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3 ways to force quit apps or programs on a Windows PC

Devon Delfino   

3 ways to force quit apps or programs on a Windows PC
Tech2 min read
  • To quickly force quit on Windows, use the keyboard shortcut Alt + F4.
  • Make sure the app or program window is open when you click Alt + F4.
  • You can also force quit on Windows by using the Task Manager or Command Prompt.

When things go wrong, it can feel like time slows down. And when it comes to technology, unexpected issues, like an application freezing up, can bring your day to a halt.

After all, if the problem app won't close, you have no choice but to deal with it right away. If you have a Windows computer, the force-quit option is a useful tool in that circumstance.

Here are three common methods to force quit on a Windows computer.

How to force quit on Windows using a keyboard shortcut

Be aware that if you don't complete step one of this method, your computer - rather than the app - will shut down.

1. Click to select the application that has stopped working.

2. Press Alt + F4.

Note: If your laptop doesn't have function keys, or this shortcut doesn't work for you, try the Task Manager method instead.

How to force quit on Windows using Task Manager

1. Press Control + Alt + Delete. You'll then see a Preparing security settings window, along with a list of available options.

2. Choose Task Manager.

3. Select the application that you want to force quit.

4. Click End task.

Quick tip: If you don't have a delete key on your keyboard, Control + Shift + Esc may work.

How to force quit on Windows using Command Prompt

1. Press Windows key + R.

2. Type cmd into the search box and press Enter.

3. Type tasklist into the Command Prompt. You'll then see a list of tasks and programs running on your computer.

4. Enter taskkill/im [name_of_program].exe. For example, if you want to quit Spotify, you'd enter taskkill/im spotify.exe.

5. Press Enter.

You should see a confirmation message once you've completed these steps.

Quick tip: The Command Prompt app used to be installed on all Windows computers, but has since been replaced by PowerShell for the most recent versions. If your computer has PowerShell, you can switch back to Command Prompt, if desired.

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