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How to close a program in Windows

By on September 11, 2012 | Last Updated: December 13, 2012 | Read 32,988 times.
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When using Windows there may come a time where you will need to close a program or process that is not responding or that you are concerned is a computer infection. This tutorial will walk you through using the Windows Task Manager to close a program when you cannot close it normally.

WARNING: When you forcefully close a program as shown in the steps below, any unsaved data will be lost. You should only close programs this way if the application is hung and after waiting for a while it remains so.

The first step is to open Task Manager by right-clicking on the time shown in your Windows taskbar and selecting Task Manager as shown in the image below. Alternatively, you can also open the Task Manager by using the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keyboard combination.


Start Windows Task Manager


Once the Task Manager is open, click on the Applications tab and look for the program you wish to close. If you are attempting to close a program that is frozen, then the application will be listed as Not Responding in the status column. For example in the image below, you will see that the Tutorial Application program is frozen as indicated by its Not Responding status.


Program is Not Responding


To close this program, simply left click once on the program name and then click on the End Task button. If the program is in the Running state, the program will just close as if you clicked on the X button in the application. On the other hand, if the program is Not Responding, you will see another dialog box appear asking if you are sure you wish to close the program.


End Program Dialog


Click on the End Now button and Windows will attempt to terminate the program.

If Windows is still unable to kill the program this way, then you can try and close the program from the Processes tab in Task Manager. First, though, we need to determine the name of the process. To do this right-click on the application name in the Applications tab and select Go To Process as shown in the image below.


Go to Process menu option


This will bring you to the Process tab of the Task Manager with the correct process already selected.

WARNING: It is possible to terminate processes that are required for Windows to operate properly. Please only terminate processes that you know will not affect the operation of Windows. Some processes that you should avoid terminating if they are located in the C:\Windows\System32\ folder are smss.exe, svchost.exe, lsass.exe, winlogon.exe, and csrss.exe. You can check if they are located in the C:\Windows\System32\ folder by right-clicking on the process name in Task Manager and selecting Properties.


Processes Tab


Now click on the End Process button to forcefully close the process associated with this application. You will be presented with a dialog box asking if you are sure you want to end the process.


End Process


Click again on the End Process button and the program will be forcefully closed.

The program should no longer be running on your computer.



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