Fix Can’t Open Task Manager

If you can’t open Windows Task Manager or if it closes immediately after you open it, then you have or may have a spyware infection. The recent strand of spyware programs are very ruthless; once installed the spyware will disable your anti-virus program, disable your firewall, prevent you from running or accessing any files, and prevent you from running Windows Task Manager. In particular, these symptoms are common characteristics of a fake anti-spyware program. The fake anti-spyware program uses these scare tactics to force you into paying for a full license in order to fix the infections it has caused. By disabling the task manager, the fake anti-spyware program hopes to prevent you from killing its associated process. However, there is simple solution to get around the task manager being closed by the spyware infection. By simply making a copy of the Windows Task Manager program file (taskmgr.exe) and renaming it to iexplore.exe will trick the spyware program in letting you bring up the task manager. All the fake anti-spyware programs I encountered want you to access the Internet via Internet Explorer (iexplore.exe) so that they can send you to other malicious websites. The following details the necessary steps needed to implement this trick:

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Step 1
Open up C:\WINDOWS\System32 and look for the file named taskmgr.

Step 2
Make a copy of taskmgr by first clicking on it to highlight it and then press CTRL + C and then CTRL + V. Once this is down you will have a new file named taskmgr - Copy.

Step 3
Rename taskmgr - Copy to iexplore by right-clicking on it and choosing “Rename.”

Step 4
Double-click on the iexplore file and the task manager will run without being shutdown.

With the ability to kill processes, you can now kill the associated spyware file and begin either manual or automatic spyware removal. I highly recommend automatic spyware removal because it is quick and safe. Do not wait for your computer to be compromised, download a spyware removal program today and scan your computer!

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44 comments to Fix Can’t Open Task Manager

  • Jeremy

    renaming the file to “iexplore.exe did not work for me, so i tried renaming it to “explorer.exe” and it worked. maybe that was a typo, Hope this helps anyone :)

  • Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the tip. Guess some of the newer spyware programs are getting smarter and even prevent iexplore from running.

    ~ Wendy (^.^)

  • Erin

    This is good to know, but I have the Security Tool virus and it blocks EVERYTHING. It won’t let me reboot in Safe Mode or install any antivirus software. I have no idea what to do. When I rename the file as explorer or iexplore, it just blocks those, too.

  • Did you put the renamed file into C:\Windows\System32?

  • Jill

    Here’s how I solved my problem:

    The above solution(s) did not work because I could not download anything and I could not re-name the Taskmanager.

    So, I entered “Safe Mode” and deleted the files myself. Restart your computer and as soon as it starts up press F8. It differs on what key you’re supposed to press but as far as I know is it F8 for a majority of people.

    Enter safe mode and then you’ll be able to just manually delete the files in the installed folder. Before, out of safe mode, we weren’t able to delete the folder the virus was in. Now you can delete the file and it is gone.

    Do a scan afterwards.


  • Rosy

    I have the Security Tool virus as well and it won’t let me do anything on my computer except maybe go online. I tried changing the taskmanager name to explorer.exe and it doesn’t work. This is ridiculous.

  • jkhkhj

    Be sure to follow instructions and type “iexplore”.

    Worked for me, thank you. :)

  • Grimble40

    This info for opening the task manager was totally invaluble, worked for me, was at the point where i could rip my hair out! I couldn’t open any anti-virus software or access command prompt etc.

    Thanks, saved my bacon.

  • Rachel

    Unbelievable. Vicious. Damned. Little. Bug. Took me two hours to get anywhere with it. (The biggest computer repair place in town said I’d have to bring it in and get the hard drive erased.) I had to reset my LAN settings for every page I surfed until I hit your instructions on how to open the task manager. Not out of the woods yet but right now there are no more boobs or pop-ups about “infections”. You RULE!


  • Wally

    The reason you need to rename Task Manager is that you need to give it the name of a file that the spyware will allow to run. The spyware knows it must allow iexplore.exe to run in order to steal your information, so it allows a renamed Task Manager to run, not realizing that it is allowing you to kill it.

  • I tried everyones suggestions and tried to follow the removel methods to no avail. I finally had to purchase the antivirus software, although I had to work around my infected computer to get it to work. Fortunately, I have another computer. I had to download FireFox to a disc and then open it in my infected computer. Once I did that everything went was eventually fix. I’m upset that they got me to buy their product, but at least I have my computer back. Lots of luck getting this virius.


  • Greg

    Tried to copy the taskmgr file using the control keys, but it didn’t work for me. Used the right click copy and pasted it to the desktop. I then renamed it to iexplore and it worked like a champ. Thanks for the tutorial.

  • many

    wat foulders am i suppose 2 deleat

  • Twan


  • yo im 15 and i dont understand any of this stuff :-( !! can someone please explain it to me step by step? i will really appriciate it.

  • Tim

    I have Antivirus Live on my computer (damnit). I went tried everything on but nothing worked. The (random)sysguard.exe process doesn’t exist (or it doesn’t show in my task manager), I went into safemode and deleted the registries that it says (some of them weren’t there, though, so deleted the ones that were), then I rebooted back into normal mode and it didn’t do anything, and I can’t find the damn files to delete — that’s the biggest thing. Can anybody help me, please? Tell me how to find the files/folders!

