How to Quickly Shut Down a Hung or Unresponsive Application


Sometimes a Windows program or file will hang and just sit there frozen with none of the menus or functions responding to the mouse or keyboard. There are several ways to close down a hung process but the command prompt provides a very quick and easy one with  “taskkill”. The appropriate command is:

   taskkill /f /fi "status eq not responding"

This command can be entered into the command prompt directly or used to create a one-line batch file. To make the batch file, copy and paste the command given above into a blank Notepad file and save as kill-task.bat. Make sure to save as type “All Files” and with extension .bat, not as a text document. Save the file someplace convenient and simply double-click it if you need to close a hung process. Note that this is a one-step process and does not require that you know the name of whatever is hung up. The command closes anything that is not responding.

Does not apply to Windows XP Home, which lacks the Taskkill command.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs a Windows blog called The PC Informant and also operates a computer education website.

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Thanks for the tip!
The usual way would be to press Ctrl-Alt-Del (Win7), enter the Task List, and stop the Task that is not responding. Simpler...(?)

Using Task Manager is certainly one of the standard ways of dealing with hung programs. Personally, I don't find it any quicker but I do use Task Manager sometimes. One advantage of the command line is that a batch file can be created, reducing the procedure to one step of clicking the file. In Windows, there are often multiple ways to do the same thing.