The creator of the Windows Task Manager has published a great list of tips and tricks for using the tool

David Plummer, the Microsoft engineer who created the Windows Task Manager that first appeared in Windows NT 4.0, suddenly went to Reddit and wrote a whole thread of tips, tricks, and trivia about this iconic tool.

Plummer, who is now retired and left the company a long time ago, also wrote and portrayed Space Cadet Pinball, worked with zip folders, start menu, shell, calculator, product activation and several other things. Today he continues to write code, but mostly on his YouTube channel as another of his hobbies. It is very interesting to follow it because it brings many anecdotes and depth.

"There is nothing that Task Manager cannot kill"

Windows 10 Task Manager Tricks

The programmer tells that wrote TaskMgr at home around 1994Although he was a rookie at the time, the senior developers let him include the project in the main development branch, so he was able to polish it at work to make it an official part of Windows.

The Task Manager remains an essential part of Windows to this day. He notes that most of his advice is based on XP since he left the company several years ago, but it is still the same base app so most of them apply even in the most recent versions of Windows:

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  • If the Task Manager ever hangs or stops working, you can start another one by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. "Winlogon will search for an existing instance and try to revive it for up to 10 seconds. If that Taskmgr doesn't start to make sense by responding to the secret code in that time, another will be launched. That way you're never without a Taskmgr as long as there are some resources available."

  • Task Manager will load in reduced mode if resources are low- For example, it will load only the processes tab if it is what it needs to boot. "It's one of the few apps that doesn't 'crash and go' when things go wrong."

  • If Task Manager gets corrupted internally, kill or close it: Restart it by pressing and holding CTRL + ALT + SHIFT and the Task Manager will reset all its internal settings to factory settings if it detects that key combination at startup.

  • If all the title bars disappear and you only see one graph, double click on the client dead space to switch to normal mode.

  • CTRL + SHIFT + ESC will launch Task Manager without any help from the Shell. So if the Shell or Explorer is dead, you can use this key combination to start Taskmgr and restart the shell. Even if your taskbar has disappeared, this combination should work.

  • If the shell can't start something or hangs, try Task Manager- This has a mode where it will load without any reference to shell32.dll and will allow programs like CMD.EXE to be started without the start menu.

  • You can find the binary to run any process in the processes tab: just right click and select "Open file location".

  • There should be nothing that Task Manager cannot kill: will escalate privileges (if you have them) and enable debug privileges to attach and kill applications if necessary. "If Task Manager can't kill it, you have a kernel problem." Here Plummer notes that after Windows XP some intentional limits were added to what Task Manager can kill to prevent the user from killing essential Windows components and self-infringing a blue screen.

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