When opening or running Task Manager, the Task Manager top-level menu bar and tabs may be missing and disappeared from its window. Typically, Task Manager has the menu bar which has File, Options, View and Help pull-down options, and various tabs to display and show details on Applications, Processes, Services, Performance, Networking and Users. The problem is now all these menus and tabs are gone missing.

Actually, the clean Task Manager with ‘missing tabs and menus’ user interface is not an error nor a bug. In fact, it’s a feature of Windows Task Manager to run in tiny foot-print compact mode. In compact mode, not only the menu bar and tabs are hidden, the top and bottom window border frames which contains Minimize, Maximize and Quit/Exit buttons and status bar also go into hidden and not visible.

In fact, anybody can cause Task Manager to go into small footprint mode by simply double clicking on the empty space around the border and empty space in the border around the tabs of Task Manager. The area to double click to switch to tiny footprint mode is illustrated in the figure below in red color.

Full Mode Task Manager

To revert and restore Task Manager to default full mode and get the menu options, tabs, status bar and other buttons back, just double click on the empty area around the border of Task Manager window again. See illustration below with area in blue for the location to double click.re the red-mark is present).

Small Footprint Task Manager

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  • Arxsyn

    Tips: I found that in both windowed and small footprint mode, you can cycle through the tabbed menus with Ctrl+Tab.

    Unfortunately, the good ‘ol Alt+(Down arrow key) to bring down a drop down menu trick doesn’t work in the small footprint mode. So when Task Manager mysteriously lost it’s title men bar, I got a bit frustrated… You can’t even operate the most basic shortcut command “open file”, Ctrl+O in that mode!!! Microsoft needs to fix this.

    Anywho thanks for this life saver of a tech post.

  • Agedtramp

    And it’s STILL a very useful article in 2014.

  • Rizwan Ahmed

    Thanks a lot :)

  • Manoj

    OH my GOD ! It’s done!! Thanks A LOT

  • keimanzero

    Thanks! You are a lifesaver! I was going crazy trying to restore it.

  • james

    thanks very much. you save me of this stupid gush men

  • waytoonice

    Fuck it was killing me before

  • sepzo

    thanksssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss :D

  • z

    thank you

  • ben


  • carzdz

    wah,,,so easy, thank you so much

  • lainverse

    Oh my, how convenient of MS were to integrate so freaking amazing functionality which anyone could accidentally trigger without knowing what exactly they’ve did and leave without any hint how to turn it back!

    Thank you very much, that was and still is very helpful article.
    I had to deal with mini-taskman for the whole … month. -_-

    • Cade

      Better than me, I dealt with it for a year before looking at this .-.

    • moonshifter

      actually that feature can do that to some other windows too. It’s like the first time someone tries the window min max size feature and they are lost. Once you learn what the double click can do in some windows, it all fits together…

  • Mini

    Than you very much!!
    Between search conduit and the task manager buttons and tabs having disappeared I was going mad!!

  • Indrabhushan Yadav

    It is very good site for computer related problem solving.

  • Rafa García

    Thanks so much. It was driving me crazy

  • thanhdat

    cam on ban rat nhui!

  • jeevan


  • rychy

    oh so that’s why… thank you very much!!!!

  • George

    Thanks! That was simple enough to do!
    stupid if you ask me to have everything disappear not knowing how you got that done.
    Why would anyone want the bars that control the task bar to not be present each time..
    Oh well thanks anyways!

  • Peck35


    I agree with CB.
    Only Microsoft would do something this stupid and think it was a feature.

    • moonshifter

      “Only Microsoft”, oh give it a break, wow…

  • ief1962

    thanks a bunch..no name to send thanks 2..except than ‘my digital life’ for posting how to retrieve lost tabs :)

  • VladD

    I totally agree with all negative comments re this “feature”. It’s misleading and user-unfriendly. I thought my Windows OS is mulfunctiuoning or gor infected by some virus. MANY THANKS for the explanation!

