For the most part, Windows 10 programs function just fine, but when one misbehaves it’s often necessary to kill its process. At times, apps can refuse to close, get stuck on a blank screen, or suddenly consume a lot of system resources. Terminating the task will force it to close and free up your system for normal functioning.
Identifying and killing a process of single windows and background apps
There are various ways to kill a process, but all of them make use of an application’s PID (Process ID), a unique identifier that ensures only the correct one is terminated. However, it’s worth noting that terminating a specific application process can still have knock-on effects on the rest of the program’s functions if they rely on it.
The most common way in Windows to terminate a process is through Task Manager. But today we’ll also be covering how to kill a process with PowerShell, how use the taskkill command in Command Prompt, how to find a process ID with Process Explorer (Microsofts ooptional advanced Task Manager) and using a two-click-method via a task bar button.
Different methods to kill a process for different needs
Some programs run several processes at once which means if you want to terminate the application completely you will have to kill all those processes. And there are cases where you will have a program window or system dialog but cannot identify the underlying process. In our tutorial you will find solutions for all of those issues.
- 1 How to Kill a Process in Windows 10 with Task Manager
- 2 How to Kill a Process with the Taskkill Command
- 3 How to Terminate a Process with PowerShell
- 4 How to Identify the Process of any Open System Dialog or Program Window with Process Explorer
- 5 How to Kill Any Window-related Process Directly with just Two Clicks
How to Kill a Process in Windows 10 with Task Manager
Task Manager is the bread and butter of Windows 10 task killers, providing a simple interface with all the information users need to make informed decisions about which applications they should close. Accessing it is as easy as pressing “Ctrl + Shift + Esc”.
- View more details
- Select the process you want to kill and click “End task”
- OR: Find an individual process and terminate it
How to Kill a Process with the Taskkill Command
If task manager isn’t an option because you’re using a Windows server install or it’s blocked by your administrator, you can achieve similar results through the use of the taskkill command in Command Prompt.
- Open Command Prompt
- Run the tasklist command
- Run the taskkill command to kill the process
- OR: Use taskkill to kill a process by its name
How to Terminate a Process with PowerShell
Alternatively, those familiar with PowerShell can use it kill tasks instead. This has the advantage of quite intuitive commands.
- Open PowerShell as an admin
- Get a list of processes
- Use PowerShell stop process to kill the task
- OR: Kill process by name in PowerShell
As with command prompt, you can also kill one or more processes at once in PowerShell by their name. This time, however, you’ll need its system name rather than its .exe file. For example:
Stop-Process -Name "YourPhone" -Force
How to Identify the Process of any Open System Dialog or Program Window with Process Explorer
As you’ve likely realized by now, scrolling through a giant list to get the name or PID of an application can be an annoyance. To remedy this, you can use Microsoft’s Process Explorer.
- Download Process Explorer
Head to Microsoft’s Process Explorer documentation and press the “Download Process Explorer” button to download the application.
- Run Process Explorer
- Kill a process with Process Explorer
- Optional: Use the identification crosshair
- Drag the target to the process you want to identify
Though all of the above methods work just fine, if you find yourself having to kill tasks regularly they still aren’t ideal. For such use cases, we recommend Grizzly Bear’s “Kill”, a tiny 205KB app that you can pin to your taskbar to kill window process with two clicks.
- Download Kill
Go to the dcmembers site and download the Kill.exe freeware by pressing the big blue “Download” button.
- Pin Kill.exe to the taskbar
- Kill any window process with Kill.exe