What are processes?

Every program has its own executable code (for example, the .exe file). A process (or task) is a program that is being executed. When you start a program, the executable code will load into the computer’s memory. This code is the process. If a process is closed or terminated, the resources used by that program will not run. To see all the processes running on your computer, you can use the Windows Task Manager, a built-in Windows utility.

The Windows Task Manager allows you to terminate almost all processes, however, there are some programs that have invisible processes running in the background and can remain on your computer without you knowing its exact location.

Why is it important to remove malicious processes?

Even though some processes are legitimate, there are other processes that come from malicious applications such as spyware, adware, trojans, malware, worms, and rootkits. It’s reported that malicious applications may run on your computer without your knowledge or consent. These malicious applications can infect your computer and compromise your privacy, security and computer performance. That’s why it is important to learn how to kill malicious processes.

The first step is to evaluate every process running on your computer to determine whether any of them is a piece of spyware. The obvious choice is to look for a process that is either out of place, does not belong to a program you remember installing or is behaving odly. In the case of an extreme malware infection, you may not be able to kill the offending program with the Task Manager and instead might get an “Access denied” error. In a case like this, an anti-spyware program might be the best approach to solve your computer’s security problem.

The instructions on how to get started depends on what Windows version you have. Learn how to remove kill spyware process from your computer.

Kill Spyware Processes Manually

Warning: Stopping system processes is a difficult and risky. If you delete the wrong file, your computer may crash and important data may be lost. As a precautionary measure, please back up important files and set a System Restore point (click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore, and follow the on-screen instructions) or run a spyware check with a trusted anti-spyware program to automatically detect spyware.

You can kill spyware proccesses in two ways:

Method A: Using the Windows Task Manager. (Recommended)

Method B: Using PsKill through the Command Prompt window.

Method A: Using Windows Task Manager to Kill a Process

Follow the steps below to manually kill a process with the Windows Task Manager:

  1. Start Windows Task Manager
    To open the Windows Task Manager, use the combination of CTRL+ALT+DEL or CTRL+SHIFT+ESC. You can also press the “Start” button, select the “Run” option, type “taskmgr” in the blank field and then press the “OK” button.

    Run Task Manager

  2. Find and Kill Spyware Processes
    In the Windows Task Manager, select the “Processes” section to see all active tasks. Find the proccess by name. To make it easier, select the “Image Name” button to list tasks by name.

    Use the list of process files associated with the spyware you know or suspect your computer has been infected with. You can find a list of processes by going to a spyware database and selecting the parasite you’re interested in. If there’s a process that you don’t recognize, copy the process and search on google.

    Select the process you want to kill and click on the “End Process” button to kill it.

    Windows Task Manager

Method B: Using PsKill through the Command Prompt Window to Kill a Process

In some cases, a parasite may disable your Windows Task Manager so instead you can use “pslist” and “pskill” (a third party application by Mark Russinovich) to list and kill the unwanted proccesses.

Follow the steps below to manually search and kill the spyware processes with PsKill:

  1. Open the Command Prompt window
    Press the “Start” button on your Taskbar and select the “Run” option. Type “cmd” in the field and then press the “OK” button.

    Run Cmd

  2. Search the unwanted process
    When the Command Prompt window is opened, type the command “pslist” and press “Enter” to search processes from the list of running programs.

    Search the process

  3. Kill the unwanted process
    Once you know the name of the process you want to kill, type the command “pskill [PROCESS_NAME]“ and press “Enter” to terminate the unwanted process. For example, if you wanted to kill SpyLocked (a rogue anti-spyware program), you would type pskill spy-locked.exe.

    Terminate the process

  4. If the process was terminated successfully, a confirmation message will be displayed.