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How to Force Quit Apps in Windows and macOS

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Posted in: Apple, Microsoft or Windows, Tech Tips

Forcing a frozen application to quit in Windows and macOS is sometimes the only way get out of an unresponsive program.

Now, while force-quitting may be the easiest option, it can lead to unwanted consequences. When you close an application in the traditional way, you may be prompted to save your work before closing. However, when you force-quit, you may end up losing data or files — we’ve all had this happen! Thus, it is important to “save often” and use this method only as a last resort. With that said, here are a couple of methods to force quit on Windows and macOS, respectively.

Force Quit an App on Windows

Use your keyboard

The most common way to close an unresponsive app on Windows is to use the keyboard shortcut of Alt + F4. This combination of keys tells the operating system to terminate the currently active window. Use it wisely.

Use the Task Manager

Every application running on Windows is listed in the Windows Task Manager. Task Manager does many things; one of its features allows you to see system resource usage of a running program. If you see an app reaching 100% CPU usage, it means that the application is running very high and likely hogging all sorts of memory (this can sometimes be the cause of frozen programs). You can also use Task Manager to force quit applications that are unresponsive.

  • Launch Task Manager by right-clicking the Taskbar and selecting Task Manager
  • Browse the list of running apps and locate the app that isn’t responding
  • Right-click the unresponsive app > choose End Task. This will force shut the application

Force Quit an App on macOS

Use the Apple Menu or Keyboard Shortcut

This is the most efficient and convenient way to close frozen applications on a Mac.

  • Click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner
  • Choose “Force Quit” from the drop-down
  • You will be directed to a new window called “Force Quit Application”
  • Select the application that is unresponsive and tap “Force Quit”

Or you can simply press the keyboard shortcut – Option + Command + Esc to perform the action)

Close the Application from Activity Monitor

Similar to Task Manager in Windows, Macs also have a “task manager” — it’s called Activity Monitor.

  • Go to Spotlight on your Mac and search for Activity Monitor
  • Once open, you will see a list of processes
  • From the list, choose the unresponsive application and tap on ‘Force a process to quit’
  • The application will force shut
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