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taskmgr.exe Will Not Open.. Unless I do a Run As Administrator...

Posted on 2008-10-01
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Last Modified: 2008-10-31
I have a few computers that are running XP SP3 that will not allow the Task Manager to open.  I have done a lot of Google Searches on this issue, and a lot of people start talking about how you probably have Spyware or a Trojan or some type of Virus.  One of these PC's I can almost guarantee does not have anything malicious on it as its still a fresh install.

So then I tried opening taskmgr.exe from System32 and no dice, however if I do a Run As using Administrator it opens right up.  The user accounts have local Administrator rights, and this is happening on my own PC as well, and I have Local and Network Admin rights.

I also tried to add myself in the security tab under properties for taskmgr.exe, that did not work either.
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Question by:tbjbs
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by:DewFreak
ID: 22615060
This sounds like a policy restriction which can be set by malware.  Do you have a domain with domain policy in place?
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by:tbjbs
ID: 22615084
I do not believe we have a Domain Policy in place for this.  This all seemed to have started once we put SP3 on peoples systems.
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by:DewFreak
ID: 22615231
Step through these steps and verify that it is not disabled in the local policy:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555480
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by:tbjbs
ID: 22615362
I just followed the steps outlined in that KB Article.  Section 1, everything looked normal, I did the refresh anyway.  Still can not access taskmgr.exe without doing the Run As.  

I went to Section 2, and I dont have this those Keys.. Infact, I did a search in the registry for DisableTaskMgr and I got no hits.  
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by:DewFreak
ID: 22615441
Does the local user have admin rights to the local machine?
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by:tbjbs
ID: 22615656
Yes everyone has local Admin Rights.
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by:DewFreak
ID: 22619493
I think we need to do a virus/malware scan at this point even tho you are positive you are not infected with anything.  It needs to be ruled out because if it is not a domain policy and more than one PC is doing it than it is likely a virus/trojan/malware.
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by:tbjbs
ID: 22619511
Alright I will do that.  One PC is a fresh install.... but it has been in use for about 2 weeks or so.
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by:tbjbs
ID: 22627521
I got Task Manager to come up.  I really thought it was a DEP issue all this time.  Even though I made the exception within DEP, it still would not open up.

If I disable DEP totally within Windows XP, it fixes the Task Manager issue, and it comes right up.
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