4 Ways To Force Quit Apps And Programs In Windows

It is said that to test someone’s patience, give them a slow internet connection. We believe that a hanging or freezing PC would also do the trick.

If you are experiencing applications and programs often hanging, or show the “Not responding” status in the title bar, you can simply force quit them and then relaunch another instance, rather than waiting for the app to ren its consciousness.

Today we are going to show you 4 different methods you can force kill an app in case it is hung, or simply because the method is faster than closing it the conventional way. Whatever the reason, all 4 methods given below are valid on all Windows versions available today.

How to Force Close Program on Windows

ALT + F4 Shortcut Keys

You can close an application or a program using a simple 2-button key combination as long as its window is appearing on your screen. This method is perhaps the most-used method to instantly close a program. In fact, it is even used to quickly close a program even when an app is functioning normally.

  1. Select the program window which you want to force quit by clicking on it.

  2. Now press the ALT + F4 buttons on your keyboard simultaneously to force quit the program.

End Task from Task Manager

Behind every application or a program, there is one or more process(es) running that are visible in the Task Manager, using which you can end a task instantly. This is especially useful if a program is stuck and is not responding to any input. Here is how to do it:

  1. Open the Task Manager using the CTRL + Shift + Esc shortcut keys.

  2. In the Processes tab, right-click on the app/program you want to quit and then click End task from the context menu.

    End task
    End task
  3. If prompted to send the data to Microsoft, click End task again to kill the program without sending data to Microsoft.

From Command Line

If you are a fan of the Windows command line, then you can also quit a program from the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell. Here is how:

  1. Launch either the Command Prompt or PowerShell with administrative privileges.

  2. Paste the following cmdlet to list down the details of all the running processes:

    List all running tasks
    List all running tasks

    Note down the name of the program you want to force quit from the list.

  3. Now use the following cmdlet to kill the program while replacing ProgramName with the actual name noted above.

    taskkill /im ProgramName.exe /t /f
    Kill task from PowerShell
    Kill task using program name

    Alternatively, you can use the following cmdlet and enter the associated PID in place of PIDNumber of the program you want to end.

    Taskkill /PID PIDNumber /F
    Terminate task using PID
    Terminate task using program PID

The terminated program should now no longer be running.

Using Shortcut

One of the most unconventional methods to force an app to close is by creating a shortcut on the desktop with the sole objective of killing any app or program that is in the “Not responding” state. This method is recommended for those who often face trouble with their programs hanging or freezing.

  1. Right-click on an empty space on your desktop, expand New, then click Shortcut.

    Create new shortcut
    Create new shortcut
  2. In the Create Shortcut wizard, paste the following in the text field under “Type the location of the item:”, and then click Next.

    taskkill /f /fi "status eq not responding"
    Click Next
    Click Next
  3. Now click Finish.

    Click Finish
    Click Finish

Now all you need to do is execute this shortcut to kill all apps or programs in the “Not responding” state.

Closing Thoughts

Repeatedly facing hanging applications and programs can get on your nerves eventually. Therefore, it may sometimes be better to completely close the program and its associated processes, then rerun it with a fresh start. This is usually the approach many Windows users prefer, rather than waiting for several minutes for the program to get back up and running normally again.

Which of the given methods to forcefully kill a program do you prefer to use?

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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