Manage Windows Processes from the Command Line with TASKLIST and TASKKILL

Only available on XP Professional systems, the TASKLIST and TASKKILL commands allow you to view (and kill, when necessary) the same running processes visible from the Processes tab in Task Manager. For more information on using these tools to view and kill tasks, see the steps below.

Step 1: Open the command prompt and type tasklist at the command line. Press Enter. A list of all running processes will appear, including useful information such as the process name and Process ID (PID). Note the PID of the task you wish to terminate.

Step 2: To kill a process, you need to identify it in conjunction with the TASKKILL command. For example, to terminate a task with a PID of 1572, enter the command taskkill /PID 1572 and press Enter.

Step 3: To confirm that the intended process has been killed, issue the tasklist command again and press Enter. The process associated with the PID specified in Step 2 should no longer be running. Issue the taskkill /? command for more information on how processes can be terminated.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.