I have a problem which makes Microsoft Word 2013 crash. Whenever it crashes, I cannot close it - I have to reboot. Killing via Task Manager or Process Explorer doesn't seem to do anything. How do I really kill it?

To be clear, I'm not trying to solve the "it crashes" problem here - I want to kill it after the crash, without having to close all my other programs.

More details:

  • When it crashes, I get the "(Not Responding)" in the title bar.
  • Then I click the Close ("X") button
  • I get a message "Microsoft word is not responding. If you restart or close this program, it will try to recover your information." The options are "Restart the program", "Close the program", or "Wait for the program to respond".
  • So I click "Close the program".
  • I then get "Checking for a solution to the problem" and "Microsoft Word is trying to recover your information" dialogs.
  • Then those dialogs go away, but the crashed MS Word stays on screen.
  • I've tried killing the WINWORD.EXE process with Task Manager
  • I've tried killing the WINWORD.EXE process with SysInternals Process Explorer
  • If I reboot, that works (i.e. the system can close down gracefully... so it must be possible to gracefully kill the thing!)

Software versions:

  • Microsoft Word 2013
  • Windows 7

All patches from Windows Update are applied.

Edit to add:

When it's sitting there, Process Explorer shows WINWORD.EXE has 1 thread using 24.8% of the CPU - i.e. a whole core on my quad core PC. And, ~15 minutes after it crashed... it finally exited! So it does exit eventually, it's just doing a ludicrous amount of work before exiting. But the question still stands. Surely there must be a Windows equivalent of "kill -9" to really terminate a task?

  • My Guess: Something else is holding it open. When you shutdown, that 'something' is getting closed as well, so it closes as expected. When it's hung, have you checked to see what's accessing it (ie: via Process Explorer)? Oct 7, 2013 at 17:24
  • Killing the process should work. That is the only way I know how to force close any process on Windows.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 7, 2013 at 17:25
  • @techie007: How do I do that?
    – user9876
    Oct 7, 2013 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


Open the Task Manager. Click on the Processes tab. From the menu, click View > Select Columns. Checkmark the PID box. OK etc. Note the process ID # of Winword in the Task Manager's list.

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Go to a command line (run CMD.EXE). Use KILL -f <PID>, where PID=the process ID of Winword from above (WITHOUT the angle-brackets).

  • 1
    I get an error message: 'KILL' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.. Do I need to install kill from somewhere?
    – user9876
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:35

I have found this issue to be related to explorer.exe - once I kill explorer.exe Winword.exe will then also close. I'm having the same issue with powerpoint. You can use Ctrl + Shift + Esc to use Task Manager File > New Task to restart explorer.exe if it doesn't do so automatically.

I have a feeling this is caused by problems relating to mapped network drives being disconnected.

Regarding the answer above, KILL didn't exist for me either however "TASKKILL /PID " does exist.

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