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Weekly Computer Tip # 78
26 August 2004

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How to stop a frozen application (Microsoft Windows)

This tip is two days earlier than usual but I'm shooting off tomorrow to my niece's wedding. Yes, niece's wedding ... I'm getting old! But as Aristotle once said "Education is the best provision for old age". So here we continue our life long learning ...

Have you ever had the situation that your computer was locked up? Completely frozen? If you've given it a couple of minutes (it might just be slow for some reason) do not press the power button but end your application using the Windows Task Manager. You may know you can open the Task Manager by simultaneously pressing CTRL, ALT and DELETE. However,

Did you know ...

There is a fast way to activate the Windows Task Manager and end an application.

Here's how:

  1. Right-click anywhere in an "empty area" on the Task Bar (the grey bar along the bottom of the screen which shows the icons of the applications currently running, if any).
  2. Select Task Manager from the shortcut menu.
  3. If any of your listed applications is shown with a status "Not Responding" rather than "Running" click once on the application name to select it.
  4. Click the End Task button.
  5. Reconfirm End Task if necessary.
  6. Close the Task Manager window as normal.

This will end the frozen application while letting the rest of your computer running. Unfortunately any changes and updates made since the last save in that application will be lost.

If ending the task does not resolve your problem, you may want to simultaneously press CTRL, ALT and DELETE and choose Shut Down. This will end all tasks and shut down your computer properly. Again, any unsaved data may be lost.

Until next week.

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August 2004