Kill Problem Applications Like a Ninja

Linux fans who run Windows (for any number of reasons) can finally rejoice, xkill has essentially been cloned and is available as a free download . This Windows copycat of the popular xkill utility is aptly named – Kill.

Kill allows you to end the process behind an application simply by clicking on the application Window. Think of it like having the power to terminate in the tip of your finger. When you load up Kill and left click on a window, Windows attempts to close it as though you had simply clicked the close button. This will cause the program to close in its normal way, often prompting you to save your work.

Holding CTRL while you click the application triggers the more dangerous end-process that would normally be done through the Task Manager. This immediately kills the underlying process and forcing the application to terminate. No prompts this time. Here’s a demo of Kill in action.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, six pictures will tell the story of how to use this amazing little utility. For my example, I’m going to kill calc.exe, the calculator application that comes with Windows.

Start by downloading Kill from The current version is 1.0 and the total download is 205KB.

Here you see that Calculator is open and to the left of the program is my desktop icon for kill.exe. Start the Kill utility by simply double-clicking it.

If you are using Vista, the following warning will likely be displayed. Click Run to allow the Kill program to continue. Once loaded, your mouse cursor will change and you should now see a skull and crossbones next to it.

Now click on the window of the application that you want to end. In this case I’ll click on the Calculator window.

And voila! The program ends.

Again, this is great for applications that have frozen up and just won’t respond to the conventional mouse clicks to close it. I really love that this utility is no fuss, no mess – meaning that it doesn’t install itself into your system. You simply run it when you need it.

If by chance you activate it accidentally, you can get your cursor back to normal by pressing the ESC key.

As an additional tip, the author recommends placing Kill in your Quick Launch bar for easy access.


Norm is a a Canadian IT professional with 12 years of experience under his belt as a Technology Architect, Microsoft Certified Application Developer and as an Analyst. He has written numerous articles for multiple technology blogs, in addition to his own blog

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