  • I seriously dnt understand what is the need for the option, anyhow thanks so much i was feeling like breaking my head as i was unable to understand why only my Task manager does not give all the Me nuoption LOLZ…

  • hmohammad

    Thank you very much my problem was resolved

  • CB

    Only Microsoft would do something this stupid and think it was a feature.

    • moonshifter

      really? Wow, didn’t know everything else was so perfect. such a genius.

  • William

    Thanks so muchhhhhhhh, I thought i crash my computer

  • SS

    Thanks a lot I appreciate this. I really son’t see the point in this but then again it’s MS so anything goes.

  • manjula

    Thanks so lot. It works

  • Butterfly55

    I thought that my son had download another virus. I am glad it was a simple fix. Thank you.

  • Prince ~ shahzada

    cool i thought there is some virus or i hav changed registry settings

  • umar


  • mani


  • WAP-Tek

    & why did they do this ,, to allow you to resize the window
    to the smallest possible size on the screen ,, thanks ,, !

    this “behavior is by design” type of thing REALY wears me down

  • billy

    Thanks for that – i was using the lion transformation pack and now that i know this is the issue and how to get the full thing up – i might re-install it – i liked it lol!


  • cliff swaney


  • Abhilash Chandran

    Thanks a lot …….. :)

  • Thank you! I was wondering WTF was going on and thought this was very strange.

  • Chethan

    the free space is in BLUE color not RED…… :D

  • Nitin Verma

    Thanks a lot. Vey helpful!!!

  • chantagm

    I have learned something new today. thank you for teaching me and others.

  • pj

    thanks you are such a big help !!:)

  • suraz roy

    thanks verymuch, i was just clicking everywhere but forgot to double click,,,,,,,,grat thanks again

  • marilyn

    there IS NO border around mine :(

  • Me Imjust Me

    Thank you so much, boy i tell you, you can find ANYTHING on the web!!! Thank you once again!

  • C

    THANKS!!! I thought I was going to have to reinstall Windows Server 2003 R2 and all of the software installed on the server.

  • pablo

    Ahem! Your Digg-Buzz-Like-Tweet bar is covering up your printed words here on this page. You really need to make that crap removable. Thanks.

  • Wordpress SEO

    Thanks friend, worked for me…
    Was frustated from weeks after this, didnt even know how I got that issue,. Now I know.

  • jake


  • Phill

    Thanks, I was thinking it was terminal for a while all sorted now.

  • Aman

    Thanks a lot, I was about to reinstall Windows.

    It was really giving me a hard time.

    Thanks again.

  • AMatthews

    Oh happy days, such an easy fix….so awesome

  • Sean

    Cheers for that.

  • jiten

    thankyou! very much. I am very grateful to you. I thought that it might be a virus who disabled these option.But now my problem is solved.Thankyou very much again.

  • Kalirajan

    Thanks a lot. –

  • Jim

    Thanks.. I couldn't figure this out. Great help!

  • Nitin

    Hey …

    Thanks a lot, It was troubling me a lot!!!

  • Clive M

    Nice one!

  • Juan

    Wow! I spent so long time trying to figure out this. Thanks.

  • baloch


    it worked

  • ThoCae


  • Rebecca

    Thank you. You wouldn't believe how much time I spent trying to find the fix for this!!

  • Chimmy

    thnx…really started to annoy me i was almost about to re-install windows 7. u saved me big time.XD

  • Morgan

    Zomg, thank you so much!! :D I feel like an idiot for not knowing how to get out of it though. Thank you thank you thank you. I owe you big time :D

  • duke

    thanks it work!!

  • Adam

    Thanks… It was starting to really annoy me.

    • Faith

      i absolutely agree with you

  • Kaizer Alvarez


  • Gab

    BIG 10X

    I'm so stupid :D

  • billy

    Thank you!

  • arcticspeedo

    thank you, I about freaked!

  • santosh

    Thank u so much….

  • Yradie

    thannks for the tip, i was going crazy with this issue.

  • RGtz

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I thought my Windows 7 desktop had a virus. Your suggestion was the only solution I had found. Keep up the good work.

