I think it’s pretty safe to say that just like everyone else, the people who come and visit Raymond.cc have had their fair share of Windows programs hang or lock-up on them. It seems to be part of computing life these days that you just have to accept. Most of the time once something has decided to crash, there isn’t really an awful lot you can do about. On occasion, you might be lucky if you let the program wait a while and it might actually come back to you, but most of the time it makes little difference.
The real frustration comes when you might be in the middle of actually doing something that you really don’t want to lose, but most of the time, it’s in to Task Manager, find the Hung program and ending the process. Anything that wasn’t previously saved, has now been lost, leaving you with no idea what caused the crash or why.
Well, as usual, Windows 7 might just have an answer to this problem and gives you at least a chance of unfreezing the troublesome program and maybe allowing any potentially lost work to be recovered. This will also possibly offer some clues as to what caused the process to hang in the first place.
Some of you will already have heard of the Windows Resource Monitor as it’s a pretty well known Windows component for monitoring certain areas of your system. But there’s a rather nifty little feature that’s easily missed which may be able to rescue that hung program.
The next time you suspect one of your bits of software has frozen of hung on you, go to the start orb and type ‘Resmon‘ into the search bar and press Enter. The Resource Monitor will then pop up. If you aren’t already there, click on the ‘CPU‘ tab.
If you look down the process list, the frozen program should be immediately visible by showing in red. Right click on it and select ‘Analyze Wait Chain‘:
You will then be presented with a small process tree. If there are two or more entries in this list, then you may be in luck and there may be a chance of recovery. If not, then sadly it won’t be possible.
Looking at the chain, the top entry will be your program and any others below will be processes it is waiting on to continue. The simple way of explaining the chain is, however many entries there are, every process is waiting on the one below before it can continue. Ie; If there are 3 entries, the first is waiting on the second, which in turn is waiting on the third.
Tick the box of the bottom process in the tree and click ‘End process‘. Be aware that if the bottom process in the chain is an important system process, it may end up crashing your system if you end it, so some experience in this area is useful. Windows will terminate the process and hopefully this could unfreeze your program and it may come back to life. If it’s still frozen, and there are still more entries in the tree, try repeating the procedure with the new bottom process and check again.
Hopefully, before you are left with only the hung program in the tree, it will have unfrozen allowing you to save anything which would have been lost. This solution doesn’t always work, but it still gives you hope that things can possibly be rescued before you give up and reach for the Task Manager!