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I'm searching for Windows tool which can induce termination of selected process/application in different way then standard End Process button in the Task Manager. I'd find it useful for

  • testing my own applications
  • killing some protected applications like Symantec AV Scanner (if it takes 40% CPU but is configured by policies to prevent exiting)
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  • I use taskkill.exe that ships with Windows. It also has a /f force option.
    – Lucas65
    Sep 18, 2014 at 21:26
  • But it does the same as Task Manager so it doesn't answer original question.
    – miroxlav
    Sep 19, 2014 at 22:35

2 Answers 2

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Being a Linux user only using a Windows machine when forced to (e.g. at work), I prefer the command-line tools I'm used to. Though there's no 100% equivalent on Windows, there are at least the PSTools offered by MS' own „SysInternals” – according to the page, supported from „Windows XP and higher”.

The kit contains several useful command-line tools. Interesting for your case are mainly PsList (to list running processes similarly to the Linux/Unix ps command), and PsKill to terminate processes. You can even use these tools to list/kill processes on a remote Windows machine, if needed. As with the solution miroxlav proposed, you might need to specify the Administrator user as the executing one (with the -u parameter), and the corresponding password of course (-p parameter to the mentioned tools).

As both are command-line tools: Sorry, no fancy screenshot ☺


As it turned out in the comments, pskill seems not to differ in functionality. Moreover, as pointed out in a question on our sister-site StackOverflow1, it cannot fulfill the requirement of terminating protected applications. So if this is a must-have, I might instead point to another tool:

Process Hacker is explicitly reported being able to do that (as pointed out in the last comment on the mentioned question1):

Process Hacker
Process Hacker (source: Homepage; click image for larger variant)

The tool further includes graphs and statistics to track down resource hogs and runaway processes, helps you find out which process is locking a file you cannot delete, shows active network connections by application, and much more.

Not being a Windows user myself (and currently not even having a Windows machine available), I cannot speak of personal experiences, though. But searching for reviews just found the tool highly praised, as e.g. in this review of PCWorld.


1: Terminating a protected antivirus process

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  • Is PsKill capable of stopping protected processes? (Process where End Task button in Task Manager throws window that this process cannot be stopped.) If not, then I see low added value compared to that End Task button.
    – miroxlav
    Sep 19, 2014 at 11:00
  • That's a question of what user executes it IMHO – which is why I wrote you might need to specify the Administrator user as the executing one (using the -u and -p parameters).
    – Izzy
    Sep 19, 2014 at 11:30
  • OK, so from your note I understand you confirm it is capable.
    – miroxlav
    Sep 19, 2014 at 16:15
  • I have never tried it (no such application here) – but given the Administrator credentials, I cannot see how it should fail. As it's written by the same company that wrote the OS (and further called SysInternals), they should know how the sys internals work I'd say ;)
    – Izzy
    Sep 19, 2014 at 16:19
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    OK, I tested Process Hacker on my machine. I choose APT. Process Hacker is great and open source. Still I chose APT because Process Hacker (1) has only one way of termination and APT offers multiple (including crashes), (2) with non-abortable process I can't test Process Hacker right now but the APT is sucessfully tested with it. (3) I think the leftover pskill part of the post is still a bit misleading. (It might be at its right place under another question. Maybe you can create another question and put pskill as answer there.)
    – miroxlav
    Sep 22, 2014 at 12:59
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Advanced Process Termination does the job well.

It can kill selected application in several polite ways (various types of termination requests) as well as using some brutal crashes caused by injected code.

Do not forget to run the tool as Administrator.

This tool still cannot kill unkillable applications, there is no way to kill them.

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