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A Windows task is, more or less, any running program.  Windows has dozens of tasks running in the background, even if you don't see any open programs.  Many of these tasks are crucial for Windows to operate correctly.  You can see what tasks are running by bringing up the Task Manager.  You do that by pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL and then choosing "Task Manager" from the list wich comes up.

When the Task Manager first opens you cannot see all running Windows tasks, just the open programs.  To see all the tasks in Windows 7 you have to switch to the "Processes" tab.  To see even more you then have to click the "Show processes for all users button".

If you are using Windows 10 you instead have to click "More details" on the bottom corner of the Task Manager, pictured below.


This will give you a list of all running tasks and services.

This may be important for several reasons.  The Task Manager allows you to end programs which are not working properly, including your browser when it is displaying a scam web page which won't close trying to get you to call a tech support number.  It also lets you view various information about the system resources being used in order to track down what may be causing your computer to slow down.