CTRL+ALT+DEL = Task Manager in Vista?

Why can’t the ole three-finger shuffle directly bring up the task manager in vista like it did in XP? Here is how to find your friendly task manager in vista with one shortcut.


CTRL+ALT+DEL no longer brings up the task manager in vista. Sorry.

Since vista is is of the NT lineage, this has been changed to the NT behavior. Who know why. Complain and whine. Complain and whine.

Or just learn the new keyboard combination for the task manager:

CTRL+SHIFT+ESC

Go ahead and practice it a few times now.

You can also right click on the task bar to pull up the task manager as well…

vista_task_manager_task_bar

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • cal

    I’ve tried both and neither works!!

  • microsoft hater

    I hate microsoft.
    It’s just one of the examples of : “use the computer how we tell you or else!”
    if you are use to CTRL+ALT+DELETE there is no option to make it open the task manager again, microsoft thinks it’s best that you press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC, and if you oppose, sucks for you.

  • Joey

    I hate that they changed the keyboard shortcut, but thanks for letting me know about the new one…although I should really be thanking Google lol :P

  • Joey

    One good thing about the new shortcut is that you can do it with your left hand ONLY, which means that you can keep your right hand on the mouse. I hated that I had to use both hands for Ctrl-Alt-Del.

    I still hate having to get used to the change though.

    • Lord_Arco1

      — “One good thing about the new shortcut is that you can do it with your left hand ONLY, which means that you can keep your right hand on the mouse. I hated that I had to use both hands for Ctrl-Alt-Del.

      I still hate having to get used to the change though. ” —

      Haha you could still use just one hand for ctrl+alt+del if you use the right side ctrl+alt instead of the left ^^
      You can easily reach del from there with the same hand.

    • Lord_Arco1

      — “One good thing about the new shortcut is that you can do it with your left hand ONLY, which means that you can keep your right hand on the mouse. I hated that I had to use both hands for Ctrl-Alt-Del.

      I still hate having to get used to the change though. ” —

      Haha you could still use just one hand for ctrl+alt+del if you use the right side ctrl+alt instead of the left ^^
      You can easily reach del from there with the same hand.

  • cron

    Shortcut works for me, thank you very much! It’s even the same in Windows 7.

  • Jay

    Is there a way to change the default save location for the Process Memory Dumps from vista’s Task Manager?

  • up4change

    Brilliant…. thanks for this, I’m happy again! As for those whining about change, life would be exceptionally dull without it, so get out there-go on now… and embrace it, go for a drive in a car or maybe turn on your computer ? either that or get back on your donkey with your abacus but quit whining whatever you do.

    • goldwinger

      Change for the sake of change is foolish.

  • Matt

    simple as lol

  • Arsnof

    Wait… what? Why didn’t I know this sooner?! Thank you, internet person!

  • schwab

    thank-you! i’ve had a few programs crash on me and ctr-alt-dlt wasn’t working. hard resets suck.

  • gail

    WOW! I LOVE YOU–this has driven me NUTS!

  • evo’

    Great! Thanks.

  • pubaction

    I think this is much better, because you only need one hand to do this.

    Just keep practicing it and very soon you gonna love it.

    Also in most keyboards or laptops the Del key is always in a different location.

    But these keys are mostly in fixed location, however the ctrl key could be the exception.

  • rose

    ah, much better. thanks!

  • jim bo

    neither work and i cant even click anything on the task bar for sum reason:/

  • Anonymous

    That is a virus, try to make a system restore since last time you open task manager without problem, if you don’t remember, try more time to be sure it will fix it, remember, if you install something after the day you choose to restore your computer, will be uninstales from the registry, so means that them doesn’t will run!!!! but you will still have it on the computer, you don’t will lose any documents, 100% sure.

  • http://ReactOS.org/ ReactOS

    That is lame & not a solution, I don’t like or want to press Ctrl+Shift+Esc (too many keys on one hand), I want to press Ctrl+Alt+Del & get Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt with left hand, Del with right)…it would be fine if they were flipped tho…

    Ctrl+Shift+Esc = “That Screen” (What Vista does now for Ctrl+Alt+Del)
    Ctrl+Alt+Del = Task Freaking Manager

    Heck even if Ctrl+Alt+Ins were Task Manager it would be better, Ctrl+Alt+Ins is alot closer to Del, to be able “to get used to” (conform much?)…to be clear, either of these (or a option somewhere to, um, CHOOSE) would be good/fine…

    Ctrl+Alt+Del = Task Manager
    Ctrl+Alt+Ins = “That Screen”

    …OR…

    Ctrl+Alt+Del = “That Screen”
    Ctrl+Alt+Ins = Task Manager

    I may see if AutoHotkey can help me here, if I succeed, I will post a link to a script here, to put the CHOICE back into the USERS hands!

