Unable to terminate process error in Windows 10 [FIX]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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error 0x80070780 Windows 10

Users can usually close the software and other processes by clicking Task Manger’s End task button in Windows. However, Task Manager doesn’t always terminate processes. Some users have stated that an “Unable to terminate process” error message window pops up when they try to terminate certain processes. The error message states: “The operation could not be completed. Access is denied.”

Task Manager doesn’t terminate the required process when that error arises. Consequently, users can’t close unresponsive software or other service processes with Task Manager when the “Unable to terminate process” error message pops up. Nevertheless, there are a few other ways that users can potentially terminate the process for an unresponsive program.

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How do I fix the Unable to Terminate Process Error

  1. Press the Alt + F4 Key
  2. Switch to an Admin AccountSwitch
  3. Terminate the Process With Taskkill
  4. Terminate the Process With WMIC
  5. Check Out Alternative Task Managers

1. Press the Alt + F4 Key

Alt + F4 is a handy keyboard shortcut for closing unresponsive programs. Try pressing the Alt + F4 hotkey to force quit an unresponsive program when you can’t close it with Task Manager. Then users might not need to select the program’s process in Task Manager.


2. Switch to an Admin Account

Some users might need elevated rights to quit certain Task Manager processes. Thus, those users will need to switch to an admin account before they can terminate the process. Users can switch to the built-in Windows 10 admin account as follows.

  1. Press the Windows key + S hotkey.
  2. Enter ‘cmd’ in the Type here to search box.
  3. Right-click Command Prompt to select its Run as administrator option.
  4. Enter ‘net user administrator /active:yes’ in the Prompt, and press the Return key.net user administrator /active:yes cmd
  5. Thereafter, restart the desktop or laptop.
  6. Log in with the new admin account just set up.

3. Terminate the Process With Taskkill

There are a few Command Prompt commands that might terminate a process when Task Manager doesn’t. Users can try terminating the process with taskill instead. Open the Command Prompt as admin as outlined above.

Then enter ‘taskkill /im process-name /f’ in the Prompt’s window, and press the Return key. However, users will need to replace ‘process-name’ with the actual process name listed in Task Manager. To find the process detail, right-click the app or background process listed in Task Manager and select Go to details, which will open the tab shown in the snapshot directly below. Replace ‘process-name’ with the process listed on that tab.

taskkill /im process-name /f kill process cmd


4. Terminate the Process With WMIC

Alternatively, a Windows Management Instrument Console (WMIC) command might terminate the required process. Enter ‘wmic process where name=‘myprocessname.exe’ delete’ in an elevated Command Prompt, and press the Return key. Users will need to replace ‘myprocessname.exe’ with the actual process by checking the Details tab for it much the same as required for the taskill command.

wmic process where name cmd kill process


5. Check Out Alternative Task Managers

There are numerous third-party Task Manager alternatives that might terminate the process for which the “Unable to terminate process” error occurs. Some third-party task manager utilities display more extensive system details and include more options. Process Hacker, System Explorer, and Process Explorer are among the more notable alternatives to Task Manager that might terminate the required process when TM doesn’t.

  1. To add System Explorer to Windows 10, click Download Now on the software’s website.
  2. Then launch SE’s installer to install the software, and open System Explorer’s window shown directly below.System Explorer application
  3. Select Processes on the left of the window.
  4. Then right-click the process and select End Process (or End Process Tree).System Explorer processes end process

So, there’s more than one way to terminate software and services in Windows. When the “Unable to terminate process” error arises, try closing the required process with the Alt + F4 hotkey, Command Prompt commands, or third-party software as outlined above.

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