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Frozen Computer Options

Ulf from WI asks:

Sometimes my computer freezes up. Is there something I can do besides shutting it off to get it working?

Sometimes Windows will get itself all tied into a bunch and there is no choice but to cut the power to your computer and restart (you should wait at least 10 seconds before re-booting, by the way).

But before you do something so drastic, try pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Del buttons first (hold down Ctrl, then Alt, then Del ).

In Windows XP, if you use the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination, you’ll find that a box, called the Task Manager, will appear that allows you to choose the offending program from a list and force it to shut down. In fact, it may even have the words “Not Responding” next to it on this list. Just click the “End Task” button to shut the individual program down. If you get another box a few seconds later asking you to wait or “End Task,” choose to End task.

If you happen to be using Windows Vista or 7, something slightly different will occur when you use the Ctrl+Alt+Del combination. Instead of just the Task Manager popping up, you will be greeted with a screen that gives you a few options instead. The good news is that the Task manager is still here, and works pretty much the same as mentioned above. Simply choose the offending program and click “End Task”.


Finally, if you notice that your computer just freezes after awhile, especially if it takes about the same amount of time to freeze each time you use it, you may have a problem with overheating.

Make sure the computer has plenty of room to breathe—several inches all the way around is the minimum. If you’re blocking vents, you’re asking for trouble. Also, remember that some computers have vents on the bottom of the case, so if you stick it on a shag carpet, you may be blocking airflow. Oh, if you do suspect overheating is a problem (and the machine apparently has plenty of ventilation room), checking the CPU fan may be a good idea too.


~ Steve