How to Force Kill Unresponsive Apps in Windows
Typically, Windows software is pretty stable. However, we’ve all had moments where the program you’re working in freezes. In these times, it seems that no matter what you do, you can’t get the program to close.
Next time an app just freezes when you click its X, try these steps.
Your first step should be the Windows Task Manager . Press Ctrl + Shift + Escape to access it, then look for the misbehaving app under the Processes tab. Right-click it and choose End Task to kill the process.
If this doesn’t work, we can attempt to kill a process via the command prompt. Type cmd into the Start Menu to open a command prompt, then type tasklist to view all running processes. Locate the one that’s acting up, and then type the following line, replacing the blank with the process name:
taskkill /IM [TASK NAME] /f
So, to kill Notepad, you would type:
taskkill /IM notepad.exe /f
If you don’t want to fumble with either of these methods, you should use SuperF4. This tiny utility lives in your System Tray and adds a new shortcut — Ctrl + Alt + F4 — to destroy running processes. When your press the normal Alt + F4 shortcut, Windows kindly asks the open program to close. With this shortcut, Windows will destroy the process without asking.
Alright, I've got superf4. Next time Skyrim crashes, I'll be ready…
— Mathilda Purple Roo (@ArcticFletcher) December 29, 2014
Thus, you should be careful. If you press Alt + F4 on an unsaved Word document, you will be asked if you want to save it, but the SuperF4 shortcut will kill it without any prompt.
If a particular program crashes frequently, it might be worth taking a look at its error reports to find the root cause.
Do you often have to resort to higher means to get stubborn programs to close? Let us know if you find these tools useful!
Image Credit: Kjetil Kolbjornsrud via Shutterstock