  • Tim

    Nevermind. I had opened symantec antivirus as soon as I booted up the comp so it was open before the fake antivirus was able to block it. I did a scan and it told me where it was. I was able to delete the file and folder via the command prompt (I didn’t even try conventional means), I didn’t even have to kill the process(es). It just went away as soon as I deleted it.

  • hank

    easy fix for any system. just reload your windows install cd. brand new again. hope your files were backed up.

  • Hi,

    Thank u So much the iexplore.exe worked AM very Happy……. THANK U SOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH THANK UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

  • mike

    that worked great thank you so much i renamed taskmng to iexplore and it did it thanks again

  • jason

    I tried the copy and rename option, but somehow it knows the file name iexplore is actually the task manager because it pops up a message saying “Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator”.
    I also tried starting up my PC in safe mode, but I get the blue windows error screen saying my PC is shutting down. HELP!!

  • @jason: Try the following:

    Stop the process by downloading Process Explorer and ending the process. It has been renamed to in order to trick Antivirus Live to let it work. You can learn more about Process Explorer here.

  • todd

    I tried the copy and rename option, but it doesn’t let me rename it, a message pops up saying “Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator”.
    I cannot open internet explorer either, so i can’t even purchase spyware doctor to remove it that way.

    @Todd: Have you tried booting into safe mode?

  • camelia

    i tried d/l Process Explorer and it won’t let me run it!

    @Camelia: Try this – Stop the process by downloading Process Explorer and ending the process. It has been renamed to in order to trick the spyware to let it work. You can learn more about Process Explorer here.

  • robert

    wtf i still cant get it off nor even attempt to remove it
    it has totally block me from getting in my computer files i cant copy then change i cant download and i need some major help can anyone please give advice.

    @Robert: Try booting into Windows Safe Mode with Networking and then running a spyware scan.

  • EJ

    I have windows Vista on my computer. I have tried to change the taskmgr – Copy to iexplore, and I have tried to rename taskmgr to explore, nether one will open up the task manager menu. Is there a problem with Vista that this will not work?

  • RYAN

    BLAH BLAH BLAH, it might work to rename taskmanager, however if you just restart your computer and press controll-alt-delete ASAP and if your quick you can just shutdown the process before it completely grasps control of the system, I know the name of every process my computer runs so it was easy for me to spot the bad process, i wouldn’t try this if you don’t know what processes your comp is running normally, however if you think your as quick as me… go for it, ctrl-alt-delete click click boom. and then you can go into your remove programs and take care of business, and maybe delete a couple registries, i dont know the recipe, however if your virus is named “Antivirus Soft” you had what i had so good luck, its a doozey…

  • Graham

    Major help please! Got this Vista Guardian kak on my laptop, have tried to kill it using a registry process killer, but now the PC will not boot up either normally or in safe mode. I have even put the hard drive into another computer as a slave drive and tried to remove the virus with SpyDoctor, but its no different when fitted back into the laptop. Please could somebody help and let me know what I need to do. I would prefer not to reinstall the OS as I then would have to reinstall all the program files too, it would simply take too long!

  • josh

    thank god for this, that bastard ass bug kept me up last night…..well its pretty screwed now!!!

  • deepak

    thank you very much now i can open the task manager, thanks allot

  • fighter2

    Thank you so much for the tip. Worked perfectly!

  • gary

    what is the name of the process in task manager that needs to be ended

  • someone

    Omg thank you this helped a lot but then.. i still can’t use ctrl + alt + del ]:

  • Charles

    Peter you are a godsend. thank you.

  • You are welcome Charles! Please share our site with your friends!

  • Denise

    That spyware vendor just took over my computer :( Just when I thought I’d have to spend the day with the Geeks, you came to my rescue. This worked like magic. And it was easy enough for even ME to follow. Thank you a million times!!!

  • jayson

    Hi sir! Ihave windows xp on my computer. I have tried to change the taskmgr – Copy to iexplore, and I have tried to rename taskmgr to explore, nether one will open up the task manager menu. I can’t open the regedit too. There is an error message saying “Registry editing has been disabled by your administrator” I also can’t run in a safe mode. Please help me.

  • Bob

    Idk, but this worked for me. If your task manager is disabled, follow these instructions. I tried before by renaming and such but it didn’t work.

    hope it helps =]

  • JoJo

    Jayson, I’m having the same problem with the task manager being disabled. Also all my icons on my desk top is gone and I when I go to my start menu, then all programs it says it’s empty. The only place I’ve seen the task manager run is if i log in as administrator but then again the programs aren’t in the start menue.

  • craig

    i tried all the things you people said i can not open any internet it will let me open add/remove programs but there is no virus in there it only lets me open things in my computer?? constantly pops up about a windows blaster virus and shows a malware protection pop up which says is windows but can easily tell its fake by the look of it any help?

  • tj

    How do u know what processes to delete?!?!?

  • girish

    This saved a lot of time. I had spent so much of time looking for the solution and never thought this was so easy.I’m relieved. Thank you for sharing this.

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