Windows

Seven Ways to Open Windows Task Manager

 

Windows 7's Task Manager is a valuable tool that is packed with features that can help you use and troubleshoot the operating system. In this tip gallery, I’ll show you seven ways that you can launch Windows Task Manager.

Image created by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

41 comments
dtlamtech
dtlamtech

Thanks for the tips. I like to use [CTL]+[Shift]+[Esc] and right click on the task bar.

darlene.craig
darlene.craig

All these articles should be available via PDF. I like to save the article and read it when I have the time.

shirishjavkhedkar
shirishjavkhedkar

I am always using [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del] for starting task manager. That is my favorite way of starting Task Manager. But I could learn other different ways. Thanks for improving my knowledge.

preferred user
preferred user

Another easy way to create shortcut to taskmanager gr win 7 Click Start /Computer / C /Windows / syst32 / scroll down to task mgr /right click make shortcut only 5 clicks and a right click or you could pin it to your task bar from there also.

bart001fr
bart001fr

Just drop it into the startup sequence and it's always on.

jwerm
jwerm

Click on Start and type "msconfig" to open the configuration utility. Choose the "Tools" tab and scroll down to the Task Manager utility. I have found this helpful when a malware or other nasty has blocked using other ways.

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

first use is startup shortcut in "all users" second is pinned to the 7 taskbar / or in XP create shortcut in the quick launch bar

pgit
pgit

I collect these slide shows (links) and give them my own, quick titles. I then send a pertinent one to a user who has asked me a question, eg "how do I open that task thingy again?" When it comes to end users, I find they almost universally LOVE a slide show. Many of them take their sweet time clicking through them, or go through them more than once, a way to slack off but if someone asks what they are doing, it is actually work related. Thanks to Greg S. and the rest of the TR team for the VERY useful slide shows! Keep 'em coming, use your imagination, make slide shows about every conceivable tip, trick or operation! :)

canewshound
canewshound

Slideshow takes too long to review, can't stand the format anyway regardless of speed. A list with links maybe, or a pdf to view, copy, or print for later review. I most often skip this type presentation, and wish I had with this one, that didn't offer any valuable new material.

Bob B.
Bob B.

Whoever thinks these picture galleries are a good Idea ought to have their head examined. Every time I see one of these without the list, I just delete it; even if it looks interesting. Yes I know, I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I got a big honker of a nose so keep wasting my time and I'll keep cutting.

bobc4012
bobc4012

I did find some of the techniques interesting. That said, not trying to defend Ken, but I can understand what might have caused his comment. For some reason, some of the TR and ZD writers seem to be enamored with doing "slide shows". I have seen many complaints about this approach. In this case, there are 10 slides. While not an excessive amount, there have been slide show articles with considerably more slides. After spending an inordinate amount of time clicking on one after another, only to find that the article did not present anything significantly new, one does feel they wasted time. It would seem easier, IMO. if the authors would quit using the slide show technique and stick to the text/picture approach (or a PDF file). I would think the text/picture approach would take a little less effort than putting together a slide show. Also, one could get a quick glance at the article and decide whether it is worth the effort to read it. I think both of you were remiss in the comment and reply. Overall, I think you and the other authors do a good job on what you present (but, please, no slide shows).

bookman2
bookman2

Thanks. I learnt some new ways from the article. How about Cntl+Alt+Del?

michaewlewis
michaewlewis

Open My Computer to C:\WINDOWS\system32 and then double click taskmgr.exe or open the command prompt and enter taskmgr

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

I've got [b]baby duck syndrome[/b] and didn't even know about 4 out of the seven ways to fire up task manager.

autograph
autograph

Wow sorry everyone, on posting my comment and selecting view in thread loads more than the original 3 comments that were visible to me before have appeared. On scrolling up I did indeed find KEN and can now understand the ire he has created in this thread. To KEN, I would suggest that if this article contained absolutely nothing of value to you that you surf off and find something that does. Your comments are in this very category for me and amongst many others here feel that your posting is inappropriate and in bad taste. It would have been far more valuable to have contributed some positive knowledge that could have extended the original article that someone else took the time to compose on others behalves. Never mind hey maybe someone else will do that for you huh?

