What To Do When Your System Freezes?

Big programs do it. Small programs do it. Good programs do it. Bad programs do it. Old systems do it. New systems do it. All programs do it, and all systems do it. Freezing is a fact of computing life, whether it’s an individual application that stops responding or the entire system that locks up. Anytime this happens your work is at risk, but freezing doesn’t always have to end in catastrophe. We’ll help you understand how to work through issues when they arise and recover from them after the fact.

General Tips

Regardless of the situation, there are a few general guidelines that can help keep you sane and your system stable. First, above all, be patient. What at first looks like a freeze can often just be slow processing. When in the middle of resource-intensive activities, such as editing video, burning a DVD, or copying large files, many applications and machines run especially slowly and may even appear to hang. Drastic steps are sometimes necessary, but they usually come with a cost. Don’t start forcing a thing to close or shut anything down until you’re certain it’s not just taking a long time to process and you’ve exhausted all other possibilities. As always, protect yourself against the inevitable (but hopefully rare) freezes and crashes that can’t be prevented. Follow the basic rules of computing. Save early and often. Schedule and confirm regular backups of important data. Don’t let hardware or software problems linger-troubleshoot and repair/replace as soon as feasible. Use antivirus and antispyware tools to protect your system from infection or invasion; Las Vegas computer repair – many freezes can be attributed to the impact of malware.

Software Program Freezes

Sophisticated commercial applications normally provide some sort of moving progress indicators to let you know they’re still working and not frozen, but not all applications have these, and they don’t always work correctly. When you think your program is frozen, use your mouse to try switching applications. Sometimes working on something else gives the bogged-down application time to recover or catch up. If switching to other applications doesn’t work, or if the mouse isn’t responding, try the ALT-TAB keyboard combination. This shortcut displays each f the currently open windows and lets you toggle among them. Press TAB repeatedly while holding ALT to rotate through them. Simply release both keys when you reach the application you want. Switching out to another open program, either for just a moment or for a longer period, can help determine whether the application in question is responding. If nothing else is open, or if ALT-TAB isn’t responding, try the WINDOWS-M combination instead. This shortcut minimizes all open applications, returning your screen to the Windows Desktop. Sometimes, it will also reveal a dialog box or warning message hidden underneath other open windows, which may prevent programs from responding while they await input. The next step is to try relaunching the offending application or opening another instance of it. Sometimes this will nudge the system into reactivating the first open window in that program or, at the very least, let you complete your activity within a different session. This won’t work every time, and it may not help you access n-progress data, but it won’t hurt if the application is frozen already. If nothing you do induces the application to respond, use the “X” button at the top right to try and close it. The application may not respond to the close request immediately, but this is another opportunity to practice patience. The program may take a minute or two to close, or it may take that long to generate he message that it isn’t responding. If the “Not Responding” message appears, and if you’ve exhausted all other options, force the application to close by clicking End Task (or similar). Sometimes, though, an application won’t even respond to the Close button or generate an End Task dialog box. If ending a program this way doesn’t work, you’ll have to go to the Task Manager. Access the Task Manager by right-clicking the Taskbar and selecting Task Manager from the context menu or by pressing CTRL-ALT-DELETE and clicking Start Task Manager from the on-screen menu. Start with the Applications tab. Locate the program in question and click End Task. If that doesn’t do anything after a few minutes, navigate to the Processes tab. Try to locate your problem application by name. Usually, you can figure out the correct process based on the Image Name field (click the Image Name label to sort alphabetically), though some applications are a little more cryptic and require cross-checking the Description field, as well. Sorting by CPU or Memory usage may also provide a clue as to what’s hogging all the resources. When you find a culprit, select it and click End Process at the bottom right. Confirm any warning messages with another End Process selection. This should bring a quick end to any application that’s stopped responding, but it doesn’t mean your system is back to normal. After you’ve had to do an application-killing End Task or End Process, it’s a good idea to reboot and let the system come back up in its natural state. Computer Repair in Las Vegas done right!

PC System Freezes

Full system-wide freezes can be a little more difficult to figure out. Las Vegas virus removal – For one thing, it’s hard to identify a single application or process at fault if you’re multitasking when things go awry. It’s also harder (by definition) to navigate and investigate when nothing is responding, including Windows. However, just as with application freezes, don’t give up too early. Look for signs of life that might indicate the system is processing and not frozen. Good indicators include flashing activity lights, the whir of a churning hard drive, or indicator icons and bars that move only infrequently. If it looks like things might actually be moving, even if only at a snail’s pace, wait a little longer. When signs of life cease, or when you run out of patience, try a few simple navigational tricks. Use the ALT-TAB shortcut as previously described to see if anything happens. Try other keyboard shortcuts such as WINDOWS-M (minimize all) or WINDOWS-D (show the Desktop). Disconnect and reconnect your mouse and keyboard. You can also try removing peripherals not in use, such as portable drives, printers, or other devices. Try removing any recently added hardware. USB drives, especially older ones, are notorious for creating resource conflicts that an bring a system to its knees. If the system is still not responding, you’re left with little choice but to shut it down. Take the gentle route first. Press CTRL-ALT-DELETE and see if you can get to a Log Off or Task Manager window. Or try to get to the Start menu with its shutdown options, either via the mouse or by pressing the WINDOWS key. Next, press ALT-F4, which will try and close either the currently active application or may shut down the system. If your machine has Shutdown, Standby, or Restart keyboard buttons (as many notebooks do), try using them. Additionally, many desktop cases have a Restart button built into the front. Finally, if nothing else works, press and hold the Power button to bring the machine down. Physically pulling the plug or removing the battery is your absolute last resort and can create hardware problems, so you should avoid such drastic measures if at all possible.


Smart Computing | August 2011 p.61


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