Windows: How to Quit or Exit a Frozen, Locked-Up, Nonresponding Program

Okay, this is a little newbie. However, I need to get my recipe numbers up. I want one of those free t-shirts too! This walks a user through stopping a program that has crashed or locked up.

If a program has locked up, your data in that program is toast. Toast. Bye-bye. Gone. You can sit there and stare at it for a while to make sure… if you wish. However, you are probably hosed.

This will walk you through the steps to shut down a program that has locked up. Any data in that program that you have not previously saved will be losted.


    1. Press these three keys at the same time:
    2. A security box or the taskmanager will be appear
    (If the security box opens, press the Task Manager button)
    3. Press the Applications Tab
    4. Single left-click on the task that is not responding to select it
    5. Press the End Task button
    6. A message box will appear that says:
    Program is not responding. End task?
    7. Click End Task
    8. The program will close after a few seconds


    1. CTRL-ALT-Delete is called the “three-fingered shuffle.” So when you hear geeks talk, you’ll now know what that means.
    2. Hitting CTRL-ALT-Delete repeatedly or when the task manager is open will causing the computer to shut down and restart

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Patricia

    thank u so much i will use this forever. it helped soooo much

  • Billy

    You just saved my life!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Cool, thanks!! I’ve been staring at iTunes for 2 days now. lol Thanks again!

  • farzad

    where should i star the progeram?

  • maria

    diz didnt help me at all

  • john neeting

    I know this but what I want to do is this –
    1. a window pops up on the screen saying a program is not responding.
    2. I go to task manager to have a look and the damn thing is RUNNING and I DON’T want to close it down because it’s in the middle of something important.
    If I ignore the notice [ push that stupid window out of sight on the screen ] instead of clicking ‘don’t send’ which will end the program [ something I don’t want to do] my program happily completes it task and keeps on running. Which means the notice is either bogus or started running again after it poped up.
    NOW- what I want to know is
    Is there anyway I can CANCEL the actual pop up without having the thing close down my program. Seems it doesn’t give you any choice which is stupid if the program recovers.

  • Roscislaw

    OK, your answer is well-known standard. But please tell me what to do if “End task”, “End process”, “End process tree” do NOT wark, as well as instruction:
    C:\Windows\System32\taskkill.exe /F /FI “STATUS eq NOT RESPONDING”.

    The processes are “Dashboard.exe” and “Seagate.Dashboard.Uploader.exe” by SEAGATE.

  • Sussana Lee

    windows update stuck on 37% for 20min, then shutting down for 12 min. ctrl alt del did not work. hit the power button. waited 8 min. power on. update went from 37% 40 42 50 all the way to my login page. in about 15 seconds. yay! maybe laptop was too warm?