At work, I have a Windows XP computer (running SP2). When I use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+ALT+DEL, Task Manager does not open. Instead the login box appears. On my home PC, which is also XP with SP2, when I use CTRL+ALT+DEL, Task Manager opens.
I can't figure out how to have Task Manager open using the shortcut key. Is there a setting in XP to enable this?
This can be confusing to many XP users and there is a simple explanation to why it occurs.
First, as long as you have verified your PC is not infected with a virus or spyware, the most likely cause is with a setting that controls the Windows XP Welcome screen.
The Welcome Screen is the simple login screen that shows your user icon during login. You just click your username and enter your password to login.
When XP is set to use the Welcome screen and you press CTRL+ALT+DEL, Task Manager will open.
If the setting is disabled (not checked) and you press CTRL+ALT+DEL, Task Manager does not open. Instead you will see the Windows Classic login prompt (more secure method for logging on). This setting is used mostly by companies where your work PC is joined to a Windows domain.
To change the setting so CTRL+ALT+DEL keyboard shortcut opens Task Manager, click on Start \ Settings \Control Panel, then once Control Panel opens, click on User Accounts icon.
Under Pick a task… section, click the Change the way users log on or off link.
Then click the check box next to Use the Welcome screen, followed by clicking the Apply Options button to enable the setting.
Now when you press CTRL+ALT+DEL, Task Manager will open.
Note, that your Company may not allow you to change this option and prefer that the secure login screen is used instead. For a home PC, this method is more convenient to use when opening Task Manger.
If you cannot use the Welcome screen, and still want to open Task Manager using your keyboard, just press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC. This will also work on Vista Computers.