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How to force quit or force close a program in Windows

(Pocket-lint) – When a program freezes in Windows or is just causing you some grief it can be a pain to sort it out.

One solution is to force quit. With a few clicks, you can force your way back into a happy place where everything is functioning as it should be. Or at least where the problem program is no longer bothering you anyway. 

There are a few different ways you can force quit or close a program or app in Windows if you need to do so. So follow these steps to get started fixing your woes. 

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How to force quit with keyboard shortcuts

If you’re in an app, game or program and it freezes on you it can be a real misery. You can either sit there and wait for it to resolve itself (who has time for such things) or you can use keyboard shortcuts to sort your problem out. 

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In Windows, there are common keyboard shortcuts that work across all apps and programs and are perfectly suited to this task at hand. 

When you have a problem app, press CTRL+X on your keyboard. This is the key combination used to close an app. If that doesn’t work try ALT+F4 instead. These combinations should close a program unless it’s being particularly problematic.

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Force quit with Task Manager

If there’s a problem with any app or program that can’t be solved with shortcuts or patience, then there’s always the power of Task Manager. 

Like all good things, you can access Task Manager with keyboard shortcuts. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL on your keyboard and you’ll see a number of options appear including Task Manager. Click that to open it. 

Alternatively, press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to open Task Manager directly. 

With Task Manager open, you should see a long list of apps that are currently running. You’ll also see the amount of processing power the apps are currently using including what percentage of CPU, RAM (memory) and GPU power they’re using. You will also see the problem app, most likely with (not responding) written next to it. 

To force close a problem app with Task Manager:

  1. Click on the problematic app
  2. Right click and look for the option to “end task”
  3. Click that to shut the task down and force close the app
  4. If that doesn’t work, right-click again and click on “go to details”
  5. Then right-click again on the app and click “end process”
  6. You’ll then see a warning that this will close everything down
  7. Click to confirm

Writing by Adrian Willings.

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