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Alt + F4 is the longstanding go-to shortcut for instantly quitting programs. Done web browsing? Alt + F4. Finished with Photoshop? Alt + F4. In fact, you can Alt + F4 your way out of Windows all the way to the shut down prompt if you so wish. But sometimes things aren’t so simple, and programs can crash, hang and refuse to die even when you’ve given the trusty Alt + F4 command. If this happens, this guide can help you with some solutions.
Tip: dealing with a sluggish PC? Stopping background apps and processes from running in Windows could help reverse the situation.1. The Basic Method
You probably all know this one, but let’s throw it out there just in case. If Alt + F4 doesn’t work, the next thing to try is ending the process through Task Manager.
Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
- 2. Set Task Manager to “Always on Top”
The basic method won’t work if the program that’s crashed is blocking your view of the Task Manager, putting you in the awkward position of potentially having to reboot your PC. To prevent you from having to do this in the future, however, you can set Task Manager to appear over the top of all of the other windows – even crashed ones by following these instructions.
The next time a program seizes up your PC, jump into Task Manager, and it’ll be there to save the day.
Good to know: check out all of the options to open Task Manager in Windows.3. Access Task Manager Using a Shortcut
Maybe you’re having trouble accessing the Task Manager using Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Starting with Windows Vista and onward, there’s a different way that also lets you sign out or reboot without having to force shut down your computer.
Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, bringing you to a new window that features several options.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
- 4. Use Taskkill on Command Prompt
If the previous methods didn’t work, the next port of call is the slightly more hands-on Command Prompt.
Type tasklist into the Command Prompt and hit Enter.
Next, enter the command:taskkill
where “taskname” is the name of the program you want to force-quit. If you want to force-quit MS Paint, type taskskill /IM/ chúng tôi /f.
Tip: don’t like to install apps on your PC? Add portable apps to startup instead.5. Create a Shortcut Using Taskkill
Taskkill is a handy command, but it has one tiny drawback: you still have to figure out the exact name of the process you’re trying to kill. Luckily, there’s another option that lets you force quit any unresponsive app with the push of a button and a shortcut!
The next time an app becomes unresponsive, run this shortcut, and it will force shut down the app for you. You can even pin this on the taskbar to make it more easily accessible.6. Terminate App from System Settings
This one may not always work, but it’s worth a try! In Windows 10, at least, you can terminate an app by accessing it in the Windows System Settings.
- 7. Use SuperF4
If you don’t mind installing a tiny third-party program (more accurately a command than a program), SuperF4 is fantastic. It creates a new keyboard command that instantly kills the active window in Windows, much like Task Manager does (as opposed to Alt + F4, which is just a shortcut to close windows and does not force-quit them).
Download Superf4 from the official webpage. If you prefer to not install a new program on your computer, choose the portable version instead.
Once the program in installed, the next time you need to force quit an application, use Ctrl + Alt + F4.
Good to know: need to insert a PDF into a Word document? We can help.Frequently Asked Questions Why do computer applications freeze?
There are many reasons computer applications freeze. Usually, your computer does not have enough memory to run the application. Other times, however, it’s the application’s fault. Perhaps it does not have the right resources (like images or music) to load a certain screen. At times, instead of showing an error and closing, the application looks for the missing resources over and over, causing it to freeze and stop working. When this happens, you may want to reinstall the program so that it can get the resources it needs to run properly.What happens when I force quit Windows File Explorer through the Task Manager?
Shutting down Windows File Explorer is normally a bad idea, even if it freezes, as shutting it down through the Task Manager not only kills the File Explorer, but it also kills the Start menu and taskbar. If you do want to kill the taskbar to restart it without having to reboot your whole computer, there are many better tricks that let you do that.
Image credit: Freepik. All screenshots by Terenz Jomar dela Cruz.
Terenz Jomar Dela Cruz
Terenz is a hobbyist roboticist trying to build the most awesome robot the world has ever seen. He could have done that already if he wasn’t so busy burning through LEDs as a second hobby.
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