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I have a process that I can't kill with either Task Manager or Process Explorer - I get the error "Access denied". The process isn't a Windows executable.

How can I kill it? Is there some tool I could use to override this protection?

I'm using Windows 7, 64-bit edition.

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would it be asked too much telling us which process you want to terminate? – Molly7244 Feb 17 '10 at 22:52
My Comodo firewall – Tony_Henrich Feb 20 '10 at 4:52
run command prompt as administrator. use taskkill /im <your process.exe> /f to end the process – tumchaaditya Jun 15 '12 at 12:08
@tumchaaditya: taskkill /im <process>: The process can only be terminated forcefully. taskkill /F /im <process>: There is no running intance of the task. :( TaskMgr as admin also can't kill it: Access is denied. – Mooing Duck May 16 '14 at 22:38
Would it be necessary to ask a separate question to ask why as an administrator of my own system I am "not allwoed" to kill a process on my own system? I could see a "warning" at most: "hey, if you kill this process, this, this and this will happen, would you still like to continue?" – IT Bear Sep 21 '14 at 5:19

Kill a protected process?

Works on Windows Server without admin rights! Yammie! :)

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Good tip! Was able to kill processes where Process Explorer was failing with access denied messages. – Ivan Karajas Jun 17 '12 at 23:42
Thanks! I was able to kill the "access denied" process with process hacker, this is great advice, this should be the chosen answer for this question. Thanks for also letting me know about this great software, I was unhappy with process explorer for a long time, now I've found a great replacement. – KoKo Oct 26 '12 at 18:52
Excellent tip! Proccesshacker is so awesome! It feels like a little bit of everyday magic in grey, dark world of access denied processes. – AHM Jan 31 '13 at 10:00
Yes yes yes ! Awesome tool ! – Julien N Jun 28 '13 at 14:01
Did not kill my process, but at least it gave a reason except "Access Denied" (which Task Manager and Process Explorer dit not: Unable to terminate OUTLOOK.EXE (PID 7588): An attempt was made to access an exiting process. – thomasa88 Aug 19 '13 at 15:00
  1. Download "process exlorer"
  2. On the process properties view, select the security tab.
  3. Press the permissions button.
  4. Press the advanced button.
  5. If necessary, add yourself or a group you belong to.
  6. Edit your permisisons to include "Terminate". (you will need to already have the "Change Permissions" permisison, or you are out of luck.)

alt text

In general the need to kill tasks means somebody is not doing something correctly. I'd look for another solution to whatever problem you are facing. Perhaps if you told us more about that we could find a more graceful option?

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Permissions button is grayed out, even though I'm an administrator and I'm running Process Explorer elevated. – cheeesus Feb 20 '14 at 7:57
This is not work for me to kill AVGUI.exe process but i did it using Process Hacker – Rikin Patel Mar 4 '14 at 9:18
My "Permissions" button isn't grayed out, but the dialog that comes up (in Windows-8) doesn't have all those available. Just 'Full', 'Read', 'Write' and 'Special'. – Jesse Chisholm Jun 8 '15 at 1:38
  1. Open Task Manager. Go to the Process Tab.
  2. Right click on the process and click on Properties.
  3. Click on the Security Tab and then click on Edit.
  4. On the Permissions window click on the Add button to open the Select Users Group or Groups window.
  5. On the Select Users or Groups window you can enter the usernames of the accounts you want apply the restrictions.
  6. Select your username and set the permissions to deny/allow by checking the checkbox under the deny/allow option.
  7. Click on Apply and then Ok.


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I am an admin and I have full control. – Tony_Henrich Feb 20 '10 at 4:56
Usually when you can't kill a process you can't change its permissions either – skan Jan 10 '12 at 0:43
Great for processes but what is for services? – sergzach Feb 19 '12 at 11:45
Hmm I tried it, but when I pressed Apply, it told me "ACCESS DENIED" – Jet Jun 24 '13 at 10:16
It doesn't work for me: Unable to save permission changes on ... Access is denied. – engineer Nov 27 '15 at 8:03

Are you on a privileged account? Generally when you receive the "Access Denied" error even on an account with higher access, it is usually because you are trying to kill a service which is critical to the system's operation. Some applications on the other hand, such as VMWare, also implement their own "process protection", even for processes which are not vital to system operation.

If you are on a privileged account, you can give Sysinternals PsKill a shot, I've used it in the past to kill processes that gave me similar error messages. Be careful what processes you're killing though, it may make your system unstable.

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If i am taking down my processes, will it be still unstable ? – Big Leonardo Jan 24 '12 at 13:13
However pskill can't kill any process. In my case it can't kill nginx wrapper that is not critical process. It's a service but not a usual process. – sergzach Feb 19 '12 at 11:42

You just need to give process explorer administrative privileges, no need of adding any account or not (if you're already an admin). There is no need of telling which processes to terminate or not or installing any other process manager (even I love Process Explorer).


  • Right-click and "Run as administrator"

  • Go to properties and then compatibility and select "Run as administrator"

Now it'll never say access denied.

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Um Yea, it can still say "access denied". If the process is started with security flags that alter the terminate permission in the process ACL, you won't be able to terminate it until you can change that permissions on the process. Antivirus process often do this on purpose (mostly just to be annoying), as it wouldn't be hard for malware to get around this usually. ala processhacker. – DanO Aug 16 '12 at 17:16
does not work for me. – peter Apr 14 '14 at 9:20

None of the mentioned above tools helped in my case.


Mark Russinovich shows there that there are cases when process can be almost impossible to kill.

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Not sure the reason but using Sysinternal's Process Explorer and clicking at "Show Details for All Processes" from File menu solved the issue and allowed me to kill the service. Perhaps it switches to Admin mode only then.

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thank you, this works! – peter Apr 14 '14 at 9:21

Try using APT(Advanced Process Terminator), kills any process easily.

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It is also possible to kill commands using the Windows PowerShell, use get-processes to list the processes running and then use stop-process with the ID of the task to kill it. Stop-Process.

You may find you need to launch the Windows PowerShell specifically as an administrator.

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protected by slhck Jul 24 '13 at 12:26

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