Learn to Effectively Use the Windows Kill Process

Published:25 September 2023 - 4 min. read

Nicholas Xuan Nguyen Image

Nicholas Xuan Nguyen

Read more tutorials by Nicholas Xuan Nguyen!

Have you ever been in that situation where a program refuses to close, no matter how many times you hit the “X” button? Frustrating, right? But no worries, you have come to the right place to master the art of the Windows kill process!

When your computer juggles too many processes, it can slow things down or even freeze your Windows system. But in this tutorial, you will learn ways to gracefully end those pesky, unresponsive processes.

Take control and effortlessly handle misbehaving programs!


This tutorial comprises practical and step-by-step demonstrations of how to perform Windows kill process. To actively participate, ensure you have the following in place:

  • A device running Windows 7+ or later – This tutorial uses Windows 11.
  • PowerShell installed on your machine.

Enforcing the Task Manager for a Windows Kill Process

Now that the groundwork is laid out, it is time to dive into a powerful tool in the Windows arsenal – the Task Manager. Task Manager is a built-in utility in the Windows operating system (OS) that provides information about your computer’s processes, performance, and resource usage.

More importantly, the Task Manager allows you to monitor and manage running applications and processes, like ending troublesome processes.

To perform Windows kill process via the Task Manager, follow these steps:

Right click your Taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu (or press Ctrl+Shift+Esc) to open the Task Manager.

Opening the Task Manager
Opening the Task Manager

Next, navigate to the Processes tab to view all running processes in your system.

Task Manager provides real-time information about CPU, memory, disk, and network usage, allowing you to identify any performance issues or bottlenecks. With its intuitive user interface, you can easily see which process takes up most of your resources and kills it.

Viewing all running processes in the Windows system
Viewing all running processes in the Windows system

Now, perform a windows kill process as follows:

💡 Terminating critical system processes can cause data loss. Ensure you terminate the correct process and consider saving your work before proceeding.

  • Click the CPU or RAM column header to sort all the processes based on their resource utilization.
  • Look for and select the process you wish to kill (i.e., Firefox) from the list.
  • Click the End task button at the top right corner of the Task Manager window to kill the process.
Killing a process via the Task Manager
Killing a process via the Task Manager

Invoking Commands in CMD to Kill a Process

Certain programs or applications may become unresponsive or problematic, refusing to close through regular means like the Task Manager. This situation can be particularly frustrating, especially when you are in the midst of an important task.

The good news is that you have a powerful at your disposal — the Command Prompt (CMD). This tool allows for a more direct and controlled approach to terminating processes, ensuring that even the most stubborn applications can be efficiently handled.

To kill a process in Windows via CMD, carry out these steps:

1. Open CMD as an Administrator.

2. Next, run the below tasklist command to list all the running processes, their process IDs, and other details in a table format (/fo table) for better readability.

This command lists any processes with a Process ID (PID) greater than (gt) 1 to ensure that non-existent processes and idle processes are not included.

tasklist /v /fi "PID gt 1" /fo table 

Identify the process you want to terminate and note its PID, as you will need it in the following step.

Listing all running processes
Listing all running processes

3. Lastly, execute the following command to terminate your target process.

Ensure you replace process_id with the process ID of the process you noted in step two.

taskkill /F /PID process_id
Killing a process via CMD
Killing a process via CMD

Killing a Process in Windows via PowerShell

Terminating processes in CMD is handy, but constantly doing so manually can get tiresome each time a process becomes unresponsive. In such cases, PowerShell steps in, offering a more automated and streamlined approach.

With PowerShell, you can seamlessly integrate process termination into scripts or workflows. This way, you can handle multiple processes or even add extra steps before or after termination effortlessly. This method is like having your automation assistant right at your fingertips!

To terminate a process using PowerShell in Windows, perform these steps:

1. Open PowerShell as an Administrator.

2. Next, run the Get-Process command below to list all the running processes and their process IDs (Id) sorted (Sort-Object) by CPU utilization in -Descending order.

Get-Process | Sort-Object -Property CPU -Descending | Select-Object Name, Id, CPU

Identify the ID of a process you wish to kill (i.e., 22548).

Identifying the ID of a process to kill
Identifying the ID of a process to kill

3. Lastly, copy and paste the following code to your PowerShell console to terminate a process.

Replace process_id with the process ID you noted in step two.

# Define the process ID to kill.
$processId = process_id

# (Optional) Your code to perform any additional actions before killing the process.

# Kill the process
Write-Host "Terminating process with ID: $processId"
Stop-Process -Id $processId -Force
Write-Host "Process with ID $processId has been terminated."

# (Optional) Your code to perform any additional actions after killing the process.
windows kill process - Killing a process via PowerShell
Killing a process via PowerShell


Throughout this tutorial, you have learned ways to perform a Windows kill process, and you have come out a bit of a tech ninja, have you not? You have covered everything – from the classic Task Manager method to the streamlined CMD and powerful PowerShell approaches.

You are now armed with the knowledge to tackle any unruly process that dares to misbehave on your system. Each method has pros and cons, so choose the one that best suits your needs.

But while manual process termination is a viable solution for handling resource-intensive processes, other alternatives are available. Some of these alternatives are suspending or pausing processes, limiting their CPU usage, and changing their priority. These methods are much less intrusive and can often be more effective.

Hate ads? Want to support the writer? Get many of our tutorials packaged as an ATA Guidebook.

Explore ATA Guidebooks

Looks like you're offline!