Windows xKill

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 18, 2008
Updated • Feb 10, 2013
Software, Windows, Windows software

The only way to terminate an application in Windows when it freezes is to open the Windows Task Manager and terminate it this way. It sometimes works by right-clicking the application in the Windows Statusbar and selecting close but this option is usually not working as well. It can also happen that it takes some time before the Windows Task Manager comes up or maybe not at all if the frozen application is using up all system resources or preventing other programs from being launched, even those with high priority like the task manager. But even if you can open the task manager, you sometimes may not be able to terminate a running process on the system if it hangs somehow.

Windows xKill is a port of the Linux xKill program to Windows. The application is fully portable and sits in the Windows Taskbar after startup. The global keyboard shortcut [CTRL ALT Backspace] will load the application and display a skull and crossbones that is following the mouse cursor. The next click on a window or application will automatically terminate the instance.

Pressing [ESC] will close the application again which can be useful for testing purposes or when the application terminated in the meantime. You can alternatively kill the program from within the Windows Task Manager. This may be your only option if you have configured the program to not display an icon in the tray when it is running.

The software program uses a little bit more than 4 Megabyte of computer memory while running and can be useful to terminate frozen applications faster than usual.

Update: The program is compatible with all recent versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system including Windows 8. Note that you can only use it on the desktop of Windows 8 and not the start screen area.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Martin said on March 12, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    An even quicker way to open Task Manager is by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

  2. archie bald said on March 12, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    Win+Pause used to be the goto shortcut for me since… W95… Ms recently hijacked it and you now get Sysinfo. Device manager is still accessible this way: the second to last link at the bottom.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.