Kill Processes from Command Promt

I know you are familiar with the traditional way to kill or end a process in Windows using Task Manager.  This method is effective but killing processes in Command Prompt provides much more control and the ability to end multiple processes at once.  All of this is possible with the TaskKill command. First, let's cover the basics.  You can kill a process by the process ID (PID) or by image name (EXE filename).
Open up an Administrative level Command Prompt and run tasklist to see all of the running processes:
In the example above you can see the image name and the PID for each process. If you want to kill the firefox process run:
C:\>Taskkill /IM firefox.exe /F
C:\>Taskkill /PID 2200 /F 
The /f flag is kills the process forcefully.

If you have multiple instances of an image open such as multiple firefox.exe processes, running the taskkill /IM firefox.exe command will kill all instances. When you specify the PID only the specific instane of firefox will be terminated. The real power of taskkill are the filtering options that allow you to use the following variables and operators.

  • PID
  • eq (equals)
  • ne (not equal)
  • gt (greater than)
  • lt (less than)
  • ge (greater than or equal)
  • le (less than or equal)
  • "*" is the wildcard.
You can use the variables and operators with the /FI filtering flag.  For example, let's say you want to end all processes that have a window title that starts with "Internet":
 C:\>taskkill /FI "WINDOWTITLE eq Internet*" /F 
How about killing all processes running under the Shawn account:
C:\>taskkill /FI "USERNAME eq Shawn" /F
It is also possible to kill a process running on a remote computer with taskkill.  Just run the following to kill notepad.exe on a remote computer called ShawnDesktop:
C:\>taskkill /S ShawnDesktop /U RemoteAccountName /P RemoteAccountPassword /IM notepad.exe /F

To learn more about taskkill run it with the /? command just like any other Windows command.

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