  • Ahmed Yasser

    Thank you Thank you so so much

    I always thougth that some kind of virus is causing that.

  • Gordon

    Many thanks – apparently tripped this by accident and wondered WTF happened.

    Don't think this would make my top 1000 most wanted features list, but whatever… :-)

  • sriram980980

    THANK U sooo much ………………

  • Cassie

    Gah! Really? Just a double click?

    I kind of laughed at myself a little. I figured a task wasn't running correctly or something like that, since that's what the problem usually is. At least when it comes to the interface disappearing.

    I don't really see the point of that feature, though.

    Anyway, thanks a lot. You saved me many more headaches.

  • bey

    pliss gw nih … waiting for.

  • bey

    fits well why i install 32 bit windows7 kok ngilang task manager (not available)
    you know the solution dong

  • aang gustijar

    I thank you yes
    brief but clear

  • Mick

    You are awesome! Thanks so much!

  • Jarrod

    Thank you Thank you THANK YOU…

  • JoeMcDarby

    thanks, that was really good advice

  • Marina

    Thanks for the help – worked like a charm.

    Just curious though – what is the purpose of this feature? Is it just aesthetically more compact? Does it require less memory?

  • Austin

    All that stress thinking something was awfully wrong! Thank you very much…made my day!

  • Dish


    Windows help is effing useless

  • Mark

    THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I also thought something was really messed up. When I clicked on the area you illustrated and all the tabs came back I breathed a huge sigh of relief. You made my day. Thank you/

  • Tanmoy

    thanks 4 d help…I thought there might be a virus which was causing d problm…

  • Beernarnd

    Thanks, I thought something was really messed up… now if I could figure out why there's a big ol black space on my tool bar and I'm using firefox not ie.

  • Dennis

    Thank s a lot buddy. Haven't come across such in findings. Thanks a lot once again. :0)

  • sglsg

    Really save my time. Many thanks.

  • Dragos

    you save my a lot of time . I was 100% that missing border is from a virus and next step was to reinstall the operating system. Now I learn something new.

    God bless the internet

  • Cameron

    Thanks heaps I'm fairly advanced with computers but I had no idea what happened when I did this. Thanks to you guys its back to the way it should be ;)

  • johnny

    Great info! It worked. I thought something was wrong with my computer.

  • Saurabh

    thanks very much….it worked

  • hi!!

    thanks a lot, it really work for me..

    thnkx again.

  • Chadley

    Good work Geezas. This was doing me nutter in. Sorted now from top notch advice. Lovin ya work. Sweet as.

  • Cassie

    thank you for that tip ….. feature ugh?

  • nrb

    Thank you so much, that was very helpful. I really thought my windows has gone nuts :).

  • Jesica

    Thank you! You saved hours of frustration!!!

  • James cassett

    Another THANKS for the info!

  • Barnay

    Cheers worked as described, I thought is was some kind of malware

  • Abdullah Khan

    thank you very much :)

  • farbod

    But mine is still missing the shutdown menu

  • Staci

    Thank you! This has been stressing me out for almost two days now!

    So easy! WHOO HOO! I was afraid it was memory-related or from a virus!

    Back in business…


  • Michael

    Thankyou. All other suggestions were around registry hacks and virus removal. Who knew it was actually a feature?

  • Vedderist

    Cheers for that. what a strange thing to have. Microsoft are quite odd at times.

  • EMitchell

    Thanks and regards. A toggle switch in the Task Manager's system tray menu could have saved me a few days of frustration.

  • Scott

    Thanks! Everyone I asked about this in my IT department thought it was a memory problem with my PC.

  • het

    Thank you so much

  • b

    thank you

  • christie

    Thank you so much! Your instructions are so clear and easy for anyone to understand! You fixed my problem in less than 2 minutes! THANK YOU!!!

  • thank you very much. nice.

  • Krishna

    Hey,it solved my problem.Thank you.

  • nathan


  • haider_up32

    u tried hard to get it back