Task Manager doesn't save settings if Windows 8.1 (or 8.1RT) shuts down unexpectedly

Hey People,


I saw this first in the 8.1 RT preview (never ran the 8.0 RTM) and had hoped that it would be gone in RTM, but it's still there and now I've experienced it on 8.1 Pro as well.


Essentially, if I'm logged in and running Task Manager and I've changed the settings from their defaults (e.g. I tend to switch to more detail, low refresh and display kernel CPU times) and then, for what ever reason windows shuts down unexpectedly (windows crashes, runs out of battery power, etc, even when already in [connected] standby) then when windows starts up again and I login, Task Manager will have reset it's settings to the defaults.


It doesn't seem to matter if I've successfully rebooted (potentially saving the settings) before the unexpected shutdown/restart.  If Task Manager is open at the time, it will lose it's settings.


Anyone else seeing this?


I've got it on my Surface RT 8.1 (Gen 1) and HP Pavilion dv 6 [Recent, clean install of Win 8.1 Pro x64].


Anyone got any ideas on fixing it?


I haven't noticed any other apps/programs forgetting their settings.


Thanks

Craig


Hi Craig,

 

Are you facing this issue with all the computers which you have?

 

I would suggest you to boot your computer in clean boot.

Clean boot: To help troubleshoot error messages and other issues, you can start Windows by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This kind of startup is known as a "clean boot." A clean boot helps eliminate software conflicts.

 

How to perform a clean boot to troubleshoot a problem in Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista

               

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135

Note: Please refer to the section: How to reset the computer to start as usual after troubleshooting with clean boot of the Kb article to boot the computer in normal startup after fixing the issue.

Please check the Private message with this reply and then get back to us.

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hello Craig!

Since the Task Manager was rewritten for Win8 and later, this behavior begun to exhibit itself to the common annoyance of its users. The Task Manager reads its settings from the registry on load, then immediately deletes the stored value. (Why? Mind blown...) Upon exit, the Task Manager stores its current setup back to the registry. If the Task Manager does not terminate properly (system crash, app killed, etc.) as you point out, the settings do not get written. There is nothing preserved to be loaded upon the next start, hence the annoying compact window all over again.

The workaround (which can barely be called a solution):

  1. Open Task Manager and set everything up as you like it. Then close Task Manager to allow the settings to be written to the registry.
  2. Open the Registry Editor (Win+R, type in "regedit", hit Enter/Run).
  3. Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TaskManager" and verify that there is a "Preferences" binary value.
  4. Export the TaskManager key (right-click and hit export, save to a convenient location, only the "Selected branch") as a .reg file, e.g. taskmgr-preferences.reg
  5. Merge taskmgr-preferences.reg before launching the Task Manager after it has crashed to recover your preferred settings. (Note that merging will overwrite any Task Manager settings that you set after you'd exported the value.)
  6. Run the Task Manager in your preferred way and allow it to read the (re)stored preference values.

If you are used to launching the Task Manager on log in, I suggest putting your taskmgr-preferences.reg in one folder together with a taskmgr-launch.cmd batch file with these contents:

timeout /t 1

reg import taskmgr-preferences.reg

start /min C:\Windows\System32\Taskmgr.exe

This script will ensure that your desired preferences are ready for the Task Manager to pick up on no matter what. (I find that without the initial timeout, the Task Manager fails to open on sign-in sometimes.)

Finally, put a shortcut to your .cmd file in your StartUp folder (open Explorer - Win+E, type into the address bar [Alt+D] the following: "shell:startup", hit enter, drag over/copy a shortcut to your batch file).

Good luck hack-fixing what the professional engineering team could not do for you in the first place.

If anyone can make this method more efficient, I am all ears.

Best,

Ruben

21 people found this reply helpful

·

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hi,

Win 10 does this also... I don't change settings to the degree you mention, but the Taskmanager itself defaults to it's minimal window that requires Expanding just to see the Processes... The screen location changes as well 

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hey Roubo,

thanks for that.  Looks like it will sort it out, even on my Win10 devices.

I'd reported it as an issue as part of the Windows Insider program for Win10, but it's still there...

I guess they delete the preference keys so that if you screw something up and crash your machine, TaskManager will always work after a reboot.  But still, isn't that what things like clean boot are for?

Thanks again!

Craig

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Thanks Roubo. It is good (and rare) to find a useful and insightful answer in these MS forums.

1 person found this reply helpful

·

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Thanks. This has been driving me nuts. Silly this is necessary.

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

This is great information, thanks Ruben! I'll need to better highlight it in my old guest post:

Windows Task Manager auto-started as an effective CPU monitor in your system tray

http://itproguru.com/expert/2013/02/windows-task-manager-auto-started-as-an-effective-cpu-monitor-in-your-system-tray/

By the way, my primary workstation successfully moved to Windows 10 Anniversary Update Build 14393.rs1_release.160715-1616 last night, but this morning, I noticed my Task Manager settings were gone. A quick look around at my startup folder (good Ctrl+R, shell:startup) seems to indicate the Microsoft upgrade took it upon itself to delete my shortcut to my StartTaskManager.cmd script.  Just an FYI, and of course the script was easily recreated with file recovery from backup, just used your post above, everything is fixed in seconds.

1 person found this reply helpful

·

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Are you still seeing that in more recent Insider builds?  There was something in the release notes about this ridiculous issue a couple months back, so I tried killing taskmgr.exe with taskkill.exe right now as a test (which simulates a crash as far as the task is concerned), and that does not cause Task Manager to lose settings.

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Your reply seems to be too official. I believe this is a Taskmgr.exe bug.

This existed since Windows 8 and it still exists in Windows 10 1703.

I prefer to show "Handles", "Threads", "CommandLine" and "Elevated“ columns in "Details" tab. (As the pic below)

But often when one day I open my taskmgr and found these columns gone missing.

I had to re-add these columns. And another day they've gone missing again.

This NEVER happened in Windows 7.

2 people found this reply helpful

·

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

 
 

Question Info


Last updated March 31, 2021 Views 2,107 Applies to: