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TECH TIP:  NON-RESPONDING COMPUTER
 

Ever get this message:  “This program is not respondingIt may be busy, waiting for a response from you, or it may have stopped running.”

 

Or sometimes, you don’t get that message and your computer or a particular program just seems to stop running. 

 

These occur in all computers from time to time and they are due to memory of software conflicts.  Your CPU (central processing unit – the brain of your computer) gets an instruction and it doesn’t know how to carry it out, so it just stops – it doesn’t process anymore. 

 

The first thing you want to know is how to get the computer running again.  The first thing you want to do is to close the program that seems to be hanging up.  You can do this by holding down the CTRL and ALT key s and tapping the DELETE key.  That will open up the Task Manager.

 

You will see 5 tabs at the top (below the menu bar).  Click on the Applications Tab.  You will see all the programs that are open.  If there is a program that is frozen, you will see the words “Not Responding.”  Click on that program and press the End Task button.  Wait for a few moments (or minutes) and if you are in a soft lockup, the program will close.  You can then proceed using your computer.

 

If the frozen program does not close, then you are in a hard lockup.  That means, you may have to shut off the computer and restart.  To restart after a hard lockup, hold down the power button until the computer turns off.  It could take 7 or more seconds.  Then release it and press it again to turn the computer back on.

 

In Windows XP, hard lockups are rare because problem programs usually can be closed through the Task Manager.

 

Why do these lockups happen?  Here are the most common reasons that programs stop responding.  Hints and tips to solve these problems are below.

  • Not enough memory (RAM) to handle all the running programs. 
  • Too many programs open at the same time. 
  • A virus may have infected your computer. 
  • Your hard drive information is too scattered (fragmented)
  • Corrupt software
  • Problems with hardware or hardware drivers
  • Problems with screensavers or power management settings
  • Your computer’s operating temperature is too hot.

 Here are some common ways to cut down on freeze ups or solve lockups. 

  • Be sure your computer has plenty of RAM (memory).  This is the number one solution to solving program freeze-ups.  Adding memory to your computer is pretty cheap and it will get your computer running smoothly.
  • Close unnecessary programs.  This is particularly true of memory intensive programs.
  • If a particular application keeps freezing up, first uninstall it and then reinstall it
  • Run antivirus scans on your computer to clean it from all types of spyware and malware.  Good free anti-spy ware programs are
    Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware, 
    http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/
    Spy-Bot search and Destroy
    http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html
    Microsoft’s Windows Defender
    http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx
  • Defrag your hard drive.  To defrag, go to Start -> All Programs -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter.  You should defrag once a month.  It takes a couple hours, so do it when you have some time to spare – like at night when you’re sleeping.
  • If your freeze-ups seem to always be hard lock-ups, you probably have a hardware problem.  You could have defective memory chips or some other hardware problem that requires a service technician to look at. 
  • Check your power setting in the Power Options in your Control Panels.  Set the settings to Never.  In addition to this, shut off your screen saver.
  • Make sure your CPU fan and your power supply fan are working.  If your computer overheats, it will freeze up.

One last thing, do not assume that if a program seems to be frozen that it needs to be closed.  It may, in fact, be waiting for you to respond to a dialog box before it can proceed.  When I use Acrobat Reader 7.0, I frequently get a dialogue box which is asking me if I want to check for updated versions.  The problem occurs when the dialog box is under the other open windows and I can’t see it.  Before the program proceeds to opening the file I requested, I need to close that dialog box. So it actually appears the program has frozen, but it hasn’t.  When I minimize the other windows, I finally see the dialog box and I can close it and proceed with my computing.

 

Happy freeze-less computing.

 

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Lyon County Government Center  •  607 W. Main St.  •  Marshall, MN 56258  •  (507) 537-7046

E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education

HOME | MISSION | SCOPE AND SEQUENCE | STAFF INFORMATION |SITE SCHEDULES | TECHNOLOGY
 WORKFORCE |
BUSINESS CONNECTIONDIRECTORY | GRANTS
| RESOURCES | STUDENTS LESSONS