How to Force Close a Program on Windows

December 30, 2021 | by Taofeeq

How to Force Close a Program on Windows

In the dynamic world of computing, encountering unresponsive programs is not uncommon. Whether it’s a frozen application or one that refuses to close, knowing how to force close a program on Windows is a valuable skill. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the various methods to regain control and troubleshoot unresponsive programs.

1. Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows provides a quick and easy keyboard shortcut to force close an active program:

  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc: This key combination opens the Task Manager directly, allowing you to end tasks and close unresponsive programs efficiently.

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2. Task Manager Method

The Task Manager is a powerful tool for managing applications and processes on your Windows PC. Follow these steps to force close a program using Task Manager:

a. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.

b. In the “Applications” or “Processes” tab, locate the program you want to close.

c. Right-click on the program and select “End Task” or “End Process”.

d. Confirm any prompts that appear, and the program will be forcefully closed.

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3. Alt + F4 Shortcut

The classic Alt + F4 shortcut is not just for closing windows. It can also be used to force close programs:

a. Select the unresponsive program’s window.

b. Press Alt + F4.

c. In some cases, this will prompt a normal program closure. If it doesn’t work, move on to other methods.

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4. Windows Command Prompt

For users comfortable with the command line, the Windows Command Prompt provides an alternative method:

a. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.

b. Type “cmd” and press Enter to open the Command Prompt.

c. Use the “taskkill” command followed by the name of the program. For example:

taskkill /F /IM program.exe

This forcefully terminates the specified program.

5. Resource Monitor

For more detailed insights into your system’s processes, you can use the Resource Monitor:

a. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.

b. Navigate to the “Performance” tab and click on “Open Resource Monitor” at the bottom.

c. In the Resource Monitor, go to the “CPU,” “Memory,” or “Disk” tab, depending on the issue.

d. Locate the unresponsive program, right-click, and select “End Process”.

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6. Windows PowerShell

PowerShell is another command-line interface that allows you to force close programs:

a. Press Win + X and select “Windows PowerShell” (Admin) to open PowerShell with administrative privileges.

b. Use the “Stop-Process” command followed by the process ID (PID) of the program:

Stop-Process -Name program

7. Restart or Log Off

If all else fails, a straightforward approach is to restart your computer or log off:

a. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del.

b. Select “Restart” or “Log Off” from the options.

This ensures that all running programs are closed, providing a fresh start for your system.

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8. Program PID

a. Press Windows key + R.

b. Type cmd into the search box and press Enter.

c.Type tasklist into the Command Prompt. You’ll then see a list of tasks and programs running on your computer.

d. Enter taskkill/im [PID of the program].exe . Example, if you want to close chrome, you’d enter taskkill/im Taskkill /PID #### /F.

e. Press Enter.

You should see a confirmation message once you’ve completed these steps.


Force closing a program on Windows is a handy skill that comes in handy when faced with unresponsive applications. By mastering these techniques, you can efficiently troubleshoot and regain control over your system, ensuring a smoother computing experience. Whether you prefer the simplicity of keyboard shortcuts or the detailed control offered by Task Manager, these methods empower you to handle unresponsive programs with confidence.


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