7 Ways to Open the Windows Task Manager

The Task Manager on Windows Operating System (OS) based computers is a very important utility. We have all turned to the Task Manager when the applications on our computer are unresponsive when we want to kill some active processes & many other different situations and the Task Manager has never denied it. For those, who do not know how to launch this incredible tool, this article is all yours. Happy “End-Tasking”!

What is the Windows Task Manager?

The Windows Task Manager

The Task Manager is a built-in Windows tool that is used to manage system operations by launching & ending processes, checking the overall performance of applications, and monitoring the number of system resources used by the running processes running in the foreground and background of the Windows PC. This tool can be found in every Windows version since Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.

Tools that can be used to launch Task Manager on your PC

The following are the components of a Windows 8 and Windows 10 computer, that can be used to open the Task Manager, easily.

  1. Taskbar
  2. Quick Link menu (Power User menu)
  3. Start menu
  4. Keyboard Shortcut
  5. Command Prompt line
  6. Run Command execution
  7. Windows PowerShell tool
  8. File Explorer
  9. Windows Security Screen
  10. Search Box on the taskbar
  11. Windows Control Panel
  12. Windows Registry Editor

Opening Task Manager through different mediums on Windows

These are the different utilities that can open Task Manager on your system. There are several key combinations in the following methods. They are not to be confused with the others. 

Taskbar

The Taskbar is the thin bar, typically placed at the bottom of the screen, containing pinned and important applications that are frequently used by the user. 

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Right-click on the taskbar and select the Task Manager option from the context menu. 

Task Manager option in the Taskbar context menu

This will bring up the Task Manager window on your screen.

Quick Link menu (Power User menu)

The Quick Link or Power User Menu is a little list of Windows tools that are used for system management and configuration. Since the Task Manager falls under the system management tools category, it can be found in the Quick Link menu.

Press the Windows and X keys, on your keyboard, at the same time, or simply right-click on the Start button for the Quick Link menu to pop up. Choose Task Manager from here.

Task Manager option in the Quick Link menu

Start menu

The Start Menu is an application tray that can be used to gain quick access to all programs in the system. 

One simply has to click on the Start button or push the Windows key on your keyboard to draw the Start menu up. You should be able to find the Task manager option, in the list of applications under the Windows System folder/section.

The Windows System folder in the Start Menu

Keyboard Shortcut (Ctrl + Shift + Esc)

There are several keyboard shortcuts allotted for accessing several attributes of the computer. The Task Manager has one too. Users have to press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on their keyboard to immediately open the Task Manager onto their screen. 

Ctrl, Shift and Esc keys on a keyboard

This is the easiest way to open this window on your Windows PC.

Command Prompt line

The Command Prompt tool can also be used to open the Task Manager. Type cmd in the search bar at the bottom-left part of the screen and then, open the first search result. In the script window, type in taskmgr and hit Enter to execute this command.

Taskmgr command in the Cmd window

Run Command execution

The Run tool can be used to open new windows and applications, with the help of specific commands.
Open this Run utility by pressing the Windows and R keys together, type taskmgr in the Open field, and press the Enter key or the Ok button to run this command. This will open the Task Manager window.

Taskmgr command in the Run tool

Windows PowerShell tool

The PowerShell is a bit similar to the Command Prompt tool and can also be used to start Task Manager in Windows PCs. You can open the PowerShell tool, using the Quick Link menu (Windows + X) or the search bar at the bottom. Type in the taskmgr command and hit Enter to run it and thereby, launch the Task Manager.

Taskmgr command in the PowerShell

File Explorer

The File Explorer is the main application management utility that all of us use to navigate among files, documents, images, videos, and other files. The Task Manager’s executable file can be opened in the file explorer. 

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Open the File Explorer by pressing the Windows + E keys on your keyboard or by clicking on the small folder icon on the taskbar. You can also find this option in the Start menu. Open the C: Drive, go into the Windows folder, and open the System32 directory.

