Close Application

Close Application

A Windows batch file that closes all running instances of a given executable

When to use this batch file

This script may be helpful when you want to:

  • Terminate all copies of a given application running on your computer;

  • Stop instances of a program running on your desktop only (without interfering with other users logged in and running the same program).

Command line interface

close-application.bat [exe-name] <session>

  • exe-name (required) is the name of the executable (*.exe) you would like to close, as it appears in the Task Manager.
  • session (optional) is the session number where the application should be closed.
    Use "current" (no quotes) to indicate the current session, where the script is running.
    If no session is specified, all instances of the executable will be closed, across all sessions.

Return/exit codes

The batch file returns:
  • 0 when the application was closed successfully (or it wasn't running)

  • 1 if the application could not be closed.

  • 2 if the command line was not understood.


For example, to close all instances of Notepad running on the computer, run:

close-application notepad.exe

To close all instances of Notepad running on your desktop only, run:

close-application notepad.exe current


Here are the full contents of the batch file (click the button to download):

:: ===========================================================================
:: This batch file closes all running instances of a given.
:: executable, gracefully at first, then more forcibly. It
:: is intended for use with AlwaysUp.
:: (
:: Usage:
::	close-application <exe-name>
:: where
::	<exe-name> is the name of the executable to be closed.
:: Created by Core Technologies Consulting, LLC
:: ===========================================================================

:: Get the name of the executable to be closed, passed as the
:: first argument. Must be an exeutable (*.exe).
IF [%1] == [] GOTO show-usage
SET exe-name=%1
SET extension=%~x1
IF [%extension%] == [] (
	SET exe-name=%exe-name%.exe
) ELSE IF /I [%extension%] NEQ [.exe] (
	ECHO The executable name must end in ".exe".
	GOTO show-usage

:: Session is the second parameter (optional).
SET session=%2
:: Get the current session if necessary.
IF [%session%] == [current] (
	for /f "tokens=4 delims= " %%G in ('tasklist /FI "IMAGENAME eq tasklist.exe" /NH') do SET session=%%G
:: Reject if there is a session parameter but it's not understood.
IF [%session%] NEQ [] (IF 1%session% NEQ +1%session% GOTO show-usage)

:: Setup commands based on if there is a session or not.
IF [%session%] == [] (
	SET check-command=tasklist /nh /fi ^"imagename eq %exe-name%^" ^| find /i ^"%exe-name%^"
	SET kill-command=taskkill /im ^"%exe-name%^"
	SET success-message=All copies of %exe-name% were closed
) ELSE (
	SET check-command=tasklist /nh /fi ^"imagename eq %exe-name%^" /fi ^"session eq %session%^" ^| find /i ^"%exe-name%^"
	SET kill-command=taskkill /im ^"%exe-name%^" /fi ^"session eq %session%^"
	SET success-message=All copies of %exe-name% running in session %session% were closed

:: Done if the executable is not running
IF %ERRORLEVEL% EQU 1 GOTO not-running

:: It's running. Try to stop it, gracefully.

:: Wait for it to go.
timeout 2 > nul
IF %ERRORLEVEL% EQU 1 GOTO closed-gracefully

:: Try again, gracefully.

:: Wait for it to go peacefully.
timeout 3 > nul
IF %ERRORLEVEL% EQU 1 GOTO closed-gracefully

:: OK, it still hasn't closed gracefully. Be more forceful.
%kill-command% /f

:: Again, wait for it to go.
timeout 1 > nul
IF %ERRORLEVEL% EQU 1 GOTO closed-forcibly

:: It's still running! Fail.
echo Failed to close %exe-name%!
exit /b 1

echo Usage: close-application ^[exe-name^] ^<session^>
exit /b 2

echo %success-message% forcibly.
exit /b 0

echo %success-message% gracefully.
exit /b 0

IF [%session%] == [] (
	echo %exe-name% is not running.
) ELSE (
	echo %exe-name% is not running in session %session%.
exit /b 0


This batch file has been tested on the following operating systems:

  • Windows 11

  • Windows 10

  • Windows Server 2022

  • Windows Server 2019


  • March 2 2023: Improved failure messages.

  • December 13 2022: Added the "current" session option.

  • July 25 2022: Introduced support for closing the application in a given session only.

  • February 1 2019: Reject executable names not ending in ".exe".

  • October 5 2017: Fixed a problem when the user has insufficient rights ("access denied").

  • August 14 2014: Initial release.