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Windows 7: Task Management

Task Management

How to Kill Wayward Programs and Processes
Published by swarfega
28 Aug 2009
Default Task Management

Task Management

information   Information
This tutorial will show you how to quickly and easily kill wayward programs and processes that have stopped working or not functioning as expected.

Note   Note
The command line will be used throughout this tutorial.

Sometimes it is necessary to close programs and tasks by brute-force as they have stopped responding or not functioning as expected. In these cases the usual methods of closing a program wont work. Often the programs start sucking resources from the OS and thereby become unresponsive.

For these occasions this method is a handy quick way to get the program resolved.

1. Start the command prompt by typing cmd in the start menu search bar and press enter

2. With cmd running you can get a list of running applications and tasks by typing tasklist in the cmd window.

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3. We are mostly interested in the PID (Process ID number) column. Every running program or task has a unique PID associated with it. This allows for easy task management For instance there may be a couple of instances of the same program running with the same name but using different PIDs thereby making it harder to kill the process using its name.

4. So with the list of tasks we can now begin to take action. In this example lets imagine that Messenger has become unresponsive and we need to kill it.

To kill the process you use the command taskkill. So to kill messenger in this case you use:

taskkill /PID 3836

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As you will see, you will get notification of success or failure to kill the task. The offending program or task also disappears from the desktop.

Note   Note
You could also type taskkill /IM msnmsgr.exe which would have the same affect. But of course if you have two processes with the same name, the PID method would be preferred.
Published by
29 Aug 2009   #1


Nice tutorial, nice utility. Anything to make it easier!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2009   #2
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise

Hello Robert,

You could also use Task Manager to kill the applications and processes as well.

Hope this helps,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2009   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64

thansk brink, im learning alot of tips here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Oct 2009   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2

As a related item this may be of interest to those who work on other peoples machines, ( well our machines would never get into a bad state would they ), It's a bat file to close all non essential processes in one go ...

Kill All Running Apps .BAT – Repair Tool of the Week | Technibble

The title pretty much says it all. This .BAT file will kill all currently running apps on a system that the user started with the exception of a few locked Windows processes and some antivirus products. This comes in handy when you are working on a system that has too many processes running and thus slowing it down; often to the point where its difficult to do any work on it.

Being a BAT file, this script is obviously highly customizable. It works on a “if the process is not in this list, then kill it” system; so you can add processes to the list that you do not to be killed such as the menu for your USB drive applications or Firefox.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2013   #5
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Hello Robert,

You could also use Task Manager to kill the applications and processes as well.

Hope this helps,
That's how I usually do it. Just make sure you click on 'Show processes from all users'.

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My System SpecsSystem Spec

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