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TaskKill: Kill process from command line (CMD)

We can kill a process from GUI using Task manager. If you want to do the same from command line., then taskkill is the command you are looking for. This command has got options to kill a task/process either by using the process id or by the image file name.

Kill a process using image name:

We can kill all the processes running a specific executable using the below command.

taskkill /IM executablename

Kill all processes running mspaint.exe:

c:\>taskkill /IM mspaint.exe
SUCCESS: Sent termination signal to the process "mspaint.exe" with PID 1972.

Kill a process forcibly

In some cases, we need to forcibly kill applications. For example, if we try to to kill Internet explorer with multiple tabs open, tasklist command would ask the user for confirmation. We would need to add /F flag to kill IE without asking for any user confirmation.

taskkill /F /IM iexplore.exe

/F : to forcibly kill the process. If not used, in the above case it will prompt the user if the opened pages in tabs need to be saved.

To kill Windows explorer, the following command would work

C:\>taskkill /F /IM explorer.exe
SUCCESS: The process "explorer.exe" with PID 2432 has been terminated.

The above command would make all GUI windows disappear. You can restart explorer by running ‘explorer’ from cmd.


Not using /F option, would send a terminate signal. In Windows 7, this throws up a shutdown dialog to the user.

C:\>taskkill /IM explorer.exe
SUCCESS: Sent termination signal to the process "explorer.exe" with PID 2432.

Kill a process with process id:

We can use below command to kill a process using process id(pid).

taskkill /PID  processId

Kill a process with pid 1234.

taskkill /PID 1234

Kill processes consuming high amount of memory

taskkill /FI "memusage gt value"

For example, to kill processes consuming more than 100 MB memory, we can run the below command

taskkill /FI "memusage gt 102400"

More examples

Sometimes applications get into hung state when they are overloaded or if the system is running with low available memory. When we can’t get the application to usable state, and closing the application does not work, what we usually tend to do is kill the task/process. This can be simply done using taskkill command.
To kill firefox browser application

taskkill /F /IM firefox.exe

To kill MS Word application(Don’t do this if you haven’t saved your work)

taskkill /F /IM WinWord.exe

Sometimes, the command window itself might not be responding. You can open a new command window and kill all the command windows

taskkill /F /IM cmd.exe

This even kills the current command window from which you have triggered the command.

1 comment… add one
  • Karim


    i have a question about this.
    I have a process that runs in my domain that puts outlook suspended. As soon as I do a task kill forced as administrator it runs.

    I wrote a little script, now i want to add admin rights to the script via GPO.

    Can you help me with that?

    Kind regards,


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