How to enable Task Manager in Microsoft Windows 8 or 8.1


Windows Task Manager is an inbuilt utility which is used to view running process, CPU performance, memory usage on your computer. This utility is very handy in situations where you want to check which are the processes running on your computer and how much memory or CPU is utilized by each process.  Task manager also allows you to kill services, Shutdown, hibernate and restart your computer.

The Task Manager can be activated by pressing Crtl+Shift+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Del. You could also right click on Windows Task bar and select Task Manager. Windows 8.1 task manager comes with different tabs (Processes, Performance, App History, Startup, Users, Details  and Services).

Windows 8 Task Manager Screenshot

Sometimes, if your computer is infected with any virus, it may disable Task manager on your computer. Even after you remove the virus, the task manager may remain disabled. In this article, we will discuss various methods to enable or restore Task Manager in Windows.

How do I know whether task manager is disabled?

When you try to access Task manager, if you receive the error “Task Manager has been disabled by Administrator” then this article is for you. We can use different methods to enable task manager on your Windows based computer. I have taken screenshots from a Windows 8.1 based computer, but the methods will work for Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista etc.

Task Manager has been disabled your administrator

To check whether task manager is disabled or not, you can also right click on Taskbar and check Task Manager option is greyed-out or not. In the below provided screenshot, you can find that the Task Manager option is greyed-out.

Task Manager disabled in Right Click Menu

Now let us discuss how to enable Task manager on your computer. There are different ways to enable task manager, so here I am going to list a few. You can choose the easiest method.

Method 1: Download the registry fix now:

Yes, I made a registry fix for you. You just need to download and run this file on your computer and issue will be fixed. This will be the easiest way to fix the task manager issue on your computer. If you would like to know how to restore or merge this file to the registry of your computer, then please read my guide provided below.

Guide: How to restore Restore the Registry in Windows 8 or 8.1,  click here to read.

I have uploaded the registry fix here and you can download it. Click on the download button to get the registry fix for your computer.

Once you click on Download button, you will at below provided page. Click on Download button to save the file on to your computer.

Task Manager Disabled Registry Fix by Server Head

Once you download the file, please right click on it and choose the option Merge.

Merge Registry to fix task manager

You will receive a UAC  (User Account Control) prompt which ask for your permission. Click on Yes.

Task Manager UAC Control Windows

You will receive one more warning, please read and click on Yes again.

Task Manager Disabled Registry Warning

Once the registry entries are added, you will find following message displayed on your screen.

Enabled Task Manager in Windows 8

Restart your computer and check whether Windows Task manager is enabled on your computer.

Method 2: Enable Task Manager from Command Line:

We can enable task manager by running commands in Command Prompt. To do this, first you need to open Command Prompt on your computer. In Windows 8.1,  you can open Command Prompt from Quick Access Menu or Power Users menu. To access this menu in Windows 8 or 8.1, press the Win+X keys on the keyboard or right click on the Start button.

Windows Key and X to launch RUN window

From the Quick Access Menu or Power Users menu, select Command Prompt (Admin).

Open Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 8

You will receive a UAC prompt as shown below, click on Yes.

User Account Control for Windows Command Processor

Now the elevated Command Prompt (Administrator: Command Prompt) will be open in your computer.

Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 8

Now enter following command and press Enter key on keyboard (simply copy paste). Remember, this is a single line command, so you need to copy the complete command.

REG add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableTaskMgr /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Enable Task Manager in CMD

Note: If you receive access denied error, then you need to open command prompt again in Administrator mode.

Method 3:  From Group Policy Editor:

Another way to enable Task Manager is by using Group Policy Editor. This method will work if the task manager was disabled because of some group policy settings. So I would recommend you to use Group Policy Editor and confirm that task manager is not disabled.  You can open Group policy editor by the Run window. Press Windows Key and R to open the Run menu.

Open Run in Windows

Now type gpedit.msc and press Enter key or click on OK button at the Run window as shown below.

Open Group Policy Editor in Windows 8

Now the Group policy editor will be open. You will find lots of options over there. Now you need to click on User Configuration -> Administrative Templates. Please refer below provided screenshot to understand better.

Administrative Templates in Local Group Policy Editor in Windows

Under Administrative Templates, you will find System. Under System you will find Ctrl+Alt+Delete Options. Please refer below provided screenshot if you are stuck.

Ctrl Alt Options in Local Group Policy Editor

When you look at the right pane of the Group Policy Editor, you will find an option called “Remove Task Manager”. Please double click on it.

Remove Task Manager Option in GPEDIT

Once the Remove Task Manager properties window is open, please select the option Disabled, click the Apply and OK button.

Disable Remove Task Manager Option in Group Policy Editor

Now you can close Group Policy Editor and restart your computer.

Method 4: From Registry Editor:

If none of the above said methods works for you, then you can try this method. In this method, we will open Registry Editor on your Windows and will edit the registry entry to manually enable Task Manager on your Windows. If you have not tried above said methods then I would strongly recommend you to try above said methods first before you try this.

You have to be very careful when you edit the Windows registry, If you make any mistake while editing the entries, it may make your windows to crash. I strongly recommend you to take backup of Windows registry before you edit the entries.

Note: if you want to know how to take the backup of windows registry, Click here.

Let us go ahead and open Registry Editor on Windows. We can use Run window to launch Registry Editor. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run in Windows.

Open Run in Windows

Now type regedit and press Enter key or click on OK button to open Registry Editor in Windows.

Open Regedit from Run Menu

Now Windows Registry Editor will be open on screen. Double click on KHEY_CURRENT_USER  to expand it. Now you will find an entry “Software” listed over there. Please click on “Software” as shown below. Please use the screenshots and check whether you are doing it right.

Khey_Current_User in Windows Registry

Under Software, you need to click on the entry “Microsoft”.

Software tab under Khey Local User in Registry

Under Microsoft, now you need to select “Windows”.

Windows Registry Key under Software

Under Windows, Please select “CurrentVersion” as shown below.

Current Version under Windows in Registry

Under Current Version, you will find the entry “Policies”. Under Polices, click on the entry “System” as shown below.

Policies system entry in Regedit

On right pane of registry editor, you will find the entry DisableTaskMgr. This entry needs to be deleted. To delete, right click on it and select Delete.

Delete DisableTaskMgr key from Registry

You would receive a prompt asking to confirm the registry value deletion. Please click Yes to proceed.

Confirm Value Delete in Windows 8 registry Editor

Once you have delete the entry DisableTaskMgr, you can go ahead and restart your Windows 8, 8.1 or Windows 7 computer for the changes to take effect. If you have done everything right, the issue should be solved by now.

Method 5: Use Tools to Restore Task Manager:

If you find above said methods are hard to follow, then you can try using some of the tools provided below. These tools will work with Windows XP, Vista and 7 and may also work with Windows 8. Personally I have not tried these tools but you can give it a try.

1. Task Manager Fix: Click this link to download Task Manager Fix.

2. Disk Heal: click this link to download Disk Heal.

3. Re-Enable 2: Click this link to download Re-Enable

As I said earlier, I have not used these tools mentioned in Method 5 but many people reported that these tools fixed their issue with Task Manager. So there is no harm in trying these tools. Please let me know whether this article was helpful to you. Do you have any feedback about this article, please let me know by leaving a comment.

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Founder and Owner of Tricks Guide. SiRu is a Server Support Specialist, Tech Blogger and a Typical Family Man. If you’d like to connect with him, follow him on Twitter | Facebook | Google+

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