Using CTRL+ALT+DEL on a Remote Desktop Connection CodeUnit 30 APR 2010

The “three-finger salute”, interrupt key combination extraordinaire CTRL+ALT+DEL is pretty important to most PC users out there, giving one a reliable way of bringing up the Windows Task Manager in order to hunt down and kill that annoying hanging application or process (and thus save a dying Windows), as well as, depending on the security policies in place, allowing you to easily switch between user accounts, lock the workstation down or even shut down the machine entirely.

However, hands up the number of times you have logged into a Remote Desktop connection to handle some troubleshooting on a remote machine, pressed the CTRL+ALT+DEL combination, and recoiled in horror as you placed a well-deserved slap to the forehead with the accompanying “Doh!” when the machine brings up your local Windows interrupt screen instead of the expected remote machine’s dialog.

But fear not.

There is actually a pretty simple alternative way to bring up the Task Manager screen on the remoted desktop connection instead of the usual right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting it from the menu box that pops up route.


That’s it. The simple to remember (well not quite so simple seeing as I’m writing it down here for future reference) way to bring up the task manager dialog on a remote desktop connection.

Nice. (And props to Sven for reminding me about it!)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.