How to Run the Task Manager at Startup in Windows Vista
Although you can use the Task Manager to monitor when things are going wrong with your system, this isn't very useful if the system is so locked up that you can't open it. One way to avoid this problem is to set Windows Vista to automatically run the Task Manager when it starts up.
After you’ve trained the Task Manager to sit in the notification area, it’s easy to tell Vista that you want to start the Task Manager, minimized in your notification tray, every time you log on to your computer:
Right-click Start and choose Open.
Windows Explorer appears in the Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu folder.
Double-click Programs and then double-click Startup.
Windows Explorer moves to the \Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder. Any program or shortcut you place in this folder runs when you log on to Windows.
Right-click an empty place on the right and choose New→Shortcut.
Vista responds with the Create Shortcut Wizard.
In the box marked Type the Location of the Item, type taskmgr and then click Next.
Vista responds with a dialog box that asks what name you want to give the new shortcut.
In the box marked Type a Name for This Shortcut, type something intelligent (or at least intelligible). Then click Finish.
For example, you could type Task Manager. Not particularly creative, but it gets the job done. Vista creates the new shortcut and puts it in the \Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder.
Right-click the new Task Manager shortcut and choose Properties.
Vista shows you the properties dialog box for the shortcut.
In the Run drop-down box, choose Minimized.
For the Task Manager, choosing Minimized puts an icon in the system tray, next to the clock, instead of on the taskbar where the other programs play.
Click OK, and then close Windows Explorer.
The next time you log on to Windows, the Task Manager appears in your notification area. Double-click the Task Manager icon to open the full Task Manager.