How to fix "Unable to terminate process" error in Windows?

Question

Issue: How to fix "Unable to terminate process" error in Windows?

Hello. One of my applications in Windows froze. I tried to force quit it but I received the “Unable to terminate process” error in Task Manager. What should I do?

Solved Answer

Windows users may find the “Unable to terminate process” or “Access is denied” error a bothersome problem since it prohibits them from terminating undesirable programs and processes using the Task Manager. The performance of the system may be impacted by issues like unresponsive programs, higher resource utilization, and others as a result. There are several potential solutions you can try if you are experiencing this error.

These include using the Alt + F4 keyboard shortcut to close unresponsive programs, running Task Manager as an administrator to gain the necessary permissions to terminate certain processes, using the “taskkill” command in Command Prompt, using WMIC (Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line), or using a Task Manager alternative such as Process Explorer.

It's important to note that you may need to have administrative privileges[1] in order to use some of these methods to terminate processes. In addition, it's always a good idea to be careful when terminating processes, as ending certain system processes can cause problems or even crash your system. It's always a good idea to do some research and make sure you understand the implications of terminating a particular process before you do so.

If there are any underlying Windows system issues that lead to unresponsive programs, you should use a maintenance tool like ReimageMac Washing Machine X9. It can fix most system errors, BSODs,[2] corrupted files, registry[3] issues. Otherwise, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Unable to terminate process

Solution 1. Use the Alt + F4 Shortcut

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If you encounter the “Unable to terminate process” error on Windows while using an app or program, you may be able to resolve it by using the Alt + F4 keyboard shortcut. This can be used to close an unresponsive program. To use the shortcut, switch to the program you want to close and press Alt + F4 on your keyboard at the same time. This should allow you to close the program, provided the error was due to a temporary glitch.

Solution 2. Launch Task Manager as an Administrator

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To open Task Manager with elevated rights and try to terminate a system process that you are currently unable to end, you can follow these steps:

  • Click the magnifying icon on the taskbar to open the
  • Type Task Manager in the box and select Run as administrator from the options
  • When the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears, select Yes to continue

Launch Task Manager as an Administrator

  • Right-click on the process you want to terminate and select End task from the context menu

Solution 3. Use the Taskkill Command

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You can use the “taskkill” command in Command Prompt to terminate a process on Windows. Here is how to use it:

  • Find the name of the process you want to terminate by going to the Details tab in the Task Manager
  • Press the Windows key + S to open the search menu and type Command Prompt
  • Select Run as administrator from the options
  • When the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears, select Yes to continue
  • Type the following command and press Enter:

taskkill /IM “ProcessName” /T /F

Use the Taskkill Command

  • Replace ProcessName with the actual name of the process you want to terminate
  • You should see a confirmation message indicating that the process was terminated successfully

Solution 4. Use the WMIC Command

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You can use WMIC (Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line) to terminate a process on Windows. Here is how to do it:

  • Find the name of the process you want to terminate
  • Open Command Prompt with administrative privileges using any method you prefer
  • Paste the following command in the console, replacing ProcessName with the actual name of the process you want to terminate:

wmic process where name='processname.exe' delete

Use the WMIC Command

  • Press Enter to execute the command. This should terminate the specified process.

Solution 5. Use Process Explorer

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If you did not resolve the “Access is denied” error using the methods described above, you may want to consider using a Task Manager alternative such as Process Explorer. Here is how to use it to terminate a process:

Use Process Explorer

Process Explorer is a system task management utility for Windows that provides detailed information about the processes running on a computer. It is a more advanced version of the built-in Task Manager, with a number of additional features and capabilities.

It was created by Sysinternals, a software company that was acquired by Microsoft in 2006. Sysinternals was known for creating a number of advanced system utilities for Windows, including Process Explorer, as well as tools for network and security analysis, file management, and more.

Solution 6. Restart your Device

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Finally, if none of these steps solved the issue, restarting your PC or laptop is the only option left. Restarting your system should definitely get rid of the task you are unable to terminate.

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Recover your lost files quickly

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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