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It’s not uncommon for an application to stop responding on Windows 10. When it happens, you can force the app to shut down, effectively unfreezing said application. Here’s how to force quit an app on Windows 10.

Try a Keyboard Shortcut

It’s frustrating when an app you’re using suddenly freezes. We’ve all done it—exasperatingly clicking the “X” button at least 20 times to close the frozen program. There’s a better way.

With the frozen application in focus, press Alt+F4 on your keyboard to close it. If the Windows desktop is in focus instead, you’ll see a “Shut Down Windows” prompt instead.

This won’t always work—some frozen applications just won’t respond.

Alt F4 keyboard shorcut window

Force Quit Using Task Manager

As the name implies, Task Manager is a tool that shows which apps are currently running (as well as other information like resource usage and process stats) and allows you to manage them appropriately.

To open Task Manager, you can press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard or right-click the Windows task bar and select “Task Manager” from the menu.

Task Manager option from the task bar menu

With Task Manager open, select the task you want to force quit, and then select “End Task.”

If you don’t see the name of the app in the list here, click “More Details” and find it in the list on the Processes tab.

End task from task manager

The frozen program will now close.

RELATED: Windows Task Manager: The Complete Guide

Force Quit an App Using Command Prompt

You can find and force quit tasks from the Command Prompt. Open Command Prompt by typing “cmd” in the Windows search bar, and then selecting the “Command Prompt” app from the search results.

Command Prompt app in windows search bar

In Command Prompt, type tasklist and press “Enter.” Once executed, Command Prompt will display a list of currently running programs, services, and tasks.

tasklist command in command prompt

The list can admittedly be a bit overwhelming, so just remember to append .exe to the end of the program name. Once you’re ready to force quit the program, execute this command:

taskkill /im <program>.exe

So, if I wanted to force quit Notepad, I’d run this command:

taskkill /im notepad.exe

taskkill command

A success message will be returned, letting you know you’ve successfully force quit the problematic application.


Of course, you can always reboot or shut down your PC to close an app that’s really stuck.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Open the Command Prompt in Windows 10

Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.
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