Tech Tip: Terminate processes without rebooting

When a process stops responding on a Windows 9x computer, you don't always want to have to shut the whole system down and start over again with a reboot.

One way to stop stalled programs is to use [Ctrl][Alt][Delete], select the application that isn't responding, and click End Task. But in some instances, it's more convenient to use the command line. Two utilities from the Windows 98 Resource Kit can help: TLIST and KILL. These commands also work with Windows 95.

TLIST is a simple utility that lists all the running processes—or tasks—along with the process ID (PID) assigned to each process. Type tlist at a command prompt, and identify the PID of the process you want to terminate. Note that the PID may start with a dash [-].

With the PID number, you can use the KILL utility to terminate the process that's associated with the PID. KILL accepts the PID number as a command-line argument to stop a process. For example:

Kill –456822

You can also use the KILL command to terminate a group of processes based on the process name or window title. This is a good way to shut down all instances of a failing application that opens up new instances of itself. The following command will terminate all the open Notepad windows:

Kill *note*

If the KILL command doesn't work, you can try using an –F switch to force a process to stop. However, be careful which processes you terminate. Some processes are required for the normal operation of Windows, and stopping them in this way could shut down your whole system.

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