Task Manager in Windows Vista and Windows 7 runs in non-elevated mode by default, showing only those processes running under the current user context. To be able to terminate or manage a process running under other user accounts, or to log off other users, you need to elevate Task Manager by clicking the Show processes from all users button in the Processes tab.
Alternately, you can create a desktop shortcut to Taskmgr.exe, right-click on the shortcut and click Run as administrator. But, this workaround won’t help if you mostly use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keystroke to launch the Task Manager.
I’ve just found a way to start Task Manager in elevated mode by default when using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keystroke or when running Taskmgr.exe directly, and sharing the knowledge in this post. The trick is to set the Debugger registry value for Taskmgr.exe, pointing to a VBScript which starts Task Manager elevated. The method which I found works perfectly fine, no matter which way you use to launch Task Manager.
Task Manager Run as Administrator (Elevated) by Default
Here are the instructions to make Task Manager always start in elevated mode:
- Open the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
- Make a copy of
Taskmgr.exeand name the copy as
- Download taskmgr-elev.zip and unzip the contents to a folder
- Move the file
taskmgr-elev.regto run it
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, or type
taskmgr.exein Start Orb to open Task Manager. It should now show the User Account Control elevation dialog. Click Continue so that Task Manager runs as administrator (elevated). And, when you run Task Manager from a standard user account, it should prompt for administrator credentials.
The registry fix above sets
taskmgr.vbs as the Debugger for
taskmgr.exe process, by writing to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\Taskmgr.exe
Starting Task Manager will now invoke the script file
taskmgr.vbs, which then launches
taskmgr2.exe elevated. To reverse the changes, run the Undo.reg file, and then manually delete taskmgr.vbs from the Windows directory.
The excellent Process Explorer utility uses the same technique to replace Task Manager.
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About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.