How to Force-Quit a Program in Windows 10
Anyone who’s regularly used Windows, or any PC for that matter, will know the struggle of an unresponsive window.
They seem to have an uncanny tendency to strike just when you’re in the middle of something important, making for an extremely frustrating experience.
If multiple apps are affected, it’s probably worth resetting your PC. This is probably a wider issue, and Windows 10 makes it easy to keep all your files during this process.
However, if it’s just one program, force quitting the offending application is probably your best port of call. Here’s everything you need to know.
Do you need to use force-quit?
Before proceeding, it’s worth actually checking if you need to force-quit an application. While you might not have a choice, it’s also worth considering whether you have any important unsaved progress that you’d rather not lose.
While the likes of Google Chrome and Microsoft Office have built-in tools to help you restore information, on many others it’ll be gone forever.
If it’s only been a couple of minutes since you were using it without any issue, it’s worth holding tight and seeing if the problem sorts itself out.
If you see the ‘Windows is checking for a solution to the problem’ message, or get an option to ‘Wait for the program to respond’ this is a good sign that things may be resolved on their own.
How to force-quit a program on Windows 10
Once you’ve established that you need to take evasive action, there are two things you can try.
Firstly, it’s worth using the Alt + F4 keyboard shortcut, which can normally be used alongside clicking the ‘X’ in the top right corner:
- Tap or click the window you want to quit to bring it to the foreground. If your device is completely unresponsive, try holding Alt and repeatedly tapping Tab until you reach the desired window
- Press and hold either Alt key on the keyboard
- While continuing to hold it down, tap F4 once and release both keys
If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to use Task Manager to force an application to quit:
- Open Task Manager, either via the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut or right-clicking any empty space on the taskbar
- In the window that opens, click the ‘More details’ drop down and locate the offending application. It may take a bit of searching, depending on how many apps you have open
- Right-click on the ‘process’ and choose ‘End process tree’. While ‘End task’ might do the trick, this will ensure everything associated with the unresponsive program is closed, as strains on the System Memory could be causing the problem You should get the following warning:
Do you want to end the process tree of [program file name]? If open programs or processes are associated with this process tree, they will close and you will lose any unsaved data. If you end a system process, it might result in system instability. Are you sure you want to continue?
- Click yes and then close Task Manager
That’s it, the program in its entirety should now quit. It might take a few seconds, depending on how many separate windows it spawned.
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