Question from Anthony H: Rick, I have a favorite program that I’ve been using for many years, but they haven’t updated it since 2006 and it sometimes freezes up on me in Windows 7.
When the program freezes my mouse does too, and the only way to proceed is to unplug the power cable. I really don’t like doing that cause I’m afraid it’ll damage my PC. Is there any way to exit that program gracefully when it freezes using just the keyboard?
Rick’s answer: Hi Anthony. My first suggestion would be to ditch that old, no longer supported program and try to find a modern equivalent that won’t crash your computer when you use it. That being said, I understand completely why you’d rather not do that. In fact, I have a couple of programs on my Windows 7 PC that were released long before yours was and I won’t part with them until I absolutely have to!
To answer your question, there is indeed a way to “kill” a frozen program using just the keyboard. Follow these steps:
1 – Press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc key combination to load the Task Manager.
2 – While holding down the Shift key, use the left and right arrow keys to move the “focus” of the task manager window to the Applications tab (if the Applications tab isn’t already selected).
3 – Check to see if the frozen program is in the list of running applications. If it isn’t, skip to step 4 below. If it is, press the Tab key, then use the down arrow key to highlight that program. Press the Alt+E key combination to end the selected task (the frozen program).
4 – Hold down the Shift key and press the right arrow key to select the Processes tab. Press the Tab key, then use the down arrow key to scroll through the list of running processes. When you find your frozen program in the list, press the Alt+E key combination to end the process (your frozen program). You’ll be presented with a confirmation dialog box. Press the Enter key to confirm that you really want to kill the selected process.
Now, scroll through the list of open processes and look for other instances of your frozen program. There could be several of them. If so, kill them all in order to completely exit the frozen program.
Anthony, Microsoft Windows is very much a mouse oriented operating system, but most O.S. related tasks can be accomplished using the keyboard alone if need be.
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