How to enable grayed out Task Manager

I was installing drivers for a gamepad on my Windows 10 machine, and after the install I noticed that I was no longer able to use Task Manager, right clicking on taskbar, would show Task Manager line grayed out.

GrayTaskManager
Grayed out Task Manager

Trying to run it manually, through Run interface with Win+R, using taskmgr command would return a notice saying

“Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator”

TaskManagerDisabled
Task Manager Disabled
Enable Task Manager through Local Group Policy editor (gpedit.msc)

To enable Task Manager again, you can use Local Group Policy editor (gpedit.msc).

Press Win+R to reach Run interface, and issue gpedit.msc command to start Local Group Policy editor.

Once you open Local Group Policy editor, navigate to:

User Configuration > Admistrative Templates > System > Ctrl+Alt+Del Options > Remove Task Manager.

By default this is set to Not Configured, and this should leave Task Manager enabled.

Setting was already on Not Configured on my machine, so I set it to Disabled, and this enabled back Task Manager on my machine.

Interestingly, once I returned the setting back to Not Configured, it did not disable Task Manager.

Enable Task Manager in Group Policy
Enable Task Manager in Group Policy
Enable Task Manager through Registry Editor (regedit)

Besides editing Local Group Policy, you should also be able to enable back Task Manager by editing Windows registry.

Open Registry Editor by pressing Win+R to launch Windows Run interface, and issue regedit command to open Registry Editor.

Navigate to following keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
HKEY_USERS\.default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

And check if any of them has DisableTaskMgr DWORD in the right side panel.

If it exists, it should have one of two values:

1 – Disable task manager
0 – Enable task manager

Double click and change the value to one if the key exists, or delete the key completely, to enable Task Manager back.

Enable Registry Editor (regedit)

While checking the registry on my machine, I also noticed that I was unable to start Registry Editor.

When trying to run regedit, I would get a message saying

“Registry editing has been disabled by your administrator”

RegeditDisabled
Disabled Registry Editor

This can be changed by editing Local Group Policy with gpedit.msc.

Click Win+R keys to open Run dialog interface, and issue gpedit.msc command to open Local Group Policy Editor.

Navigate to:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Prevent access to registry editing tools.

Enable Registry Editor in Group Policy
Enable Registry Editor in Group Policy

This should by default be set to Not Configured, which should not prevent you from starting Registry Editor.

It was set on Not Configured on my machine already, so I set it to Disabled, and this enabled back Registry Editor for me.

Interestingly, after returning the setting back to Not Configured, Registry Editor did not get disabled again.

References:

How to fix Task Manager has been disabled by your Administrator issue in Windows

http://ccm.net/forum/affich-8895-regedit-is-disabled-by-the-administrator

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