September 20, 2021

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Windows 7/8/10: Program cannot be stopped – What now?

3 min read

If you no longer want to use software, close it. Sometimes that does not work; so how to deal with such stubborn software?

Not every software runs with affection: sometimes the surface disturbs, a high power consumption, or the (too big or small) functionality makes a software less desirable. Some programs are even suspected of causing problems. The solution is to stop or uninstall such interferers.

Exit program with X.
Windows on-board tools and installed programs usually show a close button in the upper right corner – click on the X. If the closing cross is missing in an idiosyncratic program, try ending it by pressing Alt-F4: you hold the first key, then tap the second one. It is important that the problem window is in the foreground. Just tap on the F4 function key briefly, otherwise unwanted software will stop. For problem-free running programs, the standard procedure described leads to success.

Task Manager
The task manager can shoot any programs, especially handy when the title bar X button fails. For example, start the tool with Ctrl-Shift-Esc and under Windows 8.1/10, first click on “More Details.” If you right-click a program under “Processes” (Windows 7) or “Details” (Windows 8.1 / 10m) a context menu opens – select “End process” (Windows 7) or “End task” (Windows 8.1/10.)

Taskkill with f-parameter
Other ways to end: resource monitor and command line. The on-board resources are to be called up with Windows-R or cmd. The resource monitor Resmon [Resource Monitor] is an interesting task manager alternative, especially under Windows 7; The context menu serves to terminate processes. In the command line, type a command to kill a process such as:

taskkill /im paint.exe

The process name in above example refers to Windows Paint and has to be adapted.
Extend the taskkill command with the / f parameter – it works more effectively. The f stands for “force” and forces the termination. For example, delete the taskname.exe as follows:

taskkill /f /im taskname.exe
Some safety programs have self-protection that prevents them from ending. This is advantageous with security software so that Viruses, Trojans & Co. have a harder time over the digital bodyguard. For example, if you’re using Avast Free Antivirus and want to quit AvastUI.exe through Task Manager, Windows will report “Access Denied.” If you have good reason to quit, look in the settings of an affected (security) program for an option to disable self-protection. In the case of Avast Free Antivirus, go to “Menu> Settings> Troubleshooting” – uncheck “Enable self-protection” and confirm with “Yes.” Remember to turn the defensive wall back on later. Some tools have a sophisticated process mesh: they start multiple processes that monitor each other and restart each other when you stop one. In case of suspected tool, a virus scan via emergency CD/ stick, such as Kaspersky Rescue Disk or F-Secure Rescue CD is recommended – they clean the PC without running Windows “from the outside.”

Stop services and idle process
A special form of the programs are services: Windows provides with the mini-programs functions that use on-board means. Services do not have their own interface; they remain in the background. The Services Manager gives you an overview: You start it with Windows-R and services.msc – and close some helpers in the window (right-click and shortcut menu command “Quit”.) Traps lurk in the detail: Depending on the service, Windows opens a window and requests the termination of further services. If you do not agree, you will not delete the selected service. Even if you affirm the multiple operation, it does not always work with the termination. To remove a pending service from memory, change the startup type by double-clicking on its entry, select “Disable” and save. The setting prohibits manual and automatic service call. Restarting Windows, no longer loads the corresponding service.

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