autograph
autograph

Hi all, Sorry to seem a little backward here but I cannot see any comments on this thread made by "Ken". If this is "hws 1947" who includes reference to 'not all of his time being wasted' then I would suggest that the writer take the time to actually read and comprehend his post again as he is in no way being derrogatory of the article at all. In fact he complements the article and the author for the content and derides instead those who would claim to know it all, all of the time. By the way I have also been around the block way too many times and still enjoy reading about such stuff. Reinforcing the basics or learning new ways of looking at them is fundamental to moving forward in life generally. Look at modern school texts and compare them to how you were taught and I guarantee you will come away with something valuable. Keep up the good work Greg!

schochet
schochet

This is EXTREMELY helpful (with or without attitude: if it works, that's good enough for me). Many, many thanks. Most of these methods also work in XP. I hope that they are better than CTRL-ALT-DEL, which often does not work and/or takes forever to open the program. Gordon Schochet

JGSecurity
JGSecurity

I am kind of surprised that anybody uses Windows' Task Manager. I was taught by Steve Sinofsky to replace the task manager with Process Explorer and to never look back. Therefore I have never thought it was useful for anything, and I still think that SysInternals' Process Explorer and Process Monitor do everything that Task Manager does.

gak
gak

There are 2 kinds of launch methods in the list: Task Manager specific ones and those that can be applied to any application. I guess that the latter should be removed or just ignored since that is just a distraction. If kept, then where is the "open the command prompt and type taskmgr" or "associate .xxxl files with Task Manager" or "Create a Task Manager task in the system Sheduler"?

FranC.
FranC.

I've stumbled upon a way of opening Task Manager by doing the right click and context menu. Didn't even know about the others with the exception of the shortcut on the desktop, an hang over from my Win XP days. Now there are more ways to open TM... Keyboard shortcuts were missing from my computing repertoire. Now it's added. Thanks.

spencemeister
spencemeister

Intrigued by the Ctrl+Alt+Esc combination. It doesn't work in XP which I still use at work. (sigh)

bulldurn
bulldurn

Always good to see different things that you use constantly and how to access them especially with shortcut keys... As someone told me one time: Just be smart enough to know where to go get the correct answer. No one knows everything, so I agree with hws1947....don't brag. IT is all about providing a service to users and be humble. I have to remind myself of this often.

pauldshearer
pauldshearer

Thanks for sharing Greg. One of the things I love about Windows is that we are free to find the way that best suits our individual approach. There so many ways to do the same thing. I just finished giving basic computer tuition to a person who could not believe how many ways we can copy and paste, Many thanks. Paul

Lolovivi
Lolovivi

I found this presentation very informative and easy to understand. I appreciate your taking the time to post this -- especially considering that I only knew of two of the methods. I'm not the most tech-savvy person (I know enough to get me into trouble but not necessarily out of it) so the stuff that most tech folks consider "basic" is very much appreciated by me -- especially when it is presented in a way that's easy to understand and follow. Thank you :)

rbw
rbw

I found these tips very helpful; I only knew two of them before.

hws1947
hws1947

I consider myself very technically oriented, having worked 20 years as the technical contact point to our I.T. group for four departments totaling 700+ users from analysts up to Sr. V.P.'s. I knew some of these various ways to pull up Task Manager, but not all of them. It was nice to read the alternatives so I do not feel my time was wasted; I found it interesting and beneficial. I get tired of all the techies who take the time to brag of their knowledge and to insult the author (and people like me) as not being as 'smart' as they claim to be. Yes, more knowledgeable in general, but short on attitude and courtesy.

Jye75
Jye75

Unlike Ken, I can find a good refresher very helpful. I'm guessing he didn't read the title of the gallery. Though he didn't find anything useful, instead of just clicking away to another page, he took the time to comment about his superior knowledge, which really just makes him a troll. Keep up the good work Greg! Not everybody knows or remembers everything in this ever changing world of technology. :-)

coffeeshop
coffeeshop

I wonder if Ken was referring more so to the actual presentation of the article; the Powerpoint-style, one-item-per-slide layout as opposed to a simple list. To each their own, I guess...Keyboard shortcuts are my weakness, so it was nice to see that included. And, the background on another 'slide' with the flying toasters screensaver was priceless!!! Thanks much!

Ken Dwight
Ken Dwight

What a complete waste of time! I was hoping for some useful tips or insights into Task Manager, got nothing new or useful.

Glenn from Iowa
Glenn from Iowa

I don't like the slide shows and wish they wouldn't present so many things in this format. However, if they insist on doing this, a short title describing what is in each picture would be great, since you can't tell from the thumbnails, and so you don't really know if it's worth waiting for the picture until you've...well...waited for the picture!

