XP’s Powerful “Tskill” and “Taskkill” Commands

You probably know that in XP (all versions), Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn’t reboot the PC (as it does in Win98), but rather brings up the Task Manager, which shows you (among other things) all the top-level tasks (like "Word," "Excel," "Eudora" or what not) that are running; and the individual low-level processes created or controlled by the operating system and the top-level tasks.

You can use the Task Manager to terminate a hung or errant task or process. You simply select it from the list and click "End Task" or "End Process."

Of course, you also can use this to kill a task or process that isn’t hung, although you must do so with caution: A forced exit may cause you to lose any unsaved data generated by a task, for example. But if there is no unsaved data in play, then usually no harm is done.

But you don’t really need Task manager for that: The "Tskill" command (without the quotes) actually can do the same thing. If you’re running a program called XYZ, you can kill it by typing

TSKILL XYZ /A



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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.