Whether you’re dealing with a slow computer or just noticed a bunch of bloatware eating up all your resources, killing the offending processes in Windows is the best method to deal with the problem.
Not only does this improve your PC’s performance, but it can also help prevent spyware and viruses. And before you ask, no, it’s not hard to stop a process in Windows 10. We’ll cover all the different ways you can do this safely and easily.
Why kill a process in Windows 10?
Every running application in Windows consists of one or more ‘processes’. These processes are responsible for writing things to memory, responding to user input, and doing all the actual work behind a computer program.
The thing is, not all processes are represented by an active window on your desktop. For example, Windows system processes run silently in the background without any explicit permission from the user.
And this is where the problem arises. Many unwanted applications, such as viruses or bloatware, also run as hidden processes in the background, consuming resources and slowing down your computer. You can even safely shut down some Windows processes without affecting your computer.
Kill unnecessary processes with Task Manager
The Windows Task Manager is the standard tool for managing programs and processes on your computer. You can use it to view, analyze or even terminate running applications and processes.
The only drawback is the limited rights. The Task Manager cannot disable secure processes (including system tasks and some viruses). In addition, it can be annoying to manually select and terminate all target processes every time you use your computer.
- To open Task Manager, press Ctrl†alt†remove on your keyboard. Another way is to right-click anywhere on the taskbar and select it from the menu that opens.
- The Task Manager opens by default in a streamlined view that only shows the names of the running apps themselves. Select More detail to see all processes.
- Now you can see all the tasks on your computer. They are split into the visible apps and the invisible background processes. You can see the CPU, memory, disk, and network usage of each process on the right. Select one of the categories to sort the processes by resource usage.
- Look for and select the processes that are not related to a running app or useful services.
- You can also switch to the Details tab to get a more detailed overview of the processes. By looking at the username, you can quickly see which processes belong to the system.
- In one of these tabs, select the End of task button at the bottom right to end the process. The task ends and disappears from the list.
Using Command Prompt to End a Process in Windows
If you prefer command line tools, you can also end a process using CMD. The Command Prompt provides access to many useful utilities, including one called Taskkill.
As the name suggests, you can use Taskkill to end any running task or process. If you run CMD as an administrator, you can even end protected tasks.
- To use Taskkill, first open Command Prompt. Type cmd in the search box and click Run as administrator in the right pane.
- Before you can use Taskkill, you need to know the name or PID of the task in question. Enter To do list to get a list of all running processes on your computer.
- Now you can use the Taskkill command in two ways. To use the PID, type taskkill /F /PID x, where x is the PID of the process you want to kill. You will be notified if the operation was successful.
- To enter the name instead, use taskkill /IM “x” /Fwhere x is the name of the process in question.
It may seem counterintuitive to use a command line tool when the Task Manager can do the same without typed commands. This is because we only touched on the most basic way to use Taskkill. There are many other ways to filter the processes without having to manually search them.
CMD is not the only method to end Windows processes with typed commands. Powershell is Windows’ built-in scripting language that offers many similar capabilities. In a sense, Powershell is just a more elaborate form of the Command Prompt.
The power of Powershell comes from its ability to script commands, which Windows can run at its leisure. It allows you to automate complex tasks on Windows.
- Let’s open PowerShell first. Type PowerShell in the search bar and click Run as administrator†
- The PowerShell window opens. It’s remarkably similar to Command Prompt, just with a different background color.
- Enter get process to get a list of all running processes on your computer.
- To end a process you can use the PID or the name. For example, type Stop Process -ID x -Forcewhere x is the PID to terminate any process.
- Using the command does not confirm the program, making it appear as if nothing happened. But that’s his normal behavior for a successful operation. For example, if you enter the wrong name, you will get an error.
- Use the command Stop Process -Name “x” -Force, where x is the name of the process, to end the process. This time the mission is successful.
If PowerShell seems disappointing to you, it’s because we use it as cmd. PowerShell aims to create autonomous scripts that perform complex tasks on their own, without real-time feedback or input. While you can use it this way, the Command Prompt is honestly better at it.
So far, we’ve looked at tools and utilities that come standard on your computer. While these can certainly get the job done, they lack some useful features present in third-party tools.
KillProcess is such an advanced task manager. In addition to the ability to terminate protected system processes, it is also possible to create a “Kill List”. Processes added to this list will automatically abort as soon as they enter active memory. This can be a great method to shut down pesky bloatware permanently.
- To start, download KillProcess from the official website† There is both an installer and a portable version that you can use without any installation.
- When running the app, you will be greeted with a task manager-like window. All running processes on your computer are listed, along with their descriptions and memory usage.
- Right click on the process you want to kill and select Add to the list.
- Processes added to the kill list are displayed with a green checkmark. To stop the list’s processes, click the dynamite button at the bottom left.
The best part about this approach is that you don’t have to tear down each process one by one. This Kill List remains even after you close the program, so all you need to do is run KillProcess itself to kill all unwanted processes at once.
Many ways to end a process in Windows 10
There are multiple ways to end a process in Windows 10. The easiest method is to use the Task Manager. It allows you to view and terminate processes in an easy-to-understand GUI format.
In case the Task Manager is unable to stop the process, you should use something more powerful. You can try a third-party utility such as KillProcess or use command-line tools to terminate the protected process.
To permanently shut down unnecessary background processes, prevent them from starting automatically, or add them to the KillProcess kill list.