What to Do When Windows
Probably the most common computer trouble is the freeze-up. That's what happens when your PC just stops dead in its tracks. The screen looks normal, but nothing works—you can't type onscreen, you can't click any
, nothing's happening.
If your system happens to freeze up, the good news is that there's probably nothing wrong with your computer hardware. The bad news is that there's probably something funky happening with your operating system.
This doesn't mean your system is broken. It's just a glitch. And you can recover from glitches. Just remember not to panic and to approach the situation calmly and rationally.
What Causes Windows to Freeze?
What causes Windows to freeze? There can be many different causes of a Windows freeze, including the following:
You might be running an older software program or game that isn't compatible with Windows XP. If so, upgrade the program.
A memory conflict might exist between applications, or between an application and Windows itself. Try running fewer programs at once, or running
programs one at a time to avoid potential memory conflicts.
You might not have enough memory installed on your system. Upgrade the amount of memory in your PC.
You might not have enough free hard disk space on your computer. Delete any unnecessary files from your hard drive.
Your hard disk might be developing errors or bad sectors. Check your hard disk for errors. (See the ScanDisk section in Chapter 9, "Performing Routine Maintenance.")
Dealing with Frozen Windows
When Windows freezes, you need to get it unfrozen and up and running again. The way to do this is to shut down your computer, either by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del (maybe a few times) or, if that doesn't work, by using the On/Off button on your system unit. Then you can start your computer up again. Chances are everything will be working just fine.
If your system crashes or freezes frequently, however, you should call in a pro. These kinds of problems can be tough to track down by yourself when you're dealing with Windows.
Dealing with a Frozen Program
Sometimes Windows works fine but it's an individual software program that freezes. Fortunately, Windows XP is an exceptionally safe environment. When an individual application crashes or freezes, it seldom messes up your entire system. You can use a utility called the Windows Task Manager to close the problem application without
other Windows programs.
When a Windows application freezes or crashes, press Ctrl+Alt+Del; this opens the Windows Task Manager, shown in Figure 10.1. Select the Applications tab and then select the frozen application from the list. Now click the End Task button. After a few seconds, a Wait/Shutdown window appears; confirm that you want to shut down the selected application; then, click the End Task button.
Figure 10.1. Use the Windows Task Manager to end non-responding programs.
the offending application and lets you continue your work in Windows.
If you have multiple applications that crash on a regular basis, the situation probably can be attributed to insufficient memory. See your computer
about adding more RAM to your system.