Seven Ways to Open the Windows Task Manager

Bringing up the Task Manager isn’t much of a task in itself, but it’s always fun to know about different ways of doing things. And some of them can even come in handy if you can’t open Task Manager like you are used to.

RELATED: Beginner Geek: What Every Windows User Should Know About Using Windows Task Manager

Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete

You are probably familiar with the three-finger salute: Ctrl + Alt + Del. Until Windows Vista is released, press Ctrl + Alt + Del to go directly to Task Manager. From Windows Vista, pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del now takes you to the Windows Security screen, which provides options to lock your PC, switch users, log out, and run Task Manager.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc

The fastest way to bring up Task Manager – assuming your keyboard is working – is to simply press Ctrl + Shift + Esc. As a bonus, Ctrl + Shift + Esc offers a quick way to bring up Task Manager while using Remote Desktop or working in a virtual machine (since Ctrl + Alt + Del would mean your local machine instead).

RELATED: Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 7, 8, 10 or Vista

Press Windows + X to access the advanced user menu

Windows 8 and Windows 10 both have a Power User menu that you can access by pressing Windows + X. The menu offers quick access to all kinds of utilities, including Task Manager.

Right click on the taskbar

If you prefer the mouse over the keyboard, one of the quickest ways to bring up Task Manager is to right-click any empty space on your taskbar and choose “Task Manager” . Just two clicks and you are there.

Run “taskmgr” from the run zone or from the start menu

The name of the Task Manager executable file is “taskmgr.exe”. You can launch Task Manager by pressing Start, typing “taskmgr” in the Start menu search box, and pressing Enter.

You can also run it by pressing Windows + R to open the Run box, typing “taskmgr” and then pressing Enter.

Navigate to taskmgr.exe in File Explorer

You can also launch the Task Manager by directly opening its executable. This is definitely the longest way to open Task Manager, but we’re including it for completeness. Open File Explorer and navigate to the following location:


Scroll down and find (or search for) taskmgr.exe, then double-click it.

Create a shortcut to Task Manager

And last on our list is creating a nice and accessible shortcut to Task Manager. You can do this in several ways. To pin a shortcut to your taskbar, launch Task Manager using one of the methods we’ve described. While it is running, right-click on the Task Manager icon in the taskbar and choose “Pin to taskbar”. After that, you can click the shortcut to run the Task Manager at any time.

If you want to create a shortcut on your desktop (or in a folder), right-click on an empty space where you want to create the shortcut, then choose New> Shortcut.

In the Create Shortcut window, enter the following location in the box, then press “Next.”


Type a name for the new shortcut, then click “Finish.”

RELATED: Create a shortcut to start Task Manager in minimized mode

This is the end of our list! Some methods are obviously more effective than others, but if you’re in a difficult situation – keyboard or mouse not working, fighting a malicious virus, or whatever – any method that works is the right one. You can also consult our guide on how to start Task Manager in minimized mode during startup, so it will always be open when you turn on your computer.

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