Software Crashes -
How To Recover from and
Prevent Software Crashes
Most of us accumulate a lot of software on our computers. It's good to
know how to take care of our PCs and prepare for the
possibility of a Computer Crash
Here are basic definitions of the terms we'll discuss in this
1. Crash - When a program or your entire computer stops
working and you cannot move the mouse or use the keyboard, and the
screen is frozen.
2. Reboot - When you restart your computer after a crash.
3. Control Panel - A feature of Windows that will give you
system utilities and settings.
What should you
do first if your computer crashes?
Try to STOP and do nothing for a few
minutes. Why? The computer is probably trying to do your commands
and might just need to take a little more time to finish them. Don't
start to punch a bunch more keys. This could just add to the
computer's problems, maybe even forcing it to crash.
Check the keyboard connections to make sure the pins are not bent.
Is there a jammed key on the keyboard? Maybe some liquid was spilled
into the keyboard. Check the computer connections as well.
Also, the mouse may just be dirty and need the inner ball that rolls
cleaned with soapy water. Dry it and remove any dust in the mouse
body itself and replace the mouse roller ball.
If you are using an optical mouse, and the cursor stops dead, the
battery may be too weak to get the signal to your computer. Replace
Usually when you have a crash the hardware is OK and the software
caused the problem. A good way to try to recover from a problem is
to press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys simultaneously. The Windows
Task manager dialog box will appear.
This box will show you all the programs that are currently running.
Note that at least one will have a non-responsive indication.
(program not responding)
Try clicking on the program listed and click END TASK. Close the
dialog box and see if your computer is working again. Say a prayer
that it is!
If it does not respond, then try the dialog box again to see if
there is another program
causing trouble and "End Task" on it as well.
This should solve about 98% of your computer crashes. If your
computer is not responding with all this, you can try rebooting.
Switching off the entire power is the last resort and should not be
done unless everything else has not worked.
Here are some maintenance suggestions that will help prevent
Check first that you have room on your hard drive. Windows needs a
lot of space and will not work if you do not keep the total usage
down. Never go over 70% usage of your total hard drive space.
To check usage, go to Start, right click on My Computer, then click
on your hard drive letter (usually 'C') and then Properties and see
what amount of space is available.
You may need to delete or move to another hard drive or a CD any
large audio or video files and remove software programs that you do
not use. Do that by choosing "Add or Remove Programs" icon from the
Control Panel from Start Menu. You'll probably be surprised at how
many programs you have and how seldom some of them are actually
Next - make sure you have enough Memory or RAM (Random Access
Memory). You can help out your computer by not opening too many
programs at once if your RAM is low.
To find out how much RAM your computer has, select Control Panel
from the Start Menu, Double Click System Tools, and then open the
System Information tab.
The total and available memory is listed towards the bottom of the
right panel when you click on System Summary. Software that uses the
most RAM are those that include a lot of graphics, video or sound
capabilities. You can keep these to a minimum on your hard drive by
burning to a CD and allowing your hard drive space to be saved.
Another quick tip is to
back up your hard drive regularly. There are
notes on how to do this online and it is very important and should
be done consistently. This way you will not lose a lot of work
should you have to turn off power or restart your computer due to a
Losing work is never fun and often,
data recovery efforts can be avoided by doing a little
.. Richard Rossbauer
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