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When using apps/programs on the computer, sometimes one program might experience long pauses or periods of unresponsiveness. You even cannot close the program by clicking the X button in its upper right corner. In this case, you would want a way to force the program to quit. Now, this post will show you three ways to force an unresponsive program to quit in Windows 10.

Way 1: Force an unresponsive program to quit using keyboard shortcut

Jan 22, 2016  There is no option to Force Quit in Windows 10, so users switching from Mac OS X will need to learn how to bring up the Task Manager utility. Step 2: Choose Apps to Close & Keep Open. Through the list of actions shown in the middle window, find 'Quit All Applications,' then double-click it to create a window on the right side of Automator.

When a program freezes up or does not respond for a long while and the X button does not work, you can try to force it to quit by pressing the Alt + F4 key on your physical keyboard. The Alt + F4 keyboard shortcut can force a program to quit when the program’s window is selected and active. When no window is selected, pressing Alt + F4 will force your computer to shut down.

Tips: Alt + F4 might not work for some cases. If Alt + F4 doesn’t work for your case, use any of the methods below.

Way 2: Force an unresponsive program to quit using Task Manager

  • Nov 06, 2019  Next, Force Quit.Get Force Quit Applications windows on screen then; Select App Force Quit (Force Quit App on Macos Mojave Shortcut keys: Command + ALT + ESCAPE) && Command + ALT + SHIFT + ESCAPE Method 3: Force Quit App on Mac via Activity Monitor tool. Just like windows users (Command + Alt + Delete for Task manager), OS X Users also use Activity monitor and close running.
  • Jun 21, 2020  One option for closing windows with keyboard shortcuts is as follows: Open the window that you would like to close using your mouse. Press and hold down the Alt key, then press the Spacebar to reveal the right-click context menu at the top of the program window you're trying to close.
  • Sep 25, 2018  Just updated to Mojave. I am a heavy iMessage user using the Messages app on my MacBook. I like to 'close' my windows for all my apps running and Mail and Messages would still run (black dot indicator below app icon on dock) in the background and when a new message arrived, I'd click Messages app and the app would pop up right away.

Task Manager is the most common way to quickly end a process or program on Windows computer.

Step 1: Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut or by right-clicking on your Windows 10 taskbar and then selecting Task Manager.

Step 2: If the Task Manager is displayed with a simple interface, click the More details button on the lower left corner to display its full screen.

Step 3: Select the Processes tab, and you will find the unresponsive program under the Apps section. To force the program to quit, just click on the program to highlight it, and then click the End task button in the lower right corner of the Task Manager window, or right-click on the program, and select End task.

Way 3: Force an unresponsive program to quit using Command Prompt

Sometimes, even Task Manager might not work. Then you have to use Command Prompt to terminate an unresponsive program. Here are the steps.

Step 1: Open a Command Prompt window by pressing Win + X and then select Command Prompt.

Step 2: Type tasklist and press Enter key. This will list all currently running tasks and programs on the computer. You can find the unresponsive program’s name from the list.

Step 3: Type taskkill /im program_name.exe and press Enter key. For example, in my case, I want to force the Excel program (i.e. Excel.exe) to quit, so I type taskkill /im excel.exe and press Enter. If everything went right, the command will run successfully, and the message 'Sent termination signal to the process Excel.exe with PID 5972' is displayed on the screen. The PID means the Process id which was defined by the Windows system.

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Ok, I get it. There is no equivalent to the PC’s Ctrl+Alt+Del shortcut on a Mac® to force quit an application. So how do I quit that annoying program that’s not responding?

Luckily, Apple® has you covered and gives you multiple options. The shortcut actually exists, and moreover, there are a few other extremely convenient ways to fight buggy apps. Today I’m going to list three easy ways to force-quit an application on a Mac, without harming the system.

Let’s dive in!

Is it Safe to Force Quit?

Forcing a frozen application to quit is the same as killing the symptoms when we get sick versus curing the virus. We need to see the bigger picture and understand what causes the problem and how to cure it while understanding how to avoid it from happening again.

