Fix Your Task Manager if it is Disabled

Jan 10, 2008
Updated • Dec 28, 2012
Antivirus, Windows

If you are running Windows as an administrator, it is possible to disable the task manager. This is one of the options you would get if you right click your system tray. However, the most common reason for a disabled task manager is a virus, malicious software or corruption. Disabling the task manager is one way for a virus to prevent you from detecting and removing it from your system.

Luckily, enabling your task manager is possible, with a few simple steps. The first thing though is to make sure your task manager is actually disabled. If you right click your system tray and the task manager option is grayed-out, it is disabled. You can also check by going to Start --> Run and typing ‘taskmgr’ or using Ctrl-Shift-Esc. You will get a message saying your task manager has been disabled by the administrator.

If the task manager has been disabled by a virus, you will first need to get it out of your computer. Once that is done, you are ready to proceed. Go to Start --> Run, type ‘gpedit.msc’ and hit OK. This opens up the Group Policy Editor. Once there, double click the following entries;

  • User Configuration
  • Administrative Templates
  • System
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del Options

The first entry is ‘Remove Task Manager’, which will be enabled. Double click this entry to change its setting. Select ‘Not configured’ and click OK. Your task manager will be enabled after this.

The above method works on Windows XP. An alternate method is to modify the registry manually. Go to Start --> Run, type ‘regedit’ and click OK. Expand the following registry keys in order.

  • Software
  • Microsoft
  • Windows
  • CurrentVersion
  • Policies
  • System

You will see a DisableTaskMgr entry with a registry value of 1. Right click this entry and select ‘Delete’. Confirm the action and you should be able to access your task manager once again.

Let me know if any of these methods work for you. Also, comment if you know of any other ways to fix a disabled task manager.

Via [AskLeo]


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  1. Ohmy said on January 12, 2008 at 4:53 am

    Well I have a virsus that makes the computer think that “another program is using it” First method showed that everything worked. When I went into reg edit however it said it doesn’t exist! Now that’s a vrius! Ill rung AVG. See if it works.

  2. Ayush said on January 10, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    The above method works on Windows XP.

    Only on Windows XP PRO (no gpedit.msc in HOME)

  3. AJ said on January 10, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I’ve never come across a situation like this before but I guess it would be handy to know what to do if it ever happened.

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