How to end a hanging process?

By billyellis
Apr 29, 2011
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  1. I am having a new issue with a common program (VLC 1.1.5) on XP Home (Dell Inspiron 1501).

    When I try to close the program, the window closes but the process remains in the Task Manager listing and can not be stopped by the Task Manager or by Process Explorer. I then can not Shut Down normally, as the Shut Down process hangs as well when it can not stop VLC, and so I am forced to hold the power button until it forcibly powers off the computer.

    If I open another file, another instance of VLC starts (which should not happen because in the program preferences I have it set to only open one instance), so clearly VLC does not "see" this other instance of itself running.

    I have searched this issue and found many references to similar problems over the last 5 years with VLC and other 3rd party software, but not a single solution has ever been posted on any of the pages of search returns I have read.

    Does anyone here have either a VLC solution or a Windows solution? It seems from what I have read that the Task Manager and Shut Down functions can not shut down hanging software from 3rd parties any more, and instead ask them to shut down when they are ready, giving them literally infinite time to complete their processing, which with a hanging program will obviously never occur, resulting in this issue.

    I have read about other programs with violent names like "Kill" this and "Kill" that, but all advice in other forums to use those programs is followed by later posts saying those programs didn't work on the hanging 3rd party processes either.

    I also tried using Ctrl-Q to close VLC rather than they "x" button or the Exit option in the program controls, and that did not work.

    Any ideas TechSpot?
  2. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Usually Task Manager will work, but as you have discovered, sometimes a program is so dominating of your system that you cannot even get Task Manager to open.
    Process Explorer, By Mark Russinovich (Sysinternals) is another good tool.
    But in this case, you may have trouble getting it to start also.

    My experience has been when a process resists Task Manager,
    it is sometimes necessary to boot to Safe Mode, then uninstall that program.
    That is what I would recommend in this case.

    If you are in an infinite hang, however, you may need to force a shut down by powering off.

    (You may lose data doing this. - just unsaved currently open files...
    it should not damage existing data/files)

    Then when you restart, go to safe mode (F8).

    BTW - I had VLC and found it to be more trouble than it was worth. (YMMV)
  3. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    VLC is normally an excellent media player, tough and versatile, and is top in my recommendations list. But systems vary and if it causes problems in yours, it's obvious you should uninstall it. Follow B00kWyrm’s above advice. Use a better uninstaller than that of Windows, e.g. Revo Uninstaller, and make sure you run a scan after uninstallation to clear any traces, Revo will do this for you.

    After that, if you don't want to totally part from VLC's virtues, there's a portable version that needs no installation and should thus cause no problems.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,160   +599

    hmm; Personally never had a problem with VLC.

    Bookworm's suggestion re: Process Explorer, By Mark Russinovich (Sysinternals) is another good tool - - it's a GREAT tool.
    Run it, select the process and then use right-click to kill that process.

    btw; the internals of a 'kill' is to send a -9 signal to the PID which then forces the application to terminate. The sole caveat is a hung process may be in this state due to an I/O event that never terminated (or the last interrupt was lost). If this is true, then the hung process will be using ZERO cpu and in a wait (for that i/o to complete).

    This WiKi has some tools with KILL capability
  5. T77

    T77 TS Enthusiast Posts: 300   +6

    Try uninstalling and then reinstalling VLC.If nothing helps you might as well consider switching your media player.In that case I would recommend KMPlayer,been using for quite some time and it provides for many features and a nice UI.
  6. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    Thanks for all the advice, folks. :)

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