Force Close Apps on Surface Tablets Without a KeyBoard

How To Force Close Apps on Surface Tablets Without a KeyBoard

Applies To: Surface Pro 1-3, Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface 3

Sometimes when you think you closed an application, it really just keeps running in the background. This wouldn’t be a problem except, while it’s running in the background, it eats up your Surface’s resource and can slow down the things you’re trying to do in for foreground. But, even if it doesn’t slow anything down, it may cause your battery life to be reduced.

Now, most people know you can bring up Task Manager to see a list of running processes by hitting Control-Alt-Delete on their keyboard.

But, what if you don’t have a keyboard with you?

In this article, I’m going to talk about a couple of things:

  • How to force close applications from the Modern interface
  • Methods to start Task Manager without a keyboard

Sound good? Let’s start with force closing Modern applications…

Force Close Apps on Surface Tablets Without a KeyBoard: Modern Interface

It’s actually pretty easy. All you have to do is drag your finger from the top of the screen and “hold” the app near the bottom of the screen until it flips over.

If you just swipe all the way down without holding it until it flips over, the application will continue running in the background. If what I wrote doesn’t make sense, check out the animation below, where I force-closed Internet Explorer using this method:

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using this method to force close apps on Surface tablets...

  • This method can only close one running app at a time
  • In the Desktop, you can’t just use the swipe and hold method like in the Modern interface because it will never “flip over”. Even if it would, you would be closing the entire desktop as opposed to the application you wanted to kill.

If you need to kill apps en-masse or from the Desktop, using Task Manager is still your best bet.

Note: if you have a mouse (but not necessarily a keyboard), you can click anywhere at the top edge of your app and click X to close the application – just like you would in Desktop. This assumes your app is not frozen.

Force Close Apps on Surface Tablets Without a KeyBoard: Task Manager

Like I said before, most people know how to do this with a keyboard (Control-Alt-Delete) but, you can also do it without a keyboard by pressing the Power Button and Windows button at the same time:

How To Force Close Apps on Surface Tablets Without a KeyBoard - Buttons

Doing so will bring up the following screen:

How To Force Close Apps on Surface Tablets Without a KeyBoard - Lock Screen

Choose Task Manager and it will open in the Desktop. From there, simply kill the app(s) you don’t want running from under the Processes tab.

You can also use the search function (swipe from the right to bring it up) to search for Task Manager and open it that way.

That’s it. Now you know multiple ways to force close apps on Surface tablets when you don’t have a keyboard.


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