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Windows Tip: Kill / Close All Hung And Not-Responding Applications

From time o time Wndows operating system tends to mess up, and it would get stuck on some unresponsive program that would just stubbornly refuse to go away. Users from the days of Windows 98SE, Windows 2000 and then Windows XP would remember this excruciating issue only too well, where one crashed/hung application would result in the whole ‘explorer.exe’ process to go down, sometimes even leading to the dreaded blue-screen-of-death.

With Windows 7, Microsoft has managed to resolve these issues fairly well. However, in all honesty, Windows 7 does crash, and applications do become unresponsive, or get hung up, and many a times a user is left with the only solution of having to open task manager, kill the stuck application and restart. Simple enough, indeed, but here’s one that bummed me today. My system got hung, all windows and applicatons nonresponsive, task manager refusing to open, and myself clueless as to what to do. It was then that I discovered the usefulness of windows ‘taskkill’ command.

The actual taskkill command is:

taskkill /f /fi "status eq not responding"

The way this command was supposed to be used is to fire up command prompt and enter the command, which would look for any ‘not responding’ processes and kill them. However, a more ingenious and quick way to utilize this would be to create a one-line batch file. To do so, copy and paste the above command into a blank Notepad file and save it as task-kill.bat. Make sure that you have selected file type as ‘All Files’ and extension is .bat, not text file.


Save this batch file in some convenient location, and next time a process hangs, simply double-click the file to execute the command an viola, any stuck process/application says goodbye. For convenience, I have added the command to my taskbar (also called superbar in Windows 7), and a single click is enough to do the trick.

This command and method would work with all versions of Windows above XP, except Windows XP Home which does not have the taskkill command by default.

Did you find this tip useful? Please let us know in the comments.

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