How To Kill Unresponsive Programs without The Task Manager

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Windows is generally not known for its stability. Among other things there are frequent “Not Responding” applications. The reasons may vary from less RAM to Viruses to poorly designed applications. So what do you do when an application hangs up?

I bet you hit Ctrl+Alt+Del or fire up the task manager in some other way, reach for the application and choose “End Task”. Now there is nothing wrong with this approach, in fact as long as it gets the job done it doesn’t matter how you do it. However, ever had the situation where the task manager itself takes ages to load up? Of course it can happen because task manager does a lot of other things besides just ending tasks so it requires that much more resources. Apart from that, how about ending the hung applications with just a single click?

Yeah! you can do so. Its simple to achieve. Just follow along:

  • Right click on the desktop and choose New > Shortcut
  • In the dialog box that appears just type the following:

    taskkill.exe /f /fi “status eq not responding”

  • Give it a name of your choice
  • Now just wait for something to start “Not Responding” and let loose your Task Killer!
    • So what did we do exactly? We just created a shortcut to run a command. The command being taskkill. Whenever you double click the shortcut you will invoke the said command which takes care of the rest. In particular the command we use says that kill all taskes whose status is equal to “not responding” and kill them forcefully (/f).

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      The /fi switch is used to filter and pinpoint the application to kill. We are using the Program’s status to filter the applications that are not responding and then kill them. You can filter(and thus kill) by memory usage (equal to, greater than, less than or not equal to), cpu time, window title and others.

      In case you are wondering that its still not quite “the single click situation”, you can enable single click from within Folder Options, or better still – right click on the shortcut you just created, choose properties and assign it a shortcut key!

      Do you know of some similar neat tricks?

23 Comments - Write a Comment



Thanks for the great tip.

However, When I click after “taskkill.exe…” it says, “unable to find file taskkill.exe”

Do I have to create a file as well as the shortcut?



Valid for XP Professional, not Home



Great Tweak,It is very helpful for users like me.



this would be handy , if it worked for me.
win XP SP3, i get taskkill.exe file cannot be found error



Dude thats come cool stuff, very useful thanks



that was great. i got the “unable to find” error message, too, but when I added spaces worked fine.


Can you give some clues as to where we put the spaces? I cut and pasted it from the description and get the message others have received.



Interesting one.But task manager has one advantage.You can end non responsive tasks without minimizing the program window you are running just clicking on the taskbar.


well then what you can do is add this shortcut in your taskbar :-b



taskkill.exe is for XP Pro only – pity the author didn’t mention that :-(


You can download the taskkill.exe aplication and put it in your windows directory and it should work fine


Juscelino M. Acevedo

I like how you guys always find great uses for very uncommon things that are very useful. What that means is that I know about and how to use Taskkill, but I never thought about creating a simple shortcut to use it. Great job…



It would be nice if authors checked their literature before making people lose their time : XP Pro only, is it?
Mama mia…



So, is it possible to create the file taskkill.exe?

For example, can I copy it from XP Pro and paste it into a folder on my XP computer?


I’ve browsed a few other forums and, yes, it does appear that you can download it or copy it from various websites and it will work on XP home etc. Google it and you’ll find various places to download it. I’m no expert, so i wasn’t sure where to put it, so I had to change the shortcut to include the full path eg c:\taskkill.exe /f /fi “status eq not responding”. There was probably a better way of doing this.


thank u
its a great tool for vista specially:P



Windows IS pretty dang stable unless you are still using 3.1. How is “less RAM to Viruses to poorly designed applications” ANY fault of Windows. I can’t remember the last time Windows crashed and it was not the fault of hardware, an application or some driver.



Another way to make it single-click would be to drag the shortcut to the QuickLaunch bar. That would also solve the problem of having to view the desktop before clicking on it.


em josefsberg

i, too, could not find taskkill.exe but i did find tskill (no extension) under \system 32. altering the command, you get: %windir%\system32\tskill.exe /f /fi “status eq not responding”, which shortcut i was permitted by xp home to create. have no idea if it will work until i get another responsive app, tho.



Always having trouble with Vista making unresponsive programs which Task Manager cant shut down for whatever reason. But this fuckin worked! MINT!


chad herrella

i have windows xp home on my netbook. copied the taskkill.exe file from my win xp pro desktop to my netbook in the windows/system32 folder and it works now.

here is the taskkill.exe file download link –>



The thing is is that I can’t even click the screen because an invisible application is blocking access! I can only click the bottom task bar but not close anything or move windows around.



same here james

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