How to use Task Terminator

Task Terminator is designed as a simple, yet powerful, extension beyond the normal Windows Task Manager, that window that pops up when you hit Ctrl-Alt-Del. Instead of merely showing the running tasks visible from the desktop, plus a few tasks with hidden windows, it shows and allows you to terminate all of the running tasks on your machine.

Task Terminator works basically like the Windows Task Manager does. You select the task you want to terminate, and then hit the "End Task" button. If you don't want to terminate any tasks, hit "Cancel". If you want to shut down the machine, hit the "Shutdown" button.

Task Terminator contains a checkbox called "Do not display Folders and Desktop Tasks" which will suppress displaying tasks and folders visible to the desktop. In general, when this box is checked Task Terminator will suppress displaying Windows and Folders visible on your desktop (including minimized folders and tasks). When this box is unchecked, Task Terminator will display all running Windows it can find, even hidden Windows. The default is for this box to be checked, so that only hidden Windows tasks are visible.

Task Terminator also contains a checkbox called "Display all running processes by file name." If this box is checked, then rather than list Windows and Folders, Task Terminator lists all of the running tasks on the PC by File Name. Depending on the processes, there may be multiple instances of the same file executing on your PC. In its normal display mode, Task Terminator will kill the instance you highlighted only, not all processes executing from the same file. If you run Task Terminator in command line mode, it will kill all processes executing from the same file.

Task Terminator also contains a checkbox labeled "Terminate task with extreme prejudice." If this box is checked, rather than make a directed request to the task to terminate, Task Terminator commands the Windows kernel (the Windows master control program) to simply halt the program and unload it from memory. In general, you should first see if Task Terminator can end the task without this box checked, as having the Windows kernel nuke the program means it is terminated without it being allowed to unallocate the memory and system resources it was using. This can result in memory leaks and locked resources which will not become available for use by other programs until the next time Windows reboots..

Task Terminator can be run from a command line, such as in a DOS window.
The form is
TaskT.exe string
TaskT.exe string #P#
TaskT.exe string #L#
TaskT.exe string #P# #L# or TaskT.exe string #L# #P# (or TaskT.exe string #L##P# or TaskT.exe string #P##L# or TaskT.exe string #L#P# or TaskT.exe string #P#L# )

where string is the identifying string associated with the task you want to terminate, #P# tells Task Terminator to terminate the task with extreme prejudice as described above, and #L# means Task Terminator is to interpret string literally, and only terminate the task whose entire name is string
rather than all tasks whose name contains string.

There are two ways you can determine what string should be. The first is to make string be something associated with a tasks Window. The second is to make string simply be the tasks file name. Task Terminator will assume you want string to be a file name if string ends with "exe", "com", or "dll". In the case of terminating by file name, string is not case sensitive and the #L# is meaningless as Task Terminator will insist the file name be complete or else it won't do anything.

To get an idea of what string should be for a specific Window when terminating by Window (as opposed to by file name), try running the program and then start Task Terminator, and see how Task Terminator identifies the program's Window. Remember to uncheck the "Do not display Folders and Desktop Tasks" box so that you can see all of the tasks. If a partial string is used, then all tasks whose Windows contain that string will be terminated. For example, most browsers display their name along with the description of the web page they are currently displaying, e.g. "Google - Mozilla Firefox" if you are viewing Google's Home Page. This allows one to type in a DOS window, "TaskT.exe Firefox" to terminate all copies of Firefox. If you only wanted to terminate tasks which have Google in their titles, you would use "TaskT.exe Google".

If for example, you had two Firefox browsers open, one Google's Home Page so its window title was "Google - Mozilla Firefox" and one to the Advanced Search page on Google's site, so its window title was "Google Advanced Search - Mozilla Firefox", then

TaskT.exe Firefox would kill both "Google - Mozilla Firefox" and "Google Advanced Search - Mozilla Firefox" windows
TaskT.exe Advanced would kill the "Google Advanced Search - Mozilla Firefox" window but not the "Google - Mozilla Firefox" window

TaskT.exe Firefox #L# would not kill either window
TaskT.exe Google #L# would not kill either window
TaskT.exe Google - Mozilla Firefox #L# would kill the "Google - Mozilla Firefox" window but not the "Google Advanced Search - Mozilla Firefox" window

The parameter string is not case sensitive. In other words, "TaskT.exe Firefox", "TaskT.exe FIREFOX", and "TaskT.exe FiReFoX" are equivalent if you are having Task Terminator terminate by Window. If you are having it terminate by file name, "TaskT.exe Firefox.exe", "TaskT.exe FIREFOX.EXE", and "TaskT.exe FiReFoX.eXe" are equivalent.

This command line feature allows one to use the Microsoft Task Scheduler to run Task Terminator at a prescribed time to terminate a task. To do this, use the Microsoft Task Scheduler to run Task Terminator at the time you desire. If Task Terminator does not show up in the list of tasks the scheduler knows about, use the "Browse" button to locate Task Terminator (default directory is C:\Program Files\TaskTerminator).

Once you have scheduled Task Terminator to run at the desired time and interval, we need to tell it what it is to terminate. In the Microsoft Task Scheduler, highlight the scheduled Task Terminator, and right click. Select Properties. In the "Run" box will be the path to Task Terminator in quotes. For a default installation, this will be "C:\Program Files\TaskTerminator\Taskt.exe"

OUTSIDE the trailing quote, put the identifying string of the task you want terminated, so it is of the form (for a default installation) of
"C:\Program Files\TaskTerminator\Taskt.exe" string

For example, if the idea was to schedule the termination of all copies of Firefox, the Run box would be
"C:\Program Files\TaskTerminator\Taskt.exe" Firefox

After Task Terminator is run in command mode, it terminates itself once it sees there are no more tasks which fit the termination criteria.

The pull down help menu allows the user to do the following:

Help (built in)
Opens this help file.

The rest of the menu selections require an operating internet connection:

Check for Updates
Starts the web browser and points it to the ZeaSoft Task Terminator update page.

Do not Automatically Check for Updates
If this menu item is checked, then the Task Terminator configuration program will not automatically attempt to contact our server to check for a more recent version of Task Terminator. This menu item can be checked and unchecked merely by selecting it. If the automatic update check is operating, and a more recent version of Task Terminator is released, the user will be informed and asked if you want to be taken to the Task Terminator update page. This version check is done without sending out any information, and requires an active internet connection at the time Task Terminator is started.