what should be in my task box?

when I hit control alt delete a box jumps up....what should be in that box? I see an awful lot of stuff in there and I know in the past someone said you really only needed about five items in there......
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There are really no such a thing as what should or should not be in the task box.  It all depends on what is running at the time you hit ctrl-alt-del .  If your pc is running a lots of apps simultaneously, there will be a lot of items in that box.  Nothing is wrong as long as your pc can handle all of them.  My box now has 20 entries in it.
the only things you NEED are systray and explorer.  And that's all that's.."required".

 What the ctrl+alt+del window displays is the processes running on your computer. You may be seeing a lot of processes running if you have a lot of services running in your computer (such as printer service, Antivirus Service etc.). Also other applications that you might have knowingly or unknowingly configured for execution on StartUp. Also other applications you execute will be displayed. Also one exe can spawn more than one process (like the VC++ spawing the Debugger process). So there can be a lot of processes running.

If you do not want a lot of running processes and you know what you are doing and want it then you can stop the Services thereby reducing the number of processes.

Go to Control Panel->Services-> Stop
all the services. But this can have unpredictable impact if any of you app is using that service. Better do not do it.

Regarding what should be running.
Good question.
BudVVeezer told Explorer and Systray. Even Systray can be removed (not a good practise though), but the System tray at the bottom (that displays the clock ) will disappear. Explorer is the heart of the Windows OS and the system becomes unstable without it, so better leave it.

All the best
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