I am trying to kill chrome on my computer. I ran command prompt as an admin and ran:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>tasklist /FI "IMAGENAME eq chrome.exe"

This returned one item:

Image Name                     PID Session Name        Session#    Mem Usage
========================= ======== ================ =========== ============
chrome.exe                    8336 Console                    2    420,324 K

However, I couldn't kill it with /IM:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>taskkill /IM "chrome.exe" /F

Because it returned:

ERROR: The process "chrome.exe" with PID 8336 could not be terminated.
Reason: There is no running instance of the task.

So I tried to kill it with /PID:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>taskkill /PID 8336 /F

Which returned something similar:

ERROR: The process with PID 8336 could not be terminated.
Reason: There is no running instance of the task.

Attempting to kill it through task manager doesn't work either. How do I kill chrome without restarting my computer?

  • 1
    Relevant Why sometimes Windows cannot kill a process?
    – DavidPostill
    Feb 26, 2017 at 20:57
  • AFAIK chrome has always several processes, is this problem persistent after a restart of the pc? You could try powershell.exe "Get-Process chrome | Stop-Process"
    – LotPings
    Feb 26, 2017 at 21:13
  • @LotPings I was able to kill all other chrome processes with task manager but this one stuck around.
    – Jon
    Feb 26, 2017 at 21:40
  • 5
    Try: wmic process where name="chrome.exe" call terminate from an elevated as administrator command prompt and report back your results afterwards. Feb 26, 2017 at 21:47
  • 12
    I tried this with a chrome process that hung after being launched by VS Code -- even after closing Code the process wouldn't die. When I call terminate it returns { ReturnValue = 2; }; and the process continues uninterrupted.
    – Coderer
    Apr 9, 2019 at 8:41

7 Answers 7


I had a similar problem with multiple instances of conhost.exe that I could not terminate with taskkill, even giving the exact pid. I always got the same error, saying that there are no instances of the task.

So I did what Pimp Juice IT suggested in a comment above using the following command, which successfully killed all conhost.exe at once.

wmic process where name="conhost.exe" call terminate
  • 21
    I had the same problem with vmware-vmx.exe, and this method did not work either. The return value was 2. I also tried "delete" instead of "call terminate", but it said "Access denied".
    – kol
    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:49
  • 17
    It doesn't work for me. Feb 16, 2020 at 19:35
  • Worked for me with chrome: wmic process where name="chrome.exe" call terminate
    – Raj Rao
    Aug 31, 2020 at 15:12
  • 3
    code.exe for me. It says it succeeds, but the process is still there. Mar 21, 2021 at 1:38
  • 5
    windows does it again. Useless command that returns successful even when it isn't.
    – Damien
    Jun 16, 2021 at 17:21

If the process was started from Visual Studio, it's possible that the debugger crashed, but VS still somehow has an attachment to the process, keeping it from being able to be killed. Just shutting down Visual Studio will also shut down the rogue process, in this case.

  • 1
    Thank you. In my case it was enough to just stop debugging in Visual Studio.
    – KulaGGin
    Jul 18, 2020 at 8:15
  • There's a catch here. If you were running vstest.console.exe in a script the same thing can happen. And in my case, none of the answers here unblocked it. Pretty sure for automation purposes a reboot would be needed. Super-cringe. May 2, 2022 at 0:22
  • Same issue for me, but with JetBrains Rider. I stopped all instances of Rider, and the stuck w3wp.exe process was gone. Nov 13, 2023 at 14:35

I've narrowed down one cause of this issue. If you close a program whose executable is located on an external (or probably any) drive that has become "stuck", then the process will become stuck in this half-closed state, presumably waiting to read or write to the stuck drive before completely ending.

I can tell that the drive is "stuck" by attempting to change to the drive at the command line, where it will just hang indefinitely and never switch to the drive. (Similar thing should happen in an explorer window.)

As one comment indicated, when in this stuck state, the wmic to call terminate solution results in a return value of 2.

Disconnecting the problem drive from USB seems to immediately solve the issue; the stuck process disappears and the command line manages to finish switching drives. Plugging my drive back in brings the drive back to working order.

I'm not sure if this means there is a problem with the drive or not.

  • It also happened to me, but in my case the USB device (an external drive) was already not connected. Connecting back did nothing. Mar 24, 2022 at 20:05
  • I had this problem with sshfs and zim. Killing sshfs properly killed zim, reconnecting made it load again
    – Zoe
    Dec 27, 2023 at 1:31

I'm unsure of the actual ramifications of my method on the system but anytime I need to kill a process and am told Access Denied I right click the process, go to properties, the security tab, Advanced, Owner tab, and change the owner from TrustedInstaller to the account I want to kill it from. Haven't encountered anything it didn't work on yet.

  • 2
    This approach didn't work for me for stopping vmware-vmx.exe. I changed the owner to my user (the current user, which is an administrator user), I gave the user full control, but neither "taskkill /F ..." nor "wmic ... terminate" worked (from an elevated cmd). I stopped all vmware services, but that also did not help.
    – kol
    Aug 9, 2019 at 9:04
  • choosing properties from the context menu seems to just be file or folder properties, not some kind of process properties. you are changing the NTFS ACL stuff on the .exe file itself by going to the security tab. Dec 25, 2019 at 1:24

In my case of chrome.exe being unkillable, I had to pause my Macrium Reflect image backup.


I was facing the same issue. An instance of "java.exe" was listening to a few ports. Error which I was facing!

Following steps doesn't work for me:

  • End task using "Task Manager".
  • Killing task "Taskkill /F /PID".
  • Deleting %temp% files.
  • System "Restart/Shut Down" using "Window > Power > Restart/Shut Down".

What worked for me was "Switching off the laptop by pressing the power button for few seconds".

Don't know how but the ports were released and "java.exe" was not there in the task manager list.


I had the same problem: Could kill all but one chrome process. Cmd Taskill failed with "there is no running instance...". "WMIC process..." returned 0 but didn't work. What worked for me, was ending Malwarebytes. I imagine this is similar to the VS debugger issue. So try bouncing your antivirus software.

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