How to force quit freezing windows 10 applications

When things go wrong, it can feel like time slows down. And when it comes to technology, unexpected issues, like an application freezing up, can bring your day to a halt. 

When an app becomes unresponsive and won’t close, you have no choice but to deal with it right away. 

  • To quickly force quit on Windows, use the keyboard shortcut Alt + F4.
  • You can also force quit on Windows by using Task Manager or Command Prompt.
  • If these methods don’t work, try restarting your computer.

Here are three common methods to force quit on a Windows computer.

Quick tip: If you want to force quit on a Mac, check out our step-by-step guide.

How to force quit on Windows using a keyboard shortcut

Be aware that if you don’t complete step one of this method, your computer — rather than the app — will shut down.

1. Click to select the application that has stopped working.

2. Press Alt + F4.

Quick tip: If your laptop doesn’t have function keys, or this Windows keyboard shortcut doesn’t work for you, try the Task Manager method instead.

How to force quit on Windows using Task Manager

1. Press Control + Alt + Delete

2. Choose Task Manager.

3. Select the application that you want to force quit.

4. Click End task.

Screenshot of Task Manager window
After selecting an application in Task Manager, hit “End Task.” 

Quick tip: If you don’t have a delete key on your keyboard, try Control + Shift + Esc.

How to force quit on Windows using Command Prompt

The Command Prompt app used to be installed on all Windows computers, but has since been replaced by PowerShell for the most recent versions. If your computer has PowerShell, you can switch back to Command Prompt, if desired.

1. Press Windows key + R.

2. Type cmd into the search box and press Enter.

3. Type tasklist into the Command Prompt. You’ll then see a list of tasks and programs running on your computer.

Screenshot of Command Prompt window on PC
Type in “tasklist.” 

4. Enter taskkill/im [name_of_program].exe. For example, if you want to quit Firefox, you’d enter taskkill/im firefox.exe.

Screenshot of task kill code in Command Prompt screen
To force quit an application like Firefox, this is what you’ll type in. 

5. Press Enter.

You should see a confirmation message once you’ve completed these steps.

Quick tip: If none of these options work, try restarting your Windows computer.

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