These are usually listed under “Background processes.”

“Background processes” are not immediately visible on your desktop but still use system resources. Identifying these helps you pinpoint which apps might be affecting performance.

Step 4: End Unnecessary Apps

Right-click on any unnecessary background app and select “End Task.”

Ending unnecessary tasks can free up system resources, making your computer run faster. But be careful not to end essential system processes.

Step 5: Review Startup Programs

Click on the “Startup” tab in Task Manager to see what apps launch during startup and disable unneeded ones.

Disabling unnecessary startup programs can also improve your computer’s startup time and overall performance.

After completing these steps, you’ll know exactly which apps are running in the background. You can then decide which ones to keep and which to close.

Tips on How to See What Apps Are Running in the Background on Windows 11

  • Use Task Manager Regularly: Make it a habit to check Task Manager occasionally to monitor background apps.
  • Disable Unnecessary Startup Programs: In the “Startup” tab, disable apps you don’t need when your computer boots up.
  • Update Software: Ensure all your apps are up-to-date to avoid unnecessary background activity and security risks.
  • Check for Malware: Sometimes, malware runs in the background. Use a reliable antivirus to keep your system clean.
  • Adjust Privacy Settings: Go to Settings > Privacy > Background apps to control which apps can run in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I open Task Manager without using the keyboard shortcut?

You can right-click on the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the context menu.

Can ending a task in Task Manager cause problems?

Yes, ending essential system processes can cause instability. Only end tasks you recognize as non-critical.

How do I know which apps are safe to end?

Look up unfamiliar processes online or consult with tech support to identify safe-to-end apps.

Will disabling startup programs improve my PC’s performance?

Yes, disabling unnecessary startup programs can speed up your computer’s boot time and overall performance.

Is it safe to disable all background apps?

Not all background apps should be disabled. Essential apps and system processes need to run for your computer to function correctly.


  1. Open Task Manager.
  2. Click on the “Processes” tab.
  3. Identify background apps.
  4. End unnecessary apps.
  5. Review startup programs.


Knowing how to see what apps are running in the background on Windows 11 can significantly enhance your computer’s performance and battery life. By regularly checking Task Manager and controlling startup programs, you can ensure your system runs efficiently. Don’t underestimate the impact of background processes; they can slow down your machine and make your user experience less enjoyable.

For further reading, consider delving into how to optimize Windows 11 for better performance or exploring advanced settings within Task Manager. As always, keep your software updated and stay vigilant against malware to maintain a healthy system. Whether you’re a casual user or a tech enthusiast, managing background apps is a small step towards a smoother, faster computing experience. So go ahead, open Task Manager, and take control of what’s running on your PC!

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