You can also copy & paste this directory in the address bar and press Enter:

C:\Windows\System32

Task Manager application in the System32 folder

Here, double-click on it with your mouse to open the application with the Task Manager icon.

Windows Security Screen (Ctrl + Alt + Del)

If you press Ctrl + Alt + Del on your keyboard, it will pause any application that has crashed and take you to a blue screen that will let you access limited features of the computer. 

Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys on a keyboard

On this screen, click on the Task Manager option. You will be taken back to your screen with the Task Manager on top of all the applications.

Search Field on the taskbar

The search bar on the left side of the taskbar is a very useful feature. It is like a search engine for Windows features. 

Search result for Task Manager

Windows users can simply enter Task Manager or, even, taskmgr in the Search box and open Task Manager by clicking on the first search result.

Windows Control Panel

The Windows Control Panel can also be used to open Task Manager on your computer.

Open the Control Panel through the search bar or the Start menu. In the Control Panel window, click on the search bar with your mouse pointer and then, type Task Manager in it. Now, click on the Task Manager link, under the System section to open Task Manager on your screen. 

Task Manager link in the System section of the Control Panel

Windows Registry Editor

This is an unusual method to open Task Manager in Windows but it works. Windows users can use the Registry Editor to adjust the Task Manager. Open the Run box and input the regedit command. Execute this to open the Registry Editor window. In the Registry Editor, go to this location:

Computer \HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows \ CurrentVersion\ TaskManager

Task Manager folder in the Registry Editor

Here, you can change Task Manager settings through the UseStatusSettings and Preferences attributes.

Creating a Task Manager shortcut

You can create shortcuts for instant access to the Task Manager, instead of opening them with some steps. Users can use the Taskbar and the Desktop to make a Task Manager shortcut.

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Pinning it to the Taskbar

Pinning something to the taskbar is the process of creating a way to access the pinned application with a single click. 

  1. You just have to open the Task Manager, using any of the above methods. 
  2. Right-click on the highlighted task manager icon on the taskbar and select Pin to Taskbar in the little context menu. 
The Pin to taskbar option in the taskbar context menu

You’ll now be able to see the Task Manager on the taskbar, even when this window is not open on your computer. 

The pinned Task Manager on the taskbar

Creating a Taskbar Shortcut on your Desktop

Making a desktop shortcut for an application means making a copy of the executable file that is used to run the app on the desktop for quick access. Here’s how you can create a desktop shortcut for the Task Manager. 

  1. You need to be on your desktop to start. Right-click on the desktop to open the desktop pop-up menu.
  2. Select the New option and choose Shortcut.
New > Shortcut option in the computer desktop
  1. In the Type the location of the item text space, enter this directory:

C:\Windows\System32\Taskmgr.exe

Create Shortcut dialog box with the Task Manager directory

You can also browse to this location in the File Explorer by clicking on the Browse button.

  1. Click on the Next button and then, name the shortcut as something you can recognize. 
Naming the Shortcut for Task Manager

For example, it’s not a bad idea to name it “Task Manager”.

  1. Press the Finish button and you’ll now see the Task Manager shortcut on your desktop.
The Task Manager desktop shortcut

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the shortcut to open Task Manager?

The key combination for opening the Windows Task Manager is Ctrl + Shift + Esc. 

How do I bring up task manager?

There are many ways to open the Task Manager on your Windows computer. Users can open the Task Manager through the Taskbar context menu, Quick link menu, Control Panel, Windows Explorer, Run tool, and the Windows Security screen. 

How do I open Task Manager on my laptop?

Users can use the taskbar context menu, Quick link menu, Control Panel, Windows Explorer, Run tool, search bar empty space, Command Prompt, Windows PowerShell, and the Windows Security screen.

Is there an alternative to Ctrl Alt Delete?

The Ctrl + Alt + Del is the three-keys keyboard shortcut for the Windows Security window. This is not just for the Windows computer but also for macOS, where it will help bring up the Mac Task Manager.