Taskkill /f doesnt kill a process

When I start up an Experimental instance of VS from VS for debugging and stop debugging (sometimes directly from the parent VS), a zombile devenv.exe process remains running which I am unable to kill. It holds on to many of my dlls.

As I am logged onto this 64bit Win7 machine as Administrator, I would expect to be able to kill any process I wish to.

I tried (from Administrator command prompt):

End Task from Task Manager.
TASKKILL /F /IM devenv.exe
PSKILL devenv.exe

None return any error and TASKKILL and PSKILL returned success messages of terminating/killing the process. But devenv.exe still runs, it is not re-spawned as the PID remains constant. It goes away only on restart of the system which is not a great solution.

Note. LockHunter shows devenv has got a lock on itself. And it cannot unlock it.

The above screenshot is the output of Process Monitor showing devenv to be in some kind of 'Process Profiling' loop (Right click on it and click open image in new tab to see it properly).

Any ideas how to kill such a process on Windows?


you must kill child process too if any spawned to kill successfully your process

taskkill /IM "process_name" /T /F

/T = kills child process

/F = forceful termination of your process

Just had the same issue on Windows Server 2008 R2 and nothing helped, not taskmanager or taskkill. But, windows powershell run as administrator worked with "kill -id pid"

I know it's late but taskkill /im devenv.exe /t /f should work. the /t kills child processes too.

I could solve my issue rearding this problem by killing explorer.exe which in turn was addicted to the process I wanted to kill. I guess this may also happen if processes open interfaces via hook which may be locked.

I've seen this a few times and my only solution was a re-boot.

You could try using PowerShell: Get-Process devenv | kill

But if the other methods failed, this probably will too. :-(

Some of the Exe files Dependents on Some services,

So you need find the respective service and stop first.

Reboot is the only solution that worked for me (so far).

The ever excellent Mark Russonovich has a good explanation for unkillable processes.

To summarise, it's quite possible it is due to unprocessed I/O requests that hasn't been handled properly (by a device driver your program has possibly accessed)


  1. open task manager
  2. select services tab
  3. select the process( devenv.exe ) you want to kill and click services button
  4. right on the process, select properties and disable it...

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