How to wake up a "Not Responding" program.
March 21, 2008 8:19 PM   Subscribe

In Windows XP Can you "wake up" a program/process that is "Not Responding"?
posted by swarkentien to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Windows thinks it isn't repsonding because it isn't pumping window messages for some reason. Usually because it's hung (deadlock) or in the process of crashing. Generally there is nothing you can do from an external point of view other than kill it as b1tr0t suggest.

Start -> Run -> cmd [enter]-> taskkill /f /im [process-name.exe]

Use tasklist to find the process name.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:35 PM on March 21, 2008

"Not Responding" means your program may or may nor have gone into an infinite loop. Unfortunately, neither Windows nor anyone can tell whether it has. c.f. The Halting Problem.
posted by gmarceau at 8:49 PM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sometimes it's just a matter of being patient. For instance, it could be stuck in a driver, waiting for a retry/timeout loop to complete. I've had jobs which showed as "not responding" which eventually finish whatever they're doing and come back alive again.
posted by Class Goat at 9:10 PM on March 21, 2008

The most common cause of "not responding" processes, in my experience, is network delays; often, they will come good if you just wait a while, as Class Goat says. If they don't, the easiest way I know to force-kill a "not responding" application is this:

1. Bring up the Task Manager (Shift-Ctrl-Esc will get you straight to it).

2. Find the name of the non-responsive application's window in the Applications tab.

3. Right-click on that name and choose "Go to process" from the pop-up menu. This will switch you to the Processes tab, with one process name highlighted.

4. Right-click on the highlighted process name and choose "End Process Tree".
posted by flabdablet at 10:23 PM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

There's no guaranteed rescue here, but certain programs actually come back to life simply because you open the task manager. I have no idea why this is -- perhaps some related interruption of the process priority queue -- but I always try it. Other times you can kill a subprocess: I get lockups with Acrobat Reader, so I go into task manager and kill AcroRd32, and Firefox becomes available to me again.
posted by dhartung at 10:54 PM on March 21, 2008

You can also try adjusting the process priority in the Task Manager.
posted by owhydididoit at 11:05 PM on March 21, 2008

You can use Process Explorer to get more info about what's causing a program to hang.
posted by frankie_stubbs at 11:36 PM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can attach a debugger to see what's happening (barring DRM nonsense) and sometimes wake it up by adjusting the program flow. A friend of mine attributes his continued playing of Gothic 3 to a debugger letting him break it out of an infinite loop in the renderer so he can save the game and restart.

Of course, he ports games for a living, it may not be an entirely practical solution for most people. Even for a developer it's easy to make the problem worse by doing the wrong thing.
posted by Freaky at 12:30 PM on March 22, 2008

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