Task Manager Access Denied: 7 Ways To Easily Fix It

Is your Task Manager giving you a hard time when you try to terminate a process or disable a program? In case the “access denied” message keeps popping up, there could be several reasons behind this issue.

While it may not always be clear why this bug is happening, there are multiple methods you could use to fix your unresponsive Task Manager and regain control over all the processes.

That being said, in this guide we will focus on explaining these methods in-depth, and surely at least one of them will be successful in your case.

Why is Task Manager access denied?

As we’ve briefly mentioned, it may not always be clear why your Task Manager is unresponsive and the access to all processes and programs is denied. 

However, we will go over some of the possible reasons before we dive into the best solutions for this problem.

1. Corrupted files

The “access denied” error message in the Task Manager can often appear if you’re trying to access or manage a program that includes some corrupted files.

Often, files can become corrupted if you’ve downloaded the unofficial version of an app/program. Also, program/Windows files often become corrupted due to updating errors, power outages, or a sudden system crash.

It means that the file contains wrong information, which could confuse the Task Manager, or cause it to deny access when it comes to a process related to this program.

Of course, files can become corrupted as a result of malware or virus infection

This is a threat not only to the Task Manager, but to the overall security as well, so it is recommended to use reliable antivirus software

2. Windows bug

Sometimes it is impossible to terminate a process in Task Manager because of a Windows bug. It could be that you haven’t performed the necessary updates, or that the Windows installation itself was unsuccessful.

When installing Windows, you always want to make sure you’re downloading and using the official version. Also, it is necessary to perform all the pending updates.

In case the system hasn’t been properly updated or set up, this will affect all components and software – Task Manager included.

3. You’re not logged in as the administrator

In case you keep getting the error message that access is denied when you try to access Task Manager, it could be that there is neither a Windows bug nor a corrupted file.

Sometimes, you are simply not logged in as the administrator. In case you’re not the Admin and you don’t have the login credentials, you will not be able to access any process in the Task Manager.

Also, you may have entered the wrong credentials, which is why the “access denied” message keeps popping up. 

What’s more, if your PC has multiple users and accounts, you may not even have ownership over the folder you’re trying to access.

Also, you may not have the required permissions to access the file in question, which is once again a common issue if multiple users have access to this computer. 

How to regain access to task manager

Even though the reason why the access to Task Manager is denied may not always be clear, there are numerous ways you can address this issue.

Here’s how you can fix this error and access any files and processes through the Task Manager.

1. Command prompt

This solution is certainly one of the quickest, yet most effective methods if you’re unable to terminate a process through Task Manager:

  1. All you need to do is hit the Windows key, then enter “command prompt” in the search box that appears.
  2. Once the Command Prompt option shows up, right-click on it and choose Run as administrator
  3. Enter the following sequence into the dialog box: taskkill /im process-name /f, then hit Enter. 
  4. The “process-name” part should be replaced with the actual process name which you can copy and paste from the Details tab of the process in the Task Manager you want to terminate.

2. Uninstall and reinstall the app

In case the process you’re trying to terminate is a third-party program, you can solve this issue by uninstalling the app and then installing it again.

Before starting this process and entering the Safe Mode, it is necessary to download the application installer.

  1. Press Windows+R, then enter “msconfig” into the dialogue box and hit Enter.
  2. Under the Boot tab, make sure that the Safe boot option is checked, then also check Minimal under it. Hit OK to save the settings. 
  3. Restart the computer.
  4. After the reboot is done, the computer will enter the Safe Mode and you can proceed to uninstall the application in question. To do so, press the Windows+R combo again. 
  5. Enter “appwiz.cpl” into the dialogue box and hit Enter to access the application.
  6. Once you’ve detected it, click on it, then select Uninstall.

Using the application installer we’ve mentioned before, you can now install the app again, and once the installation process is complete, make sure to turn the Safe Mode option off

To do so, simply press Windows+R>paste “msconfig”>uncheck the Safe Boot under the Boot tab>hit OK>restart the computer for these changes to take place. 

3. Process Hacker

Process Hacker is a popular alternative to the Task Manager, and a great solution if you don’t have too much time to go in-depth when it comes to accessing a process or folder.

The main role of the Process Hacker is terminating a process, but it does not offer as much control and versatility when it comes to monitoring your apps.

Therefore, if your goal is to terminate a certain process and the Task Manager keeps showing that access is denied, this is something you can achieve using Process Hacker.

All you need to do is download the Process Hacker, then install it and run it to launch the list of applications you’re currently using.  

Once you’ve detected the application that is causing the problem, simply right-click on it and then select the option Terminate. 


WMIC, which stands for Windows Management Instrumentation Console, is yet another tool you can use to terminate a process of a problematic app if you have no access to the Task Manager. 

To launch it, press the Windows key, and enter “command prompt” in the search bar. Once the Command Prompt option appears, right-click on it and select Run as administrator

Now enter the following sequence into the dialogue box: wmic process where name=’myprocessname.exe’ delete, then press Enter

The “myprocessname” part of the sequence should be replaced with the actual process name that you can get from the Details in the Task Manager. 

5. Make sure you have access as the admin

If you’re sharing your computer with someone, there could be a lot of files that you don’t have access to, which is why the “access denied” error may appear.

This is what you need to do to ensure that you have access and rule out this possibility:

  1. Go to Task Manager, then open up the Processes tab, right-click on the process in question, then choose Properties.
  2. In this window, you should be able to see the Security tab, and in the bottom right corner, there should be an Edit button.
  3. Click on Edit, then choose Administrators under Group or user names.
  4. To change permissions and ensure you have access to this process, make sure the Allow box under the Permissions for Administrators tab is checked.
  5. Finally, hit OK and you should not be able to access this process, and also manage priorities in the Task Manager. 

6. Ensure you’re the administrator

In case you’re getting the “access denied” message and you’re unable to access a program in the Task Manager, or even in other segments, you may not be the administrator (or you’re currently logged out).

To set your account as the admin account on your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows+R, and paste “control userpasswords2” in the dialogue box, then hit Enter or OK
  2. Under the Users tab, check the box titled Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.
  3. Find your account in the list of users, then right-click on it and select Properties to check your status.
  4. Select the Group Membership tab, then find the Administrator option below it and make sure it is checked. 
  5. Click OK to save the settings and make yourself the administrator.

Restart the computer for these changes to take place and log in using your credentials. 

7. Folder ownership 

In case you’re unable to access a certain folder, you could easily change the ownership and regain control in Task Manager:

  1. Right-click on this folder, choose Properties, then find the Advanced button under the Security tab.
  2. Click on Advanced, and you should be able to see the owner.
  3. Even if a message pops up that you’re unable to see the owner, you can still change the ownership by clicking on a link titled Change.
  4. At this point, it is necessary to log in using your admin credentials.
  5. Now, click on the Select User or Group option, enter the desired account name for the owner (your account name), and select Check Names to scan for available usernames. 
  6. Once the scan is complete, hit OK and go back to the Advanced section that you opened under the Security tab. 
  7. Make sure that the “Replace all child object permission entries box” is checked before hitting OK to save the changes. 

Now restart your computer and, after rebooting, try accessing this folder in the Task Manager.

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