How to list running processes and kill them via the command line


Thanks to James for letting me know that there’s an easy way to list and kill processes from the Windows Vista command line.


Back in the days (pre-Microsoft) when I was an UNIX network administrator I often used the command “ps -ef” to list the running processes.Task Manager on Windows gets the job done but somehow doesn’t feel quite right to me. Eurka – Windows Vista provides the commands “tasklist” and “taskkill”. Such commands will be handy for use in scripts of course too.


The following extract is from a Windows shell session to show you the interface:


E:\Users\stephlam>tasklist


Image Name                     PID Session Name        Session#    Mem Usage
========================= ======== ================ =========== ============
System Idle Process              0                            0         16 K
System                           4                            0        900 K
smss.exe                       408                            0        524 K
csrss.exe                      468                            0      4,868 K
wininit.exe                    508                            0      2,808 K
csrss.exe                      548 Console                    1     12,052 K
services.exe                   564                            0      4,296 K
lsass.exe                      576                            0      2,568 K
lsm.exe                        584                            0      3,104 K
winlogon.exe                   644 Console                    1      3,832 K
svchost.exe                    780                            0      4,732 K
svchost.exe                    848                            0      5,720 K
svchost.exe                    876                            0      7,872 K
LogonUI.exe                    916 Console                    1      9,692 K
svchost.exe                    976                            0      8,644 K
svchost.exe                   1000                            0     23,836 K
SLsvc.exe                     1040                            0      3,944 K
svchost.exe                   1064                            0      8,708 K
svchost.exe                   1256                            0      2,280 K
svchost.exe                   1308                            0     48,900 K
svchost.exe                   1336                            0     11,176 K
wisptis.exe                   1376 Console                    1      4,592 K
spoolsv.exe                   1528                            0      7,416 K
audiodg.exe                   1596                            0      7,144 K
svchost.exe                   1616                            0      7,092 K
inetinfo.exe                  2024                            0      4,572 K
InoRpc.exe                     320                            0      3,572 K
InoRT.exe                      540                            0      8,396 K
InoTask.exe                    832                            0      6,348 K
svchost.exe                   1740                            0      3,960 K
svchost.exe                   1768                            0      2,240 K
SRUserService.exe              956                            0      4,488 K
svchost.exe                   1964                            0      4,184 K
vmh.exe                       1808                            0      2,744 K
svchost.exe                   2060                            0      3,680 K
svchost.exe                   2072                            0      2,056 K
SearchIndexer.exe             2096                            0     38,236 K
WUDFHost.exe                  2200                            0      3,512 K
CcmExec.exe                   2276                            0     13,056 K
vssrvc.exe                    2352                            0      5,724 K
WmiPrvSE.exe                  2692                            0      5,028 K
wisptis.exe                   3428 Console                    1      5,020 K
TabTip.exe                    3452 Console                    1     12,244 K
dwm.exe                       3572 Console                    1     89,924 K
explorer.exe                  3580 Console                    1     39,060 K
taskeng.exe                   2780                            0      4,748 K
taskeng.exe                    500 Console                    1      8,688 K
WmiPrvSE.exe                  2524                            0      5,288 K
MSASCui.exe                   3188 Console                    1      6,156 K
Realmon.exe                   3292 Console                    1      5,752 K
00THotkey.exe                 3412 Console                    1      5,600 K
TRot.exe                      1436 Console                    1      3,744 K
wmdWatch.exe                  1168 Console                    1      3,732 K
sidebar.exe                   2532 Console                    1     28,832 K
msnmsgr.exe                   2944 Console                    1      4,464 K
svchost.exe                   1912                            0      5,128 K
communicator.exe              3948 Console                    1     55,100 K
Msmsgs.exe                    1948 Console                    1      2,224 K
ehtray.exe                    3684 Console                    1      1,724 K
ONENOTEM.EXE                  3272 Console                    1        444 K
ehmsas.exe                    1240 Console                    1      3,072 K
ehsched.exe                   4000                            0      3,908 K
InputPersonalization.exe      3060 Console                    1      8,512 K
unsecapp.exe                  2932 Console                    1      4,068 K
ehrecvr.exe                   4408                            0      4,544 K
ieuser.exe                    1480 Console                    1     17,312 K
iexplore.exe                  3248 Console                    1     42,036 K
WINWORD.EXE                   5744 Console                    1     39,392 K
TrustedInstaller.exe          5344                            0      3,364 K
cmd.exe                       6136 Console                    1      2,208 K
SearchFilterHost.exe          5224                            0      7,016 K
SearchProtocolHost.exe        5844 Console                    1     11,424 K
iexplore.exe                  6016 Console                    1     60,448 K
cmd.exe                       5108 Console                    1      2,132 K
notepad.exe                   3080 Console                    1      6,792 K
WmiPrvSE.exe                  3120                            0      6,108 K
tasklist.exe                  5516 Console                    1      4,148 K


E:\Users\stephlam>taskkill /pid 3080
SUCCESS: Sent termination signal to the process with PID 3080.


 


 

Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Problem You want a quick way to kill a process on your system, or kill and restart an ASP.NET or IIS

  2. Anonymous says:

    When  I made my "Vista Cool wall" post, I said there were some new command line tools. I came across…

  3. James Saull says:

    If this floats your boat, then you should be spending some time with the new Windows Power Shell (FKA Monad). If that does not satisfy your ps -ef | grep… needs then you need to just install a KSH on Vista ;o)

  4. Arthur says:

    Hiya,

    Taskkill is also avalable under XP …

    Sometimes the PID is not displayed so My personal favourite is

    taskkill /f /im "process/service_name"

    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

    The same command line can also be used to kill multiple processes

    taskkill /f /im iexplorer.exe /im calc.exe

    Does this make sense ?

    A

  5. Steve Lamb says:

    Arthur> Thanks for your suggestions. I noticed yesterday that it’s available on XP and most likely 2003 too though I haven’t tried that.

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