How to Open the Task Manager in Windows 10

There are many ways to access the task manager, including keyboard shortcuts

What to Know

  • Ctrl+Alt+Esc is the fastest way to open Task Manager in Windows 10.
  • Other keyboard shortcuts include Ctrl+Alt+Delete and Windows+X.
  • Right-click anywhere on the Windows taskbar to access Task Manager.

Windows Task Manager is an excellent tool for keeping track of system processes, monitoring resource usage, and forcing memory-hogging applications to close. Microsoft has introduced a number of improvements to Task Manager over the years, but luckily, accessing it on Windows 10 hasn’t changed much from Windows 7.

If you'd like more information, check out our walkthrough on how to use the Windows Task Manager.

How Do I Open the Task Manager in Windows 10?

From the Start Menu to keyboard shortcuts, there are multiple ways to open Task Manager in Windows 10. Here are the most common ways to do it:

  • Type Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  • Type Ctrl+Alt+Esc
  • Open Power User Menu by typing Windows+X
  • Right-click the Taskbar
  • Use File Explorer
  • Create a shortcut

How Do I Get to Task Manager on Keyboard?

Here are a few keyboard shortcuts to open up Task Manager quickly:

Ctrl+Alt+Delete

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is a popular shortcut across multiple generations of Windows, and up until Windows Vista, it brought you directly to Task Manager. The shortcut’s functionality has changed a bit with successive versions of Windows, as it now opens the Windows Security screen.

Once the Windows Security screen is open, select Task Manager from the menu to open it.

Windows+X

Both Windows 8 and Windows 10 include a feature called Power User Menu that can be accessed by pressing Windows key+X. This menu provides quick access to a number of advanced system utilities, including Task Manager.

Opening Task Manager with Power User menu in Windows 10 (with Task Manager highlighted)

What Is the Fastest Way to Open Task Manager?

The easiest (and fastest) keyboard shortcut for opening Task Manager is to press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. This not only takes you directly to the Task Manager but won’t disrupt certain activities like typing Ctrl+Alt+Delete would (such as using Remote Desktop).

How Do I Open Task Manager Without Keyboard Shortcuts?

If you’d prefer to not mess around with keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Alt+Delete, there are a few alternate ways to access Task Manager in Windows 10.

Right-Click the Taskbar

This method is pretty self-explanatory. All you need to do is right-click anywhere on the Windows 10 taskbar at the bottom of your screen and select Task Manager.

Opening Task Manager by right-clicking Taskbar in Windows 10 (with Task Manager highlighted)

Use the Run Box or Start Menu

You can use Windows 10 search functionality to access Task Manager in a couple of ways. 

Typing Windows+R will bring up the Run box, which has been a Windows OS fixture for decades. Enter taskmgr into the field provided and then press OK to open Task Manager.

Opening Task Manager with Run box on Windows 10 with "tskmgr" highlighted

You can also use the Windows 10 Start menu’s search box. Type taskmgr and press Enter.

Opening Task Manager with Windows 10 search function.

Locate Task Manager in File Explorer

If a manual search is more your style, you can look for the Task Manager executable directly in File Explorer.

  1. Open File Explorer.

    Opening File Explorer on Windows 10.
  2. Click This PC.

    Windows 10 File Explorer with "This PC" highlighted
  3. Open C Drive.

    Windows 10 File Explorer with the C drive highlighted
  4. Click Windows.

    Windows File Explorer with the C drive open and Windows highlighted
  5. Click System 32.

    Windows 10 Windows folder with "System32" highlighted
  6. Type taskmgr in the search bar and press Enter.

    Windows 10 System 32 folder with tskmgr highlighted in the search bar
  7. Open Task Manager.

    Taskmgr application highlighted in the Windows 10 System 32 folder

Create a Shortcut

If you find yourself needing to use Task Manager a lot, it might be a good idea to create a shortcut. There are a couple of methods for doing this.

While Task Manager is running, create a shortcut in the Taskbar by right-clicking the Task Manager icon and selecting Pin to Taskbar.

You can also create a desktop shortcut using the following steps:

  1. Right-click an empty space on your desktop and select New.

    Taskbar right-click menu with New highlighted
  2. Select Shortcut.

    Taskbar right-click New submenu with Shortcut highlighted
  3. Enter C:/Windows/System32/taskmgr into the Create Shortcut window and press Next.

    Windows 10 shorcut creation dialog with C:/Windows/System32/taskmgr and Next highlighted
  4. Type Task Manager as the name for the new shortcut and then click Finish.

    Task Manager Shortcut creation with Task Manager in the name field and Finish highlighted
FAQ
  • How do I open the Task Manager on a Mac?

    macOS doesn't have a Task Manager, but you can access Task Manager-equivalent functions in two places. First, the Force Quit Applications dialog is where you can force malfunctioning programs to quit. To access the Force Quit dialog, select the Apple menu, then click Force Quit. Or, press Command+Option+Esc to bring up the Force Quit dialog. If you need to access information about memory consumption or process data, you'll need to open the Activity Monitor. To access the Activity Monitor, click Spotlight Search (the magnifying glass on the top right of your screen), and type in Activity Monitor.

  • How do I open the Task Manager on a Chromebook?

    To open a Chromebook's task-management tool, click the Menu icon > More Tools and select Task Manager. For more data, select Stats for Nerds.

  • How do I open Task Manager on a second monitor?

    An easy way to do this is to open Task Manager on your primary monitor, then use Windows+Shift+left arrow or right arrow to move the application window from one monitor to the other.

  • How do I open Task Manager as Admin?

    To run Task Manager as an administrator, navigate to Task Manager using one of the methods described above. Then, right-click on Task Manager and select Run as Administrator. Enter the administrator password when prompted, then you'll open Task Manager as an administrator.

  • How do I open the Task Manager in Chrome?

    To use the Google Chrome Task Manager, open Chrome and select Menu (three dots), then select More Tools > Task Manager. With Chrome's Task Manager, view a list of every open tab, process, and extension, as well as key statistics about memory usage, CPU usage, and network activity. 

  • How do I open the Task Manager on an Android device?

    To access the built-in Android Task Manager, tap the up arrow on the panel, then select the Task Manager icon. Once open, you can view and control running services, view any applications that are using memory, check your battery usage, and more.

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