How to Get Back Windows 7 Task Manager in Windows 8

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The Task Manager in Windows 8 got a complete redesign when compared to the Windows 7 one. These changes were huge and included some major improvements in terms of advanced features. You can have a look at complete guide to Windows 8 Task Manager to see what has changed.

task manager windows 8

However, I missed the Windows 7 Task Manager. Some of you might say that I was having a hard time dealing with the changes like the average Windows user and that may well be true. But I feel that Windows 7 Task manager is much more user friendly when compared to its successor. Take End Process Tree option for an example. In the Windows 7 version, we could use it to force kill an application along with all the related processes. In the new one though, all I can do is end the task.

So the question of the day boils down to this – how to get our good old Windows 7 task manager back?

How to Get Back Windows 7 Task Manager

Step 1: Download this archive file on your computer and extract the folder named TM in C:\ root assuming that you have installed Windows in that drive. This archive contains one-click registry integration files and the Task Manager file from Windows 8 Boot.wim files.

install windows 7

Step 2: After you have extracted the file, simply run the installation registry file corresponding to your system architecture. If you are not sure about your Windows architecture, open Computer and click on the button System properties in the menu ribbon.

system properties

In System properties, look for System type. Here you can see whether its x64 or x86.

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system type

The file will replace the Windows 8 Task Manager instantly and you won’t even have to reboot your system to see the changes. After applying the fix, right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager to see Windows 7 Task Manager.

window 7 task manager

Note: Don’t delete the TM folder as long as you are using the Windows 7 Task Manager.

How it Works

Honestly, I don’t exactly know how the fix works but I think might be able to give you a vague idea. The registry fix forces Windows 8 Operating System to use the Task Manager files that are included in the archive and not the one that’s already installed.

Few Things to Note

The Windows 7 Task Manager will work flawlessly except:

  • The Startup Manager that we used to have in msconfig (system configuration) of Windows 7 has made its way to Task Manager in Windows 8. Therefore, after you replace the Windows 8 Task Manager with the Windows 7 one, you will not find find the startup configuration option at both the places. Therefore, after replacing the Task Manager, if you ever want to configure Windows startup, you will have to use a third-party alternative.
    Quick Startup is one such application you can use to reduce your Windows boot time. You will like this tool far more than the Windows default Startup Manager.

startup manager msconfig

  • As the Modern Apps were launched in Windows 8, the previous Task Manager cannot detect them and thus would not be included in the list of active apps. After switching the Task Manager, if you want to close Modern Apps you will have to switch over to them and then close each of them individually by holding the top bar and dragging it down to close it.

Other than that, I don’t think you will miss out on anything. You can easily revert to Windows 8 Task Manager by running the Uninstall script included in the archive you downloaded. Simple and easy.

Conclusion

I am thinking of using the Windows 7 Task Manager despite of the few shortcomings. What about you? Which one of these Task Managers do you prefer?

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  • Anonymous

    The old one is definitely better. MS should not try to make me adapt to their software. It should be other way round. Their new task manager should have been superset of old one.

  • Arash Jafari

    I really like the new task manager because it gives a great overview of the processes, services, applications and system performance. The color coding allows me to quickly identify a process that claims excessive CPU, RAM, HDD or LAN and view details about it and end or stop it if necessary. Everything is well organized and the performance tab also provides additional information about present resources.
    The startup tab is a great way to keep track of what is started after boot and what impact they have so you can optimize it and see the result after next boot. I use it very often and so far after 5 months I cannot say that I miss anything except the ability to show a graph for each processor core but you can do that in the resource monitor launched from the same tab.

  • Kevin

    The old one is miles better; on the new one you have no option to configure the columns on the details tab so you can’t display the module filename. Sure you can look at properties but if you want to scan down the list for something odd this will take forever. Fortunately Process Explorer runs on W8 so I will be using that instead of TM.

    Also the startup tab does NOT list all the programs which can get started. I don’t know how it filters them but it does. The old msconfig used to list all the registry entries; the new TM doesn’t. So you’re faced with having to search the registry manually. Great improvement Microsoft!

    • mfw

      “you have no option to configure the columns on the details tab”

      Have you ever tried right-clicking the “column bar” or whatever it’s called?

  • Seriously?

    The new task manager has all the same features as the old one. I guess it’s just too hard for you to use the Details tab.

    • Ricky

      Except the ability to view activity on individual CPU cores. Absolutely essential when doing development, and when monitoring a server. Sure, you can get this info from resource monitor, but it’s in a vertical manner rather than the horizontal one we’ve grown used to over the last decade+. Also in Windows 8.0, pressing shift+ctrl+esc when the task manager is already open and minimized, it does not restore it and give it focus.

      • Aaron Romine

        Uh, cpu graph, right click ‘change graph to’->’Logical processors’… wow… Also – windows key + down will minimize the active window… CTRL+SHIFT+ESC will restore it.

        • Ricky

          Funny, but this is something that I mentioned on another site and someone pointed that out. When Windows 8 RC first came out, this was one question I posed to Microsoft’s dedicated support team. After a day of waiting, they got back to me and said “it’s not possible, use resource monitor”.

          And to explain it again. If the task manager window is not minimized and you press shift+ctrl+esc, it does not focus that window like it has in every version of windows that has ever had task manager. Only sometimes when it was minimized, would it focus task manager. It’s a bug in 8.0 which was fixed in 8.1.

          • Aaron Romine

            Ah, that explains why the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC works for me. I never tried it in 8.0. 8.1 it’s definitely working.

            It’s funny support didn’t know, but that’s not surprising. Some of the UI changes are a bit less intuitive, but you have to pick and choose UI hints, otherwise your simple UI becomes a circus fair.

  • Delphi Programmer

    The Windows 8 task manager keyboard interface sucks. Quite honestly. Since XP, I’ve used task manager as an alternative to Alt-tab for switching between tasks. You simply press Ctrl-Shift Escape to open it, type the name of the app you want to go to, hit return, and it opens up. Simple. Windows 8 has convoluted things with that silly tree structure. You have to click with the mouse to drill down, and then hit return to open the app. That totally defeats the purpose. If you open task manager and a node is already expanded, typing does nothing. I might as well go back to using Alt-tab. Of course, that means if I have 20 things open I might have to Alt-tab 19 times to get to the one I want. Oh joy!

    • Ben

      I share this exact sentiment

  • Cedric Lim

    Thank you very much for Windows 7 task manager.

  • Eftee

    Since installing windows 8 pro 64 bit from Window 7, task manager appears to be that of windows 7 or windows server 2012, i.e. it doesn’t have a front end (few details) or a startup tab.
    see here http://postimg.org/gallery/bakelala/02d57de4/
    I have done a refresh, sfc /scannow and upgraded to windows 8.1.
    Can anyone help me to get the windows 8 task manager?

  • Dedededanny

    I just copied tm.exe to system32, copied the subfolder and merged it, and I can just launch that from the run box when you hit windows+r.I added a shortcut in system32 called taskmgr2 just for simplicity, so they can be launched by running taskmgr and taskmgr2 from the run box respectively.