Six Ways to Open the Windows Task Manager

By Patrick Bisch on October 2nd, 2015

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Bringing up Windows Task Manager is not much of a task itself, but when a virus disables Ctrl+Alt+Del and takes it hostage, how else are you going to open task manager? Or maybe you’re just looking for some diversity in your life, so here are six different ways to open Windows Task Manager.

1) Ctrl+Alt+Del

Readers will probably be most familiar with the three-finger salute (AKA Ctrl+Alt+Del). Up until Windows Vista was released, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del brought you directly to Windows Task Manager. Since Windows Vista, Ctrl+Alt+Del now brings you to the Windows Security screen which provides users with five different options including Windows Task Manager.

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2) Right-Click Taskbar

Arguably the fastest way to bring up Windows Task Manager is by right-clicking the taskbar and choosing the Start Task Manager option. It’s just two clicks and voilà! You’re staring at Task Manager in no time! Of course, you could always create an AutoHotKey script to bring up Windows Task Manager even faster with a click of a button.

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3) Run taskmgr

The Run command is a great tool for accessing shared folders, but you can also use it quickly up programs such as Registry Editor or a Command Prompt. Click the Start button then the All Programs folder. Under the Accessories folder click the Run command. You can also press they Windows Key + R on your keyboard or enable the Run command in your Start Menu. Finally, simply type “taskmgr” and hit Enter.

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4) Ctrl+Shift+Esc

Another quick keyboard shortcut to bring up Windows Task Manager is Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Besides bringing up Windows Task Manager while using Remote Desktop, you can also use Ctrl+Shift+Esc to bring up the task manager while working locally.

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5) Browse to taskmgr.exe

This is definitely the longest way of opening the task manager, but if it’s your only option then it’s better than nothing at all. Open up Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\System32. The location of taskmgr.exe should be the same in all recent versions of Windows. Scroll down (or search) for taskmgr.exe and double click it.

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6) Create taskmgr.exe Shortcut

And last on our list is creating a nice, accessible shortcut to the Task Manager on your desktop. Right-click on your desktop and choose New then click Shortcut. A new window will pop up. Browse to the same path as above, C:\Windows\System32. Scroll down until you see taskmgr.exe, highlight it, and then click OK. Click Next, type a name for your shortcut, and finally click Finish.

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That’s the end of our list! Some methods are obviously more efficient than others, but if you’re in a tough situation battling a virus, any method is a good one. You can also check out our guide on how to start Task Manager in minimized mode during startup, so it will always be open when you turn your computer on.

Image by moonstar909

On the south side of Chicago born and raised. On the computer is where I spent most of my days. Nerding out, haxing, maxing my CPU. And all writing some How-To's is now what I do.

  • Published 10/2/15
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