When I press Ctrl-Alt-Delete I can only open the Task Manager for the local PC.

Is there some simple way to open the Task Manager on the remote PC while running Remote Desktop from one Windows XP machine to another?

10 Answers 10


Right-click the taskbar and click Task Manager. CTRL+Shift+Esc will serve the purpose if its not allowing to click anywhere.

  • 1
    Interesting, didn't know XP had that.
    – RCIX
    Jul 20, 2009 at 22:51
  • 2
    I can't tell you how many times I use that in a day! :-)
    – JFV
    Jul 20, 2009 at 22:56
  • 6
    Ctrl + Shift + Escape works too, I think Ctrl + Alt + Delete gives you back control over your own computer doesn't it?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 21, 2009 at 7:28
  • How about in an RDP connection to a Mac PC?
    – S. Mayol
    Jun 28, 2016 at 20:54
  • 2
    In my case (Windows 7 local, Windows Server 2012 remote), Ctrl+Shift+Esc was handled by the local system and not the remote one. pelms' answer however, Ctrl+Alt+End, worked just fine.
    – nephtes
    Oct 12, 2016 at 15:42

Press Ctrl+Alt+End, then press t

  • ??? on what platform is that? Doesn't work on my XP...
    – fretje
    Aug 6, 2009 at 14:35
  • Opps, Ctrl+Alt+End brings up the 'Window Security' dialog, added 't' for the Task Manager button.
    – pelms
    Aug 6, 2009 at 15:17
  • +1 In my case, the remote machine was running a program which prohibited use of the taskbar and start menu. I was able to use this to kill that process.
    – p.s.w.g
    Mar 24, 2014 at 13:22
  • 1
    Nice trick to use after click "Exit Explorer".
    – Ivan Chau
    Aug 14, 2017 at 9:07
  • This one just saved my bacon. Explorer was shut down from an installation, and restarting explorer.exe wasn't working. I was able to remotely log out and log back in to get the shell back.
    – xofz
    Aug 1, 2018 at 20:00

Or click Start → Run, then type taskmgr.

  • 3
    I will have to remember. I incorrectly tried taskman... taskmgr taskmgr taskmgr :)
    – Sun
    Oct 9, 2014 at 18:08

If Jonas may have been meaning he had a windowed remote desktop session, and he wondered what keyboard shortcut would open Task Manager on that remote, there is a shortcut for that (not mentioned yet in other answers here):


Since he mentioned using ctrlaltdel, it seems most focused on showing how to do THAT against in the remote (windowed or not), or how to open task manager other ways in the remote. Those are not wrong answers, but if Jonas (or other readers finding this post) wondered if there was such a keyboard shortcut for a windowed RDP session, hope this helps.

I have a blog post with still more such shortcuts for a "windowed" remote desktop: Helpful keyboard shortcuts for working with "windowed" Remote Desktop: switching windows, more


You can set the Windows key combinations to go to the remote computer and use Ctrl-Shift-Esc to launch the Task Manager.

In the remote desktop connection options for Local Resources you have the option of where to apply Windows key combinations (On the local computer, On the remote computer, or only in full screen mode).

  • 2
    Ctrl+Shift+Esc works for me like that by default...
    – KovBal
    Jul 28, 2009 at 12:19
  • 1
    Ctrl+Shift+Esc will work in full screen but if running in a window it will open the client PC's task manager
    – pelms
    Aug 6, 2009 at 15:21

If you just needed to enumerate processes on remote PC, you do not need to establish RDP session.

Take a look at Remote Process Manager http://admintoyssuite.com/l/remote-task-manager--view-and-kill-processes-and-applications-on-network-desktop-computers/

I found this way more flexible than to disturb currently logged on user with RDP connection prompt. Remote Process Manager connects on-the-fly and do not show any question boxes to remote users..

  • David, could you please disclose your affiliation with the product according to the FAQ? Excessive self-promoting is not welcome here.
    – slhck
    Nov 27, 2012 at 14:45

AltCtrlEsc will work on Remote Desktop.

  • I had a solid white screen but was successfully connected via RDP. This answer made my normal desktop appear. Kudos. Note: further testing reveals that Ctrl+Alt+Esc acts basically like a remote Alt+F4 (close window).
    – semtex41
    Jul 21, 2017 at 3:13
  • This does not work if you have a remote desktop inside a remote desktop. It only launches the task manager of the 1st remote.
    – Andreas
    Jan 10, 2022 at 13:44

Ctrl+Shift+Esc doesn't work in windowed (non-full screen) mode. Host Task Manager will be invoked.

Ctrl+Alt+End doesn't work in nested RDP session. Menu for outer RDP session will be displayed.

If you need to start Task Manager to rescue your server in nested session / windowed mode - just switch to full screen mode temporary with Ctrl+Alt+Break where you can use Ctrl+Shift+Esc. This key combination will be send to the most nested RDP session in full screen mode.

Other cool tips: https://blog.codinghorror.com/remote-desktop-tips-and-tricks/


In nested remote desktop sessions the shortcut CTRL+ALT+Home brings up the taskmanager of the 1st remote Windows.

To invoke the taskmanager of the 2nd remote Windows I use the On-Screen Keyboard of the 1st remote Windows.


You have to use CtrlF3.

The details are on my blog: How to Open the Task Manager on Remote Computer or Desktop

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