Force Close/Restart an App Instead of Suspending in Windows 8.1

In Windows 8, there is a new feature by which you can drag an app window from the top and drag it down to the bottom to “close” it. Instead of closing the app and killing the process, Windows simply suspends the app. The system is optimized very well so that these suspended apps don’t even up any CPU, but I found that they still eat up valuable RAM.

Even if you open the recent app list and close the app that way, the app still is suspended and not actually closed. There are times when you may legitimately want to kill an app and restart it completely. However, it’s not very easy to do this in Windows. Microsoft assumes this is not something people would care about and therefore hide the feature.

You can test this for yourself by opening an app in Windows 8/8.1 and then dragging it from the top to the bottom of the screen or by opening the left-side charm and closing the app. To drag close an app, just move your mouse up to the top of the screen and it’ll turn into a little hand. Then click and hold and start dragging down. The app will shrink into a box and get smaller as you drag it down.

drag close windows 8

To close an app using the left-hand charm, move your mouse to the top left edge of the screen until you see a sidebar pop up. Then right-click on the app and click Close.

close app

Once you have “closed” the app, open the Task Manager by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. You’ll see that the process for that app is still listed there, meaning it really hasn’t been killed off.

windows 8 task manager

If you click on More details, you’ll see that the processes for those app still use up memory, even if it’s a small amount. If you have a computer that doesn’t have a lot of RAM, then these suspended apps will slow down your computer. You can obviously kill the apps here in the task manager and they’ll be shut down for good, but you can also do it another way.

There’s a little trick you can perform when doing the drag from top-to-bottom close procedure whereby you click and drag from the top and move the window closer to the bottom, but not all the way. Then just hold the app there for about 2 seconds and you’ll see that the app “flips”. It’s really hard to explain it unless you try it out.

It’ll go from this:

app flip win 8

To the following below:

app flip windows 8

Once the “flip” is complete, you can do one of two things: drag it back up and let go of the mouse or drag it down further and let go. If you drag it back up, the app will load again, but it will actually restart the app. If you drag it down, it will kill the app completely and you’ll no longer see it in the task manager.

Pretty nifty little trick eh!? I found this out one day by accident. I was about to close an app, but then decided that I wanted to read one more thing. I had it holding in that one position and all of a sudden I saw the app flip. After a little reading online, I figured out exactly what that meant.

If you own an iPhone or iPad, you can think of this the same way that apps reside in iOS. When you exit an app in iOS, it doesn’t actually close. When you double-press the Home button, you can see all your suspended apps and then close them from there. ¬†Enjoy!

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