  • http://usws.isgreat.org/ usws

    Needing to click through to open the task manager makes it so hard to close unresponsive programs especially when Vista slows downs as well. Thanks for the tip.

  • http://freewareoftheday.blogspot.com/ lazycoder

    Thanks mate I dint know abt the Ctrl+Shift+Esc nice info, better than bringing up the vista options screen

  • Anonymous

    you are the greatest

  • Name

    Thank you

  • Anonymous

    if you have vista you can do so “open run from start menu and write, regedit, then push on HKEY_CURRENT_USER, then choose software,then microsoft, then windows, then current version,then policies, then system, then change task maneger from default to enable.”

    • eddie

      Ooooh!! ANOTHER freaking dumba55 registry hack? Say it isn’t so! Imagine the f@% morons at micro$oft putting this in an option menu somewhere… ah, nope.

      If the fools at micro$oft made a car, each year something different would be changed.

      In this year’s model, the brake pedal is in the trunk. GET USED TO IT you stinking sheeple! We’re Micro$oft, after all, and we can do no wrong. Ask Hack_Vista, for example, and s/he’ll tell you what an idiot you are.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Thanks!

  • csaba

    oh wow, nice! I am no longer whining! thanks (:

  • Estee

    I have Vista Home Premium and I access Task Manager with CTRL + ALT + DEL with no problem. But right clicking on the desktop doesn’t bring it up in the menu box that pops up. So one can still get task manager with the short cut. I do.

  • Anonymous Coward

    Thanks. I was really mad about this for a couple of weeks. I’ve reached the point at my tweaking hierarchy in adapting to the new Windows when it’s come time for me to address this one, and I was led to this page. What a nice solution… On my laptop’s keyboard, ctrl+shift+esc is actually a bit more ergonomic, using the right hand for ctrl+shift. I actually like it better. I expect it might take some time to recondition myself though. Anyway, thanks for the tip.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/TQE7XNBIACLV7PHW6KP6H5MEEM bodo

    Te combination CTRL+SHIFT+ESC Works in Windows XP Too!

  • GoldWinger

    Gotta love Microsoft and their “we must protect you from yourself” attitude.

    I screwed up Task Manager trying to get Ctrl-Alt-Del to work as I am used to. I went from Me to XP and Ctrl-Alt-Del opened TaskMgr for me. I used NT for about a week in 93 and wasn’t impressed so I never looked back.

    Anyway, I was asking about straightening out TaskMgr on another forum and most of what I got from the “gurus” was not help about my problem but lectures about how TaskMan has always started with Ctrl-Shift-Esc. I guess if you were born in 1995 that is true.

    Microsoft keeps adding stuff that is useless to the home user or even the small business owner. How many people really need multiple users on a PC? Or passwords outside of the office?

    There should be an install option to say, “I don’t want or need security crap.”

    Also why do they change things like Media Player? 12 is nothing like 11. They trumpeted the mini-taskbar player and now that’s gone.

    Sorry . .. I’m starting to rant.

  • Anonymous

    Do it twice. like Alt +Ctrl [then while holding alt +ctrl, press delete twice.] , it should bring you to this thing where it says switch user, etc, at the bottom is start task manager click that, it’ll show this weird thing running but look at the tabs and click applications, and there you go,Task manager. takes a while to get there but it works :)

  • n0s

    Doesn’t work. In a fullscreen application in W7, CTRL-SHIFT-ESC minimizes the window, hides the mouse pointer and does NOT open the task manager. It only works if you are already on the desktop.

  • Thoracias

    Running Vista and I was always able to open Task Manager with the old Control-Alt-Del until last week. (There WAS a Microsoft update though.)
    Now TM won’t open no matter what I do. It SAYS it’s running in the task bar but only shows the CP usage icon. I can’t actually SEE task manager and make changes. Any help appreciated!

  • Parash Rai

    my system was working slow so i went to the Windows Task Manager and was deleting the programs running in the back ground and suddenly the screen went blank and only the Ctrl, Altr & Delete buttons are working i have tried to Boot my computer by pressing F8 key while restarting and booting the computer from the Last Known Good Configuration but it does not work can anyone help he my email is [email protected] Thanks

  • Parash Rai

    hi everyone I am using a Windows 7 Ultimate OS in my computer and some days back while working on my computer, my computer was working slowly so i went to Windows Task Manager to end task of some programs running in the back ground and while doing so my computer screen went black and the key board does not work except for the Ctrl, Alter & Delete button which takes me to the Windows Task manager can anyone help me I E mail ID is [email protected] Thanks