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More Great Ways to Speed up Vista: Close Unresponsive or Frozen Programs

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/12/2009

Learn how to troubleshoot a program that is unresponsive or freezing up.

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    Every once in a while, a program that is running on your PC may stop responding or run sluggishly - it simply freezes up and no longer responds to your actions. There are a number of reasons a program may freeze up, but the most common ones include low RAM, limited virtual memory, incompatible software, or a generic Windows error. Here’s how to troubleshoot an unresponsive or frozen program.

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    Tip #13: Reboot

    Save and close other open documents and programs that you may have running. This in itself may fix the problem. If not, shut down and restart your computer. This simple step can fix a surprising number of performance problems.

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    Tip # 14: End Unresponsive Programs

    Vista will automatically try to determine the problem and fix it. You can allow it time to finish troubleshooting, or you can manually close the program via the Task Manager. Forcing it to close this way enables you to restore access to your computer without a reboot.

    1. Right-click on your taskbar and then click Task Manager. This will open the Task Manager.
    2. Click on the Applications tab. This will display which programs you currently have running on your PC, as well as the status of each one.
    3. Click on the program that is not responding
    4. Click on the End Task button at the bottom of the Task Manager window. Vista will close the non-responsive program.

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    • Keep in mind that while this may save you some time, you will lose any unsaved changes or data once you exit the program using this method. If you do not want to lose the changes, wait for Vista to fix the problem.
    • By closing a program via the Task Manager, Vista may become unstable, which may affect other running programs. In this event, simply reboot your PC.

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    Tip # 15: Close the Process Associated with an Unresponsive Program

    If you do not see the unresponsive program listed in the Application tab, you can still close it by ending its associated process. Here’s how:

    1. Right-click anywhere on your taskbar and then click Task Manager.
    2. Click the Processes tab to view the processes that are currently have running on your PC.
    3. Locate the process associated with the program that you want to end. Each entry will have a description beside it.
    4. Click on the process once you find it. Click on the End Process button.

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    You can view all of the processes that are currently running on your PC by clicking on the option: Show processes from all users. Enter a password or provide confirmation if prompted.

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    Tip # 16: Run Fewer Programs at the Same Time

    The more programs you run simultaneously, the more memory you will need. If you have several programs running, a number of browser windows open and your instant messaging going, it will not be surprising that your computer will be sluggish. You can speed it up by closing some of these.