Task Manager Not Responding: How to Fix It In 10 Steps?

Fix & Repair Solved issue

Question asked by:

Chris T.

Issue:

Task Manager is not responding

Hi guys, my task manager is not responding. Do you have any tips or solutions to get it fixed?
I want to end some processes but I cannot even access the task manger to do it LOL...
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Picture this: you’re working on your Windows PC when suddenly an application freezes. Naturally, you press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager and end the unresponsive program, but to your dismay, Task Manager1 itself is not responding. This can be a frustrating experience, especially since Task Manager is often the go-to solution for dealing with software hiccups. 

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This guide will walk you through various solutions to get your Task Manager up and running again.

Understanding the Problem

Before diving into solutions, let’s understand what might cause the Task Manager to stop working. Common culprits include:

  • Malware2 infections
  • Corrupted system files
  • Messed up registry settings
  • Task Manager is disabled by group policy settings. 

Identifying the root cause is crucial for applying the right fix.

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Task Manager Not Responding in Windows

1st & Initial Troubleshooting Step

Often, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Start by restarting your PC, I know, it sounds very cliche.
But a reboot can clear out temporary glitches and might be all you need to resolve the issue. 

If the Task Manager is still not responding after a restart, it’s time to try some more targeted approaches.

NOTE: if your PC is not restarting — we have a fix guide for this problem too!

3 Easy Solutions to Fix Task Manager
Not Responding in Windows

Let’s begin by applying the easiest steps first. In most cases, it helps to get the problem solved!

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Solution 1: Check for Malware

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Run a Malware Scan

Malware often consumes CPU and memory resources, making it difficult for legitimate system processes, like Task Manager, to function correctly. By removing malware, you can free up system resources, allowing Task Manager to work without hindrance.

  • Run a full system scan using your antivirus software to ensure your system is free from malware or viruses.
  • Quarantine or remove any threats that are detected.

Solution 2: Update Windows

Microsoft regularly releases updates and patches to address known issues and improve the performance of Windows. These updates often include fixes for problems that may affect the proper functioning of system tools like Task Manager.

  • Go to “Settings” > “Update & Security.”
Choose Update & Security
  • Click on “Check for updates” and install any pending updates.
Click Check for Updates

Solution 3: End Task Manager Process

When Task Manager becomes unresponsive or hangs, it may be due to a temporary glitch or issue with its underlying processes. Manually ending the Task Manager process effectively forces it to restart, which can clear any temporary problems.

  • If Task Manager is not responding, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open it.
Click Ctrl Shift Esc
  • Right-click on the “Task Manager” icon in the taskbar, and select “End Task.”
Right Click then End Task

7 Advanced & Tech-savvy Solutions to Fix Faulty Task Manager

The below given solutions are for more advanced Windows users, but feel free to try and use them if you’re a beginner as well and if the previous 3 easy solutions didn’t work out for you.

Adv. Solution 1: Run SFC Scan To Fix Corrupt Files

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Task Manager relies on several system files and components to function correctly. If any of these dependencies are corrupted, it can cause Task Manager to become unresponsive. SFC can help ensure that these dependencies are in proper working order.

  • Press ‘Windows + X’ and select “Windows Terminal (Admin)” or “Command Prompt (Admin).”
Run Command Prompt as Admin
  • Type sfc /scannow and press ‘Enter’.
Type sfc scannow
  • Wait for the scan to complete, and follow any prompts to repair system files if necessary.

Adv. Solution 2: Check for Disk Errors

Disk errors can slow down read and write operations, causing delays and unresponsiveness in various system components, including Task Manager. Resolving these errors can lead to better overall disk performance, which can positively impact the responsiveness of Task Manager.

  • Open “Command Prompt” as an administrator.
Type CMD then run as administrator
  • Type chkdsk /f /r and press ‘Enter’.
Type chkdsk f r
  • Allow the tool to scan and repair disk errors on the next system restart.

Adv. Solution 3: Perform a Clean Boot

Task Manager unresponsiveness can sometimes be caused by conflicts between third-party software or services running on your computer. A Clean Boot helps identify these conflicts by disabling non-essential startup items and services.

  • Press ‘Windows + R’, type “msconfig”, and press ‘Enter’.
Type msconfig
  • In the “System Configuration” window, go to the “Services” tab.
  • Check “Hide all Microsoft services” and click “Disable all.”
Check Hide all Microsoft services
  • Go to the “Startup” tab and click “Open Task Manager.”
  • Disable startup items one by one and restart your computer until you find the culprit.
Go to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager

Adv. Solution 4: Update or Roll Back Graphics Drivers

If you suspect that problems with Task Manager are related to graphics issues, it’s a good idea to check for graphics driver updates or try rolling back to a previous driver version to see if it resolves the problem.

  • Right-click on the “Start” button and select “Device Manager.”
Right-click Start button and select Device Manager
  • Expand the “Display adapters” section, right-click on your graphics card, and choose “Update driver” or “Roll back driver” if available.
Click Update Driver under Display adapters

Adv. Solution 5: Create a New User Profile

When you create a new user account, it starts with default settings and configurations. This “clean slate” can help identify whether the problem was caused by changes or customizations made to your previous user profile.

  • Go to “Settings” > “Accounts” > “Family & other users”.
Family & other users
  • Under “Other users”, click “Add someone else to this PC”.
  • Follow the prompts to create a new user profile.
Add someone else to this PC
  • Log in with the new user account and check if Task Manager works correctly.

Adv. Solution 6: Repair Damaged/Corrupted System Files

Damaged or corrupted system files can lead to system instability and software malfunctions. Repairing these files ensures that the fundamental components of your operating system are functioning correctly.

  • Press the ‘Windows key’, type “Command Prompt,” right-click on it in the search results, and choose “Run as administrator”.
Type CMD then run as administrator

If the System File Checker (SFC) mentioned earlier found errors or couldn’t repair some files, you can use the Deployment Imaging Service and Management Tool (DISM) to further check and repair your system.

In the same Command Prompt window, enter these three commands one by one, pressing ‘Enter’ after each:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Type DISM

These commands will help identify and fix any issues related to system file corruption. Once you’ve completed these steps, restart your computer to see if Task Manager is working properly.

Adv. Solution 7: Reinstall Windows (as a Last Resort):

  • Back up your important files to an external drive.
Backup files to an external drive
  • Go to “Settings” > “Update & Security” > “Recovery”.
  • Under “Reset this PC,” click “Get started” and choose “Remove everything”.
Reset this PC
Choose Remove everything
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall Windows.

Final Words

By systematically applying these troubleshooting methods, users can effectively diagnose and resolve Task Manager issues, ensuring that this essential system tool operates smoothly and reliably.
We hope that out given solutions helped you and now everything works as it should!

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If your Task Manager errors are still not fixed — feel free to reach out to us via email and share your problem.

  1. What is Task Manager? — via PCMag.com []
  2. Malware explained — via Wikipedia []
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About the author
Jack Palentino - Expert Author, QA

Jack works at WindowsGuided.com from the beginning. He’s been a colleague with the owner Iggy & who consulted people with their PC issues for years.

He fixed and custom-developed various Windows apps. And now Jack is overlooking the QA processes on WindowsGuided and writes expert guides on various PC error fixes.