Ubuntu Linux Tips : Close Not Responding Windows with xkill

Ever experience application freeze in Linux? You can easily spot them because their windows are not responding and it has blank content. Non-Responding application also eats up your memory and your precious CPU cycle. Some even prevent you from running other critical applications.

But how are you going to close a non-responding application? Clicking the close button surely won’t help because the application does not response to your mouseclicks. For some people, the solution is to quit Xwindows (GNOME) session and start it again, but that would consume too much time by re-initialising the Windows Manager back.


One thing that you can do that actually can help you eliminate non-responding application is by using the ‘xkill’ application. To use it, (either in GNOME or KDE) you need to press Alt-F2, and type xkill to run the app. Your mouse will turn into something that resemble skull bone. Click on the non-responding Windows, and the windows will be forced closed.

There you go, a not so subtle solution to non-responding windows in Linux.


17 Replies to “Ubuntu Linux Tips : Close Not Responding Windows with xkill”

  1. On my system (Ubuntu Hardy), I get a plain, largish white ‘X’, not a skull and crossbones. However, it works the same way.

  2. Any implementation of Java (be it Sun’s or the OpenJDK) suffers from this bug. Some Java Applet Windows cannot be closed when clicking on the close button (X) on the Window Manager title bar…….

    This bug only affects Linux distributions. On MS Windows, the Applets work normally and they can be closed at will as any other window….

    Sites where this bug happens:
    …and pretty much any Applets that do not have an explicit close function within themselves…….

    OS: Ubuntu Hardy Heron
    Browser: Firefox 3.0.1
    Java: OpenJDK Java runtime

  3. But be careful of accidental clicks or you’ll end up killing a working window… :-)

    I usually have a console open most of the time, so a ‘ps’ and ‘kill -9 ‘ would be safer.

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