How to Kill Unresponsive Programs Without the Task Manager

It’s frustrating when programs crash. Everyone has clicked on something in an application, only to have the window gloss over and see the dreaded Not Responding text.
Your first move to kill these frozen programs might be to open the Task Manager, which is perfectly fine. However, if you’d like to do this even faster, you can create a shortcut to instantly kill any unresponsive programs. Here’s how.
To kill off programs without touching the Task Manager, we can use the taskkill command. Typically, you would type this at the command prompt to kill a specific process. However, it’s clumsy to open up the command line every time a program stops responding, and typing the command every time is a waste. We can do this better with a shortcut.
First, right-click space on your desktop and choose New > Shortcut. You’ll be asked to enter a location for the shortcut. In that box, paste the following command:
taskkill /f /fi "status eq not responding"
This command is simple to understand if you break it down:
  • Taskkill is the command to kill a process, which we want to do when something is frozen.
  • /f tells the command to forcefully kill the task. Without this, Windows just asks the process to terminate, which won’t work if it’s stuck.
  • /fi tells the command to run only on processes that meet the following filter criteria.
  • The text in quotes is our criteria. We want to kill only processes with a status equal to Not Responding.
The shortcut creation box will then ask you to name your new shortcut. Call it anything you like, then press Finish. Now, you’re able to double-click this shortcut at any time, and it will kill any window that’s stuck.


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