The number one reason we have a problem with frozen applications in a Mac is insufficient RAM—or, in other words, a lack of computer memory to operate the system compared to the number of applications you usually open (including those numerous open tabs in a browser). So anytime your system utilizes all of its existing resourses to run the task, it becomes unresponsive. Think of RAM like a physical workbench. The more space (memory) you have to work, the more projects you can have out to work on. Less space? Less ability to work on multiple things at once.

Forcing Mac to quit the application does resolve the problem but may have downsides. When you close an application in the traditional manner, it will clean everything it runs in the background and alert you to save the work. When you force close on Mac, you may end up losing files and data, or mess things up on the drive. Although the effect will only be related to that one particular application that got stuck, sometimes it can hurt.

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Using a smart app like Parallels Toolbox can help you to free up unused memory on the fly and prevent the applications from getting frozen over and over again. The package includes over 30+ useful apps for everyday needs that any Mac user will benefit from, including downloading videos and music from sites like YouTube, taking screenshot or record videos, optimize your Mac performance, free up extra space and so much more.

You can download Toolbox and try it out for free here (no registration needed).

1. Force Quit Using the Apple Menu

The most conventional and effective way to close frozen programs is to go to the macOS® menu bar, located along the top of the screen in the Finder menu.

To force quit an application, simply do the following:

  1. Click on the black apple icon in the upper-left corner.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select “Force Quit…”. You will be directed to the new window named “Force Quit Application” where all the magic happens.
  3. Now all you have to do is select the application you want to close and choose “Force Quit.”

If you don’t know which application is stuck, pay attention to the ones that have the note “Not Responding.” This usually appears next to frozen applications.

2. Force Quit with Mac Shortcut

To do the same thing but faster, use Mac shortcut keys to close frozen applications.

  1. On your keyboard, press and hold Command + Option + Esc. It will immediately bring up a “Force Quit Application” window.
  2. Select the frozen application from the dialogue box and select “Force Quit.”

This could be your go-to method if the mouse or trackpad is lagging.

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3. Close Application from Activity Monitor (Ctrl+Alt+Del Alternative)

Here’s the pinnacle of this article.

Very few Apple owners know that macOS provides an almost identical alternative to the traditional PC Control+Alt+Delete shortcut—and does it better. Yes, we all know that in Windows that keyboard shortcut is often used to open the Task Manager window. (To be honest, it’s needed too often, which is why we’re on a Mac.) From Task Manager, you can track applications, services, performance, and processes, and kill some of them when they’re unresponsive.

You can easily do all of that and more on the macOS native application called Activity Monitor.

To kill an application using Activity Monitor, do the following.

1. On your keyboard, press Command + Space, or click on Spotlight in the top-right corner of the screen.

2. In the “Spotlight Search” window, start typing “Activity Monitor.”

3. Once Activity Monitor is highlighted, hit Enter.

4. In the Activity Monitor processes list, select the application you want to quit and click “Force a process to quit” in the left corner.

What to Do If Force Quit Isn’t Working?

If all the applications stop responding and you can’t quit them using one of the methods described above, you can force your Mac to restart. To do so, press and hold the Control+Command+Power buttons.

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Alternatively, you can force Mac to shut down by pressing and holding the power button, or use one of the many other shortcuts.

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What’s the Solution?

Since your Mac doesn’t have enough space to run all those applications you need, the most obvious step would be to increase the RAM. If you own an iMac® or the older generation of MacBook Pro®, you can simply buy memory and upgrade your existing computer. With the new Mac generation, you don’t have that option anymore because the RAM is glued and soldered to the motherboard. You either buy a new computer or struggle.

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Alternatively, you can clean your memory to free up space using Parallels® Toolbox. Parallels designed a tool set for macOS and PC users to efficiently manage their computer with just a few clicks—without any professional knowledge needed. Within the application (which is available to try for free), you can easily free up unused computer memory, clean your drive, and help your Mac run at max speed with a dozen other useful utilities.

If you’re interested in learning how easily one click can save precious disk space, check out how much space I took back with the Parallels Toolbox tool Clean Drive:

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In one click (and about 10 seconds), I successfully removed 4 GB of clutter and reclaimed space on my hard drive.

So there you have it. Take care of your Mac with those quick tips, and remember to always save your work!