How to Close a Program that is Not Responding in Windows

Operating systems like Microsoft’s Windows are software themselves but their real appeal lies in the functionality they offer and the range of software programs compatible with them. One of the reasons why Windows is so popular is because most software are compatible with the operating system. However, no program is free of bugs and experiencing crashes and freezes is normal given how so many variables work together to bring you the features you enjoy. Fortunately, if you are experiencing a freeze or are stuck with a program that is not responding, you can easily kill it and restore your computer back to its normal functionality.


  • 1

    If your screen is frozen and the program you are using is not responding, the first thing you should do is wait for Windows to automatically recover from the freeze, which though might take time, is likely in most of the cases. If however, you want to instantly kill the program and there is no risk of losing your work, proceed to the next step.

  • 2

    Windows has a built-in task manager, which allows you to view all the tasks, programs and processes currently running on your computer. This is a handy tool for evaluating performance, tracking any issues, monitoring processes on your computer and killing them, as we want in this case. You can access the task manager by simultaneously pressing the CTRL, ALT and DELETE keys on your keyboard. The Task Manager pops up in a small new window and if you are using Windows 7 or above, you might be taken to a separate screen from where you have to choose the ‘Start task manager’ option.

  • 3

    The Task Manager window has tabs and the applications tab is open by default. Here you can see all the applications running on your computer, including the one that is not responding. You can also see the status of the programs on the column next to their names and programs which are not responding are stated as such there.

  • 4

    You can now select the unresponsive program from the list and the buttons on the bottom of the list will become active. You have to then click on End Task to close the unresponsive program automatically. While it may take some time, in most of the cases the program will be closed successfully.

  • 5

    If the program is still not closing, you need to click on the Processes tab next to applications and select the program’s name (for instance firefox.exe) from the list of processes. Now you need to click on End Process to kill that task. This method will work in all cases if the first does not.

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