How To Get An Ultra-Compact Windows Task Manager

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 5, 2010
Updated • Sep 14, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

Windows users can open the Task Manager with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Esc, or by selecting its entry in the context menu after right-clicking the taskbar in the operating system. Those who have tried to reduce the size of the Task Manager window have without doubt noticed that it has a fixed minimum size that prevents you from reducing the size of the task manager beyond that threshold.

Most users do not know that it is possible to reduce the size of the task manager beyond that point to make it usable for users with specific window size requirements.

You can for instance position a smaller window somewhere on the screen so that it is always visible without using up too much screen estate.

Update: Please note that newer versions of Windows ship with a redesigned Task Manager that does not support the feature. Windows 10 for instance ships with a new task manager that starts in basic mode. While that is comparable, it lacks any options apart from program names that run on the system currently.

The compact mode of the program can be activated by double-clicking the inner border of the task manager, take a look at the screenshot below to see the area.

A double-click on that border switches to ultra-compact mode which removes the tabs and menu bar in the Windows Task Manager which reduces the size of the program automatically.

windows task manager compact

That alone would not be helpful but the new mode enables you to reduce the window size of the task manager further. Just use the standard resizing options, by moving the mouse cursor to the border of the window, holding down the left mouse button and using a drag motion to increase or decrease the size of the application window.

windows task manager

The task manager window can be reduced to an absolute minimum this way. It is possible to switch modes again by double-clicking a second time on the border. This however resizes the window to the minimum allowed size of that mode automatically.

Do you have a tip like that? Why not share it with us in the comments?

How To Get An Ultra-Compact Windows Task Manager
Article Name
How To Get An Ultra-Compact Windows Task Manager
Find out how to reduce the size of the Windows Task Manager beyond its initial limits.

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Doc said on July 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    The most common way of accessing Task Manager is to hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE and select it from the security dialog; hitting CTRL_SHIFT-ESC is much better, IMHO. The CTRL-SHIFT-ESC and Taskbar shortcuts, as well as the double-click “minimal window” trick, also work in Windows 2000.

  2. traffic said on July 6, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Who would know that it is possible to hide the task manager just by double clicking the border. wow amazing

  3. LOL said on July 6, 2010 at 2:00 am

    I really do not know until now that it is possible to re-size the task manager.
    Thanks for this blog

  4. DarkBlood said on July 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    :O I didn’t know this, works in Windows XP too.

    1. Martin said on July 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      You are welcome, and the layout stays, at least in the same session.

  5. JK III said on July 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    And use Ctrl+Tab to switch between applications, processes, and other stuff.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.