task manager has other key combinations
It is true that this combination of keys to open the Task Manager seems to be given all over the net, but beware, lo! I give you a mystery. On the Dell laptop running Vista that I am at present using, your combination of keys does nothing at all. Checking 'Windows help and support' on the machine, I find a list of key combination shortcuts, and CTRL+SHIFT+ESC is given as the way of opening the Task Manager, which does indeed work. It opens it and I saw it today for the very first time. Actually the machine is a Germanized one, so the names on the keys are STRG+UMSCHALT+ESC.
Why is this so? Research on the web on opening the Task Manager in Vista gives your combination, not mine. Nonetheless it is pretty vital in a crisis like the one here discussed to get the key combination for one's Task Manager right. I myself met the dreaded beast last night after a mere hour surfing info about film actors and had to escape from the uncloseable Firefox browser by ordering the computer to shut down. Can it be because I have a laptop or is the web just wrong about Vista or MS just plain inconsistent?