It happens to all of us on occasion: the dreaded hung program. After spending the better part of an hour typing in a long text document or editing an important photo, the program window freezes and we get the infuriating “Not Responding” error message.
All of that hard work has been for naught, right? Well, maybe not… A nifty little Windows utility called Resource Monitor just might save the day.
But before I explain how to try freeing up your stuck programs, let me explain a little bit about why programs stop responding in the first place. Programs running under Microsoft Windows do not run in a vacuum. They typically interact with a number of Windows processes, and even other software programs.
If one of the processes or programs that the program you’re working with encounters a problem, it will often cause the program you’re working with to just sit and wait while it tries to finish the task at hand. The problem is the task at hand will sometimes never be completed, hence the stuck program.
The next time a program stops responding before you’ve had a chance to save your work, try this:
1 – Press the Windows+R key combination, then type resmon into the Run box and press the Enter key.
2 – Make sure the Overview tab is selected, then scroll through the list of processes that are currently in use by the CPU. If you see one that’s highlighted in red, that’s probably your stuck program (the name of the executable file should provide a clue).
3 – Right-click on the stuck program and click Analyze Wait Chain on the menu that pops up. You will then see a list of processes (if there are any) that are interacting with the hung program.
4 – Right-click on the first process in the list and click End Process. Check to see if your hung program is working now. If so, you can save your work, exit the program, then reload the program and resume working on your task.
5 – If your stuck program is still not responding, repeat step 4 by ending the next process in the list and then checking to see if the stuck program is now responding. If it isn’t, keep repeating step 4 until either the program starts working again or you run out of processes to kill.
If your stuck program is still not responding after ending the last interacting process, then you’ve done all you can do. At least you gave it a valiant effort. All you can do at this point is reboot the PC and start over. Personal experience has shown that this method will free a stuck process more often than not – but as they say, your mileage may vary.