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Unfreeze programs in Windows 7

In previous versions of Microsoft Windows, when a program locked up, there was nothing you could do except the three-finger-salute (CTRL+ALT+DELETE), and hopefully terminate the offending program. That meant losing any unsaved data that you were working on. Worst case scenario was that you would have to restart Windows.

With Windows 7, a new utility has been that added that may help users unfreeze a program or restart it without losing data. The utility is called the Resource Monitor. You can launch the Resource Monitor by typing resmon.exe from the Windows Start/Search box.

Find your frozen process in the CPU pane (it should be highlighted in red), right-click it and select Analyze Wait Chain.

If you see at least two processes in the list, then the lowest, at the end of the tree, is the one holding up your program. If it’s not a vital Windows component, or anything else critical, then save any work in other open applications, check the box next to this process, click End Process, and your locked-up program will often spring back to life.

Author: James O'Brien

James O'Brien is an IT Professional in the Seattle Washington area who likes to blog about technology, science, hobbies, and anything else that catches his fancy (SQUIRREL!). If you have any questions or comments for James, please feel free to drop him a note in the Comments. He'll be happy to hear from you.

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This article was last updated on August 5, 2014

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