Configure Task Manager to Display Full Path and Command Line of Running Processes


Out of all the built-in troubleshooting tools in Windows, Task Manager is probably the most useful tool. Almost every end-user knows what to do when an application stalls. They just fire up Task Manager using Ctrl + Shift + Esc and end the non responsive task. Also, Task Manager can be a extremely valuable tool for advanced users who want to troubleshoot processes, monitor disk I/O rates or other system performance issues.

Task Manager’s Details tab lists all running processes. By default it doesn’t display the complete path of the running processes and the Command-line arguments used by those processes. Here is how to enable this critical bit of information in Task Manager.

Show Command Line and File path of Running Processes

The instructions below apply to Task Manager in Windows 8 and 10.

Show Command-line column in Processes tab

Start Task Manager. In the Processes tab, right-click the column header and enable Command line option.

task manager show command line

Here you go

task manager show command line

Show Command-line column in Details tab

In Task manager, click the Details tab. Right-click the column header and click Select columns

task manager show command line

Enable Command line checkbox and click OK.

task manager show command line

Note that “Command line” field would show the image file path anyway. So, enabling the “Command line” column itself should be sufficient.

task manager show command line

Task Manager in earlier versions of Windows

Task Manager user interface appears a bit different in previous versions of Windows. For Windows Vista and 7, use these steps:

Launch Task Manager. From the View menu, click Select Columns… Scroll down the listing, select the following options and click OK.

  • Image Path Name
  • Command Line

(Fig 1: Task Manager showing Image Path Name and Command Line)

Note: The options Image Path Name and Command Line are not available in Windows XP and earlier. In Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems, you need Process Explorer or any other process viewer to see the path name and command line of a running process. You’d also like to read my earlier article titled What’s the suspicious Rundll32.exe process?.


About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.