How to Force Quit on Windows

In Short
  • You might need to force quit a Windows app if it's not responding.
  • Some of the common ways to do it is by using the task manager or the ALT + F4 Keyboard shortcut.
  • You can also use a few terminal commands and Windows settings to terminate and force quit apps on Windows.

From automatic updates to blue screen of deaths, we’ve all had our fair share of annoyances when using Windows. Another major issue many Windows users face is programs hanging up on them and in a state where they’re still taking up system resources but are stuck and not responding. Thankfully, Windows has a few ways to take care of non-responsive programs by letting you force-quit them. In this guide, let’s look at how to force quit on Windows.

Method 1: Force Quit Using Task Manager

The easiest way to force quit an app on Windows is by using the task manager. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Use the Ctrl + Shift + ESC key combination to open the task manager.
Ctrl Shift Escape
  1. Go to the Processes section from the left sidebar.
Go to the processes tab
  1. Locate the app you want to force-quit, or search for it using the search bar at the top.
search for the app you want to foce quit
  1. Right-click on the app and click End task to force quit the app on Windows.
Right click and end task - force quit apps on windows

Method 2: Force Quit Using Keyboard Shortcut

The other way to quit an application is by using the Alt + F4 keyboard shortcut. However, we aren’t technically force quitting here but it’s an equivalent to clicking the cross button on the Window. If a program is half responsive, force quitting using a keyboard shortcut might still work.

  1. Click on the app you want to close to make it the currently active window.
  2. Use the Alt + F4 key combination to quit the app. On keyboards with no F4 key, press Alt + Fn + 4.
Alt f4
  1. If the program doesn’t quit immediately, give it some time and it should close automatically.

Often times, when you try to click on the close button in frustration when the app won’t close, the program goes into a “Not responding” state. Windows recognized this and automatically gives you a “This program is not responding” prompt with options Wait for the process to respond or End Process. Choose End Process.

Method 3: Force Quit App From Settings

The Settings app on Windows allows you to terminate running apps, and it’s a great option to force quit on Windows. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps > Installed apps.
  2. Find the application you want to force quit. You can also search it using the search bar.
Installed apps
  1. Once found, click the 3-dots icon and select Advanced options.
Advanced options - force quit apps on windows
  1. Scroll down and click on the Terminate button.
Terminate app - force quit windows
  1. The app should now be terminated.

Method 4: Force Quit From Command Prompt

The Command Prompt is usually always the last line of defense against the nastiest of complications on Windows, and the same goes to when you want to force quit on Windows.

  1. Open the command prompt or Windows Terminal.
  2. Type the following command to list all the ongoing processes on Windows.
tasklist command
  1. Note down the name of the process and program you want to force-quit, which in our case is Brave.exe. Type the following command to force quit the app.
taskkill /F /IM brave.exe
Taskkill command - force quit windows

Here “/F” is a force parameter while “/IM” denotes image, i.e., the app executable you want to kill. Once executed, the app will be force quit instantly.

Method 5: Force Quit App By Shutting Down Windows

If all your efforts thus far have gone in vain and the app still refuses to force quit on Windows, and if your entire Windows installation isn’t responding, the only way out is to force shut down Windows and boot again.

Force Shut Down Windows Power Button
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

You can initiate a force shut down by pressing and holding the Power button of your Windows PC or Laptop. You will need to typically hold it for 7–10 seconds before your PC shuts down. Once it does, give a five-second interval and start it again.

How often do you find yourself force quitting an application on Windows? Are there any other significant app-related issues you find annoying in Windows? Let us know in the comments below.

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