SubgeniusD
SubgeniusD

I often skip the entire article as well. Ridiculous format. Of course complaining about freebies is a bit ungrateful but I know we aren't the only ones tired of this presentation style. I'd like to see the editors run a poll on this subject. Well it would be pointless I suppose. The outcome would be as predictable as a "Do you enjoy sand in your ice cream?" poll LOL.

Solenoid
Solenoid

SysInternals' Process Explorer is small and fast with no installer, just an agree to terms click-through to start. It stays on my 'fix-it' thumb drive, and gets put on all computers within my responsibility. Within my corporate environment, it is one of the first things I embed into the system, before even removing crapware from a new PC. It's all about the information provided by the tool that you choose to use. I feel this one provides more than default. Furthermore, for those discussing wide profiles of coverage, Task Manager in XP or Vista is far less useful than same in Windows 7. Procexp fills that void nicely. Side topic: some security software (AV, anti-malware) has its own "see what's running on your system" proprietary tools. It's nice to know that they are there, but I never rely on them because they're always buried in a menu and not as accessible as what's been discussed here. @Greg - The ctrl-shift-esc one is new to me, and requires only one input instead of combination of mouse and keyboard. Great to know; thank you.

Cmd_Line_Dino
Cmd_Line_Dino

As others have commented Task Manager is always available and even in XP it has many capabilities that only appear after configuring it. For example per process disk and network reads/writes and memory usage and memory deltas per process per interval. I too am a fan of Process Explorer and have used it for years but recently found Process Hacker (an open source project on SourceForge) and have been using it instead. It is very very powerful. In my opinion it is the next step after Process Explorer.

aureolin
aureolin

One of the biggest reasons to be familiar with Task Manager is that I support a number of users, who don't all have Process Explorer installed. In fact, unless you're in a rigid corporate environment, you can't depend on your neato toolset being installed on computers you need to troubleshoot. Being able to work with the OS default tools and keys is important.

todddesormeaux
todddesormeaux

It's [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Esc] actually and I have tested it does work in Windows XP.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Ken: I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment, I really do. I also appreciate the fact that you used a mild title and saved your unkind comments for the body of your message. I know from years of experience, as I would expect that you do too, that it is extremely difficult to please all of the people all of the time. Its just not possible. When writing technical articles sometimes you go for the higher end of the technical scale and other times you shoot for the middle of the road. That way you are assured to at least please some of the people some of the time. I think that is fair. That being said, I was a little surprised by the rest of your comment. The title of the article/gallery was pretty straightforward: "Seven Ways to Open Windows Task Manager." I mean, based on that title, what other "useful tips or insights" were you expecting? As I mentioned above, some articles/galleries shoot for the middle of the road and I would hope that folks on the higher end of the technical scale, such as yourself, would read the title and say to themselves "I already know those tricks, so Im not going to read this article" and then move on to some other higher-end articles. With that I mind I can only come to the conclusion that the "complete waste of time" was entirely your fault. I am sure that there are plenty of other readers who will find value in some, if not all, of these tips.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Learned early on in my career that if [b]default[/b] works you're better off when the going gets tough. I was able to resurrect a SGI box because I was a vi guy. Everyone who teased me about not using EMACS were stymied at the pre-boot console. :)

dold
dold

I stay fluent in the default installed tools, because it is really annoying to get distracted by the lack of your favorite tool when working on a problem on someone else's machine. Sometimes, I install things on the machines close to my control, but I try to always be current in the standard applications. More and more, corporations are controlling what can be installed, and ProcessExplorer isn't on the list at my company. Thanks for the "ctrl-shift-esc" tip. That's way too difficult to "type", kind of like using this one slide at a time format, as someone else noted. I have to scroll up and down with each click, because it doesn't fit on my screen, but I suffer through in cases like this. -- Clarence

khiatt
khiatt

I think Ctrl+Shift+Esc even worked in Win2K. That's my first choice. Second is the right-click on taksbar when I'm too lazy to take my hand off the mouse :) This article also reminded me of the Win+R to open the Run box. I'll have run through that list again now because I'd forgotten most of them. Thanks Greg (don't let one Ken give all us Kens a bad name)

PumlaD88
PumlaD88

Thanks Greg I ddnt know much, I just dont believe u "Ken" it was not directed to u anyways next time save ur comments if u dn't knw wat to say.