So you’ve looked in task manager, and there’s a dozen iexplore.exe processes listed! Clicking the End Process button for each will take far too long… so how can we kill them all in one step?

The answer is to use a quick command line utility that kills all the processes by name, though we’ll make it even easier for you and create a re-usable icon that will kill them in a single step. Of course, this same technique will work for any application that opens a dozen processes… like, for instance, Google Chrome.

Task Manager

For those that are wondering why we don’t just close the window, we’re trying to forcibly close them without leaving any stragglers behind, which seems to happen all too often.

Kill Multiple Processes From the Command Line

The first thing you’ll need to do is open up a command prompt, and then use the taskkill command with the following syntax:

taskkill /F /IM <processname.exe> /T

These parameters will forcibly kill any process matching the name of the executable that you specify. For instance, to kill all iexplore.exe processes, we’d use:

taskkill /F /IM iexplore.exe

Command Prompt taskkill

It’s really as simple as that… the processes will immediately be killed.

Note that if you are using Windows Vista, you can only kill “normal mode” apps from a regular command prompt… if you want to kill an application running as administrator, you would need an administrator mode command prompt.

Create an Icon to Force Kill All iexplore.exe Processes

Since we don’t really want to drop to the command prompt every single time we want to recycle Internet Explorer or Chrome, we can setup an icon to do the work for us.

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose New \ Shortcut:

Create Shortcut

Paste in the following if you want to kill Internet Explorer, otherwise you can use a different executable in place of iexplore.exe.

taskkill.exe /F /IM iexplore.exe /T

Create Shortcut Location

Give the shortcut a useful name, and then open up the properties. Make sure to choose to Run as Minimized, and then you can select a more fitting icon… I chose the one that looks the most like recycling.

Shortcut Properties

At this point you have an icon that will completely kill all running Internet Explorer windows. You could even have assigned a shortcut key…

Now that you’ve learned this technique, you can use it for all sorts of other useful things as well.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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