Killing Windows Server 2008 Processes remotely


This is a quick and easy one.

Found a client Window Server 2008 this morning that I couldn’t RDP into. When I attempted to RDP in I would be prompted for the username and password and then the connection would just die silently.

The host was a VM so I fired up the VMware vSphere Client and took a look at the console of the server. The screen was displaying “Shutting down Acronis Scheduler2 Service service”. The server was trying to end this process/service to do a restart from the scheduled Windows Update install from Monday morning at 3am.

I arranged a quick outage window during the clients lunch hour and started trying to resolve this. I figured that if I could kill the hung service remotely then the reboot would probably carry on normally.

I jumped on to the clients terminal server and fired up Computer Manager and connected it to the server that was having problems. Found three services in a “Stopping” state.

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Acronis\Schedule2\schedul2.exe”
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\AMS\ManagementServer.exe”
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\BackupAndRecovery\mms.exe”

So, I now knew which processes were causing the hang up. How to kill them remotely since I couldn’t logon.

Some quick Google phoo found me this. From the terminal server I used tasklist.exe and taskkill.exe to kill the schedul2.exe process.

Sure enough the console then carried on with the shutdown and restart of the server.

The more I used Windows Server 2008 the more impressed I am with the features and tools it offers admins these days.

Update (20100812): I’ve had to repeat a similar process on Server 2003 and found that tasklist.exe and taskkill.exe are also present in 2003. They even have the same usage switches.