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I want to open the built-in task manager with Process Explorer's Replace Task Manager option checked. I've tried:

  • Running taskmgr.exe from the run dialog. PE was opened instead.

  • Creating a copy of taskmgr.exe in the same folder. Then run it. The built-in task manager was opened, but not working properly(its window was blank).

  • Creating a symbolic link (using mklink) of taskmgr.exe in the same folder. Then run it. PE was opened instead.

Is there any other method I can try? Thanks.

  • Process Hacker offers the ability to Start Task Manager in the Tools menu. If that would be OK with you, you might want to look for the same feature in PE. – JC2k8 Oct 25 '13 at 11:30
36

There are two problems here:

  • The way that Process Explorer takes over from Task Manager is by adding a registry value:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\taskmgr.exe\Debugger

This means whenever you start an executable named 'taskmgr.exe', start whatever is specified in this value instead. So moving task manager to a different directory does not work.

  • Renaming taskmgr.exe to something else seems to break something within Task Manager. That why you see an empty window. That's a rather odd behavior, normally it is no problem to rename an executable.

    The renamed task manager behaves rather odd. Even if started from a medium integrity level, it automatically runs in high integrity level and it can not be killed even with local system privileges.

So for now, I don't see a way to have Process Explorer as default task manager and be able to run task manager at the same time.

The workaround is not too bad:

In Process Explorer, untick 'Options - Replace Task Manager', then run 'taskmgr.exe' and tick 'Options - Replace Task Manager' again.

Alternatively you can create a batch-file that removes that registry setting, starts task manager and puts the setting back in:

 reg.exe delete "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\taskmgr.exe" /v Debugger /f
 start taskmgr.exe
 reg.exe add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\taskmgr.exe" /v Debugger /t REG_SZ /d "C:\PATHTO\PROCEXP.EXE" /f

The only problem with this batch is that you need to run it as an elevated administrator, so when creating a shortcut for it, specify to run it as an administrator. As a normal user you cannot change those registry settings.

  • 2
    Unticking the option is exactly what I don't want to do. Creating a batch is better, I'll try it. – Inglis Baderson Oct 25 '13 at 10:56
-1

RUnning Taskmanager from Run

Click the Start button then the All Programs folder. Under the Accessories folder click the Run command. You can also press they Windows Key + R on your keyboard or enable the Run command in your Start Menu. Finally, simply type “taskmgr” and hit Enter.

Running Taskmanager from shortcut Or you may create a shortcut. Right-click on your desktop and choose New then click Shortcut. A new window will pop up. Browse to the same path as above, C:\Windows\System32. Scroll down until you see taskmgr.exe, highlight it, and then click OK. Click Next, type a name for your shortcut, and finally click Finish

  • Do you mean "uncheck the 'Replace Task Manager' option"? – Inglis Baderson Oct 17 '13 at 5:02
  • yes. Try unchecking it. – Unnikrishnan Oct 17 '13 at 5:05
  • But my goal is to not uncheck that option, because I use PE most times. – Inglis Baderson Oct 17 '13 at 5:11
  • Oh..sorry.. Click the Start button then the All Programs folder. Under the Accessories folder click the Run command. You can also press they Windows Key + R on your keyboard or enable the Run command in your Start Menu. Finally, simply type “taskmgr” and hit Enter. – Unnikrishnan Oct 17 '13 at 5:21
  • 1
    They opened Process Explorer. Typing taskmgr in the run dialog and creating a shortcut of taskmgr.exe, both of them opened Process Explorer. – Inglis Baderson Oct 17 '13 at 6:00

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