How to End a Process with Windows Task Manager

Sometimes you’re directed to stop a process, or perhaps you’re motivated to end a process to troubleshoot problems with your computer. When those needs arise, follow these steps to stifle a process by using the Task Manager:

  1. Summon the Task Manager.

    To summon the Task Manager, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

  2. Click the Processes tab.

  3. Select the process you want to eradicate.

    It helps if you click the Image Name heading to sort the processes alphabetically.

  4. Click the End Process button.

    A warning dialog box appears; ending a process isn’t to be taken lightly.

  5. Click the End Process button in the Windows Task Manager warning window.

    The process is slain.

  6. Close the Task Manager window.

A good example of following these steps is to kill off a program that runs an icon in the notification area. For example, an icon in the notification area might control special display features. You cannot find that program on the Applications tab, but it exists on the Processes tab.

The trick to discovering which process belongs to an icon in the notification area is to somehow get the icon to display a window. For example, right-click the icon to use a Show or Display menu command. After it’s open, you can follow these steps in the Task Manager window to locate the given process:

  1. Right-click the application’s name on the Application tab.

  2. Choose Go to Process from the shortcut menu.

  3. Click the End Process button in the Task Manager window, and then again to confirm the process’s demise.

The process is gone, as is the notification area icon. (Remember that most notification area icons have Exit as a command on their pop-up shortcut menus.)

Randomly killing processes can render your PC inoperable. It’s not a Terrible Thing, but you need to restart Windows (or reset the entire PC) to regain control.

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