How-To Geek

Make a Shortcut to Start Task Manager in Minimized Mode

This morning an email came in from the very friendly reader Gordy, who asked if it was possible to automatically start up Task Manager in minimized mode when booting the machine… so this article is for him, and hopefully it’ll help somebody else as well.

Right-click on the desktop and choose New \ Shortcut.


In the location box, just type taskmgr and hit next. If you are using XP or this doesn’t work, you can also use the full path to task manager:


Now that you have a shortcut, right-click and choose Properties.


Now change the drop-down menu under Run to say “Minimized” and then close the dialog.


If you want this shortcut to launch when you start up your computer, right-click on the Startup folder in your start menu and choose to Open, and then drag the shortcut into that folder. (Note that you could also just drag it into there)


Now when you use the shortcut, Task Manager will start up in minimized mode, and you can see the CPU usage meter in the system tray.


Hopefully this will help somebody else as well.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/18/07

Comments (35)

  1. mahdi yusuf

    thats a great tutorial!

  2. Jeff Handley

    Thanks! I’ve tried this before and couldn’t get it to work (in XP). But I hadn’t thought to try it yet in Vista.

  3. Alec Shade

    This is really useful, thanks.

  4. jaque

    this is wonderful!

  5. Timbuckto

    Works great in windows XP. I never thought about using this for Task Manager, but I used to use it for Microsoft Outlook 2003. It works great when you have a few programs that “you” set to start and Windows Login but don’t want everything showing up.

    Love the Tips, keep em com’n

  6. David

    Be sure and check the “Hide Window When Minimized” option in the Task Manager so that it only shows up in the notification area, and not in the task bar.

  7. David

    One more note: I just press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open it up, then Alt + Spacebar + n to minimize it. It looks like a lot of keypresses, but once you memorize and do it by instinct, it takes about 800 ms. :)


    That’s a great tip Dave. I was wondering how the hell to remove it from taskbar into the notification area. Now I know. Thanks.

  9. Jim

    You can also right-click-drag the shortcut onto the Start Menu (it’ll open for you if you hover over it) and into the Startup folder.

  10. Jay Levitt

    You… er.. bu… wh…

    You press CTRL-ALT-DEL and it comes up! Out of the box! Do we really need to simplify that?

  11. Kai

    I wonder how much time i’ve spent pruning for useless stuff running in the background…

    As for startup stuff you might just want to prevent them from running in the first place.
    It’s quite simple really, just click “start”, “run” and type “msconfig” in the box (simply type msconfig into the searchbox in vista).

    Now you can just go to “startup programs” and remove stuff to your hearts content.

  12. Alex Anderson

    I just want to thank the Geek, David, Jim, and Kai for their really useful ideas. Keep up the good wrok. :)


    [quote]You press CTRL-ALT-DEL and it comes up! Out of the box! Do we really need to simplify that?[/quote]

    Well, yes, if you want to. I find this really useful, you know. You can take a look at your computer CPU usage (percents) just by moving the mouse over the application icon.

  14. D&Z Productions Server

    Appreciate the help friend. Has been much help. Thank you very much.

  15. Robin Datta

    How about a command-lien shottcut that one can put in the Registry under HKLocalMachine\Software\Programs\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run?
    (To run taskmgr.exe minimized in the system tray).

  16. Bu-Khalil

    Great thanks to you
    I was looking for aw to do it and it’s very good

    Have a nice day ^_^

  17. vikram

    Thanks. I was looking for that only as my keyboard’s ctrl key is not working properly

  18. Zontar the Magnificent

    Good tip, thank you! Now I know when my anti-virus or anti-spyware software is doing something behind my back and hogging the CPU. I can monitor the CPU with something that is simple, cost-free, download-free, hassle-free, and complication-free. Oops, I guess that’s why the complainers don’t see the point of the tip — not enough hassle nor complexity.

    My starship will be repaired one day — it’s hard using only paper clips and common household refuse — but when it is, I will return to my planet with tales of the hero the Earthlings call … The How-To Geek.

  19. Keith

    Thanks!! I have been wanting to do that for years and didn’t know how to go about it.

  20. fabiano

    share your knowledge is very helpfull. thanks a lot!!!

  21. Jim Nielsen

    Works just perfect in any NT version I have come across so far,

  22. kamra

    totally rad tutorial man… thanks!!

  23. Chris

    Thanks for that tip – I have always wanted to do that!!

  24. auntiebk

    Many thanks! Exactly what I was looking for.
    Appreciate the help.

  25. Ricardo

    Nice tip

  26. Kelley

    Just what I needed. Thanks a lot!

  27. silk

    Thanks, this I needed! No more extra mouse-clicks :)

  28. Cheech

    Thank’s just what da doctor ordered ! I tank you 2 times and me mudda tanks you too.

    “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”


  29. John K

    works beautiful. thanks!

  30. Yo mero

    Than,it works perfectly !!

  31. Frikmar

    Even in 2010 it was still great guidance!! Thanks.

  32. Trev

    Great Tip .. Works AWESOME !!!

  33. Yev


  34. Jay Libove, CISSP, CIPP, CISM

    This is a useful tip, thanks. I’ve got a more nuanced version, and a problem –

    With the introduction of Vista and particularly Windows 7, it has become practical (and is a Very Good Idea) to log in to our computers with a user account that is NOT an Administrator. That way, we’re not tempted (or even able) to just click “Yes” every time a UAC prompt pops up.

    Instead, if UAC triggers, we have to go to the greater effort of typing an Administrator user ID and password.

    This small difference (for people who have administrative privileges, but want more security) is enough to reduce human error. And if you have more than one user on a computer and you want to completely prohibit some of those users from taking administrative actions, then it is a lifesaver.

    But, there are some tasks we so commonly perform that we want those tasks to run administratively, even when we log in with our non-admin account.

    For that, I’ve found a great little tool called SuRun. See (there’s an English language auto-translation link right there on the page for those of us who do not speak German).

    I’ve set up SuRun to automatically catch taskmgr.exe executions as my own particular non-admin user account, and launch Task Manager automatically with admin privileges for me.

    Here’s the advice I’m seeking: In this particular case, the “Run Minimized” checkbox in a Shortcut to taskmgr.exe is ignored, and Task Manager always opens (as admin) in a normal window, not minimized.

    Anyone have a tip for getting the Shortcut’s “Run Minimized” option to apply when taskmgr.exe executes under the auspices of SuRun?


  35. k

    I started/minimized the taskbar on every login for so long, and this little trick just made my day. Thank you!!!!

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