How to close an unresponsive program in Windows easily

Almost all PC users know the shortcut that, as a general rule, allows us to close any program that is in the foreground: ALT+F4. However, when a program stays in “Not responding”, many times this does not even work, and we will have to look for alternatives so that the PC “pays attention to us” again and allows us to continue using it normally, so we are going to see what options we have.

Task Manager is your ally

The Windows Task Manager has been around for many years, and it is nothing more than a visual interface that shows us everything that is loaded in the PC’s memory at that moment, allowing us to interact with it. In addition, the Task Manager will show us at a first glance which program has remained in “Not responding” and will allow us to close it directly from there, so if ALT + F4 does not work, this should be our first resource.

To access the Task Manager we have several options:

  • Press the key combination CTRL + SHIFT + ESC.
  • Click on Start, type “Task Manager” and run it.
  • Press CTRL + ALT + SURP and click on Task Manager.

There, we simply have to go to the “Processes” or “Details” tab, look for the program that is not responding, select it with the left mouse click and click on the End task button (you can also right click on the program and select there end task).

The unnecessarily complicated way

This way of closing apps doesn’t make much sense these days (thanks to Task Manager), but it never hurts to know it exists. To get started, right-click on Start and then click on “Windows Terminal (Admin)” or “Command Prompt (Admin)”, depending on which version of Windows you have installed. The typical MS-DOS window will open, in which you will have to type the command task list.

task list

Here you will have to find the program you want to close and remember either its name or its PID, and then type the following command:

taskkill /IM name /f

Of course, you should replace “name” with the name of the application, such as mspaint.exe. As you can see, it’s a rather complicated way to “kill” the hanging process and it doesn’t make much sense to use nowadays.

The advanced (and automatic) method

If the fact that a program remains blocked is quite frequent on your PC, then we are going to tell you about an alternative solution that you will like, since it is about creating a shortcut that, when executed, will automatically take care of closing all programs that are in “Not Responding” without you even having to go into Task Manager.

To do this, start by clicking on any empty space on your desktop, select New, and then Shortcut.

new shortcut

A window will open asking you for the location of the item. Do not get complicated, there you simply have to write the following:

taskkill /f /fi»status eq not responding»


Click on Next, and you will simply have to give this shortcut a name, whatever you want (for example, you can call it “Close programs that do not respond” or something similar. Once this is done, click on Finish, and the next time you run That shortcut from your desktop will automatically close all programs that are in a “Not Responding” state without you having to do anything else. Easy, right?

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