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Thread: Holding CTRL key and clicking New Task from Task Manager opens a command prompt. WHY?

  1. #1
    HappyAndyK's Avatar
    HappyAndyK is offline Site Administrator
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    Cool Holding CTRL key and clicking New Task from Task Manager opens a command prompt. WHY?

    Many of us know that when you open Task Manager and from File > you click on New Task (Run), the RUN windows opens. Some of us also know that when you press CTRL and click on New Task (Run), the command prompt opens.

    But do you know WHY?

    A few years back, Adam had asked: Why does holding control when clicking New Task in Task Manager launch a command prompt? This appears to have been added in Windows XP?

    Just a short while back, MSDN explained it as follows:

    It's a rogue feature!

    Windows XP introduced visual styles, and one of the tricky parts of debugging visual styles is that if the visual style engine goes berzerk, you can't see anything! One of the problems that the visual styles folks encountered when developing their feature was that sometimes they would get into a state where the Run dialog would stop working. And without a Run dialog, you couldn't install or launch a debugger to begin investigating what went wrong.

    The solution: Add the rogue feature where holding the Ctrl key when selecting New Task from Task Manager opened a command prompt directly, without involving the Run dialog. From that command prompt, you can then install the debugger and start debugging.

    Over time, the bugs in the visual style system got worked out, and this rogue escape hatch was no longer needed, but for whatever reason, it never got removed.
    Thanks to our reader "Sayli" for sharing it...
    yethz likes this.

  2. #2
    DeborahJ's Avatar
    DeborahJ is offline Windows Enthusiast
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    Wow - thats a great find! Never knew that you could open a CMD prompt from the Task Manager.

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    DustinH is offline Senior Member
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    Very interesting. I like hearing about the development of Windows, even the little tips and tricks they use for things like this.

  4. #4
    Tanmay's Avatar
    Tanmay is offline Windows Enthusiast
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    Wow, its very cool finding! Thanks for such an awesome trick to open CMD Prompt from the task manager!

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