How to close an unresponsive program or app using Task Manager on your PC

05 Jan

In this article I’m going to explain the basic way to close a piece of software, app or program that is not responding or has frozen, using Task Manager. Images are from Windows 10 and do differ from previous versions, but they all have these particular features and functions. I’m writing this post in preparation for one on reopening programs using Task Manager, coming next week.

Why do I need to use Task Manager to close a program?

Sometimes, with the best will in the world. programs or apps freeze or stop working, and the little X in the top right-hand corner that you use to close it just will not work.

If this happens, you need to go to the central program which shows what is running on your computer to force the program to shut down. This is the Task Manager.

How do I open Task Manager?

You can use the Windows button or the search bar in Windows 10 to find Task Manager, but I and most people who use it use the keystroke combination control-alt-delete to bring it up. That means pressing and holding down the Control key, the Alt key and the Delete key at the same time.

You may then get a menu which offers you Task Manager.

Task Manager has a list of the open programs and also how much of the computer’s attention or memory they’re using up. It looks like this in Windows 10 when you open it


and you can End tasks from here, but then if you select More details you will see a list with more information (in older versions, you will get the more full list straight away and be able to click on CPU etc):

Task manager Windows 10

This shows you everything that’s open and how much memory etc. it’s using. Although there is a large amount of information here, we’re going to concentrate on closing a program that has got stuck and won’t let you close it in the normal way.

How do I close a frozen software application using Task Manager?

You can do this in two ways:

  1. Click on the program you wish to close and click the End task button:

close application using task manager

2. Sometimes, the End task button will read Re-start but you just want to end it. If this happens, or as an alternative, right-click on the application you’re concerned about and then choose End task:

right click to end task

You can then click the X in the top right-hand side of Task Manager to close it.

In this article, I’ve explained how to use Task Manager to close a program, software application or app which has frozen and won’t allow you to close it in the standard way.


Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Computers, Windows


5 responses to “How to close an unresponsive program or app using Task Manager on your PC

  1. The Story Reading Ape

    January 6, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    In case you need to know 😀


  2. The Owl Lady

    January 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Reblogged this on The Owl Lady.


  3. Audrey Driscoll

    January 7, 2017 at 1:23 am

    I find that websites and, indeed, some WordPress blogs that have advertising are the main reasons for freezing, while the ad video loads. Unfortunately, closing down Firefox (or whatever browser you use) closes everything you opened with that browser, not just the offending site. But Task Manager is a good thing to know about. (At my former workplace it was known as “Taskmaster” for some reason).


    • Liz Dexter

      January 7, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I agree, it’s really annoying when it’s just one tab in your browser and it all has to close. But it’s still most often Word for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Don Massenzio

    January 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Did you ever have a program freeze up on your PC? Here’s a useful post from the libroediting blog to help you use the Task Manager to close it.



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