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How to force quit an app in Windows

How to force quit an app in Windows


If your Windows program won’t respond, force quitting is often the move. Here are some things to try before you reach for the power button.

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Laptop graphic
Illustration by Samar Haddad / The Verge

We all want everything to work just fine all the time. But sometimes they just don’t. Your Windows app slows down. You get the dreaded “this program is not responding” pop-up. Your whole computer freezes.

In cases like this, the best option is often to force quit the unresponsive app. This means your computer will force the program to close, regardless of what it’s in the middle of doing or trying to do. There are several ways you can do this on a Windows PC. Here they are.

  • Press Alt + F4 (and maybe also Fn, depending on how your Function row is programmed). This will close whatever application you currently have selected.
A screenshot of Task Manager open in Windows 11.
Simple as this.
  • Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select Task Manager or Ctrl + Shift + Esc to bring Task Manager up directly. Select the application you’re trying to close and click End task.
A screenshot of the Terminal in Windows 11 showing a list of running programs.
Look at all this lovely stuff I have running.
  • Press Windows + R to pull up Command Prompt. Type cmd and press Enter. Type tasklist and press Enter. Type taskkill /im ProgramName.exe /t /f.

If none of these work, you may need to restart your computer.