Chapter 22. Windows Versus Your Programs

You probably didn't buy your PC for the joys of running the Windows operating system. Heavens, no! Forgiving Microsoft's battalions of attorneys, who insist that the operating system is anything and everything, an operating system is merely the main piece of software in a computer. An operating system has three basic duties: to control the hardware, to manage other programs and information, and to interact with you, the human.

The real reason you bought your PC was to run other software: to word-process, use the Internet, use Photoshop to make your thighs thinner, and play games, for example. The operating system has a big role in all that: Sometimes it's the hero; sometimes Windows is the villain. This chapter helps you determine which character the operating system is playing and how to deal with the consequences.

Programs Run Amok

Software can go loopy. In fact, loops are the main reason that software tends to hang up and go to town. In programming parlance, a loop is a section of code that repeats. Good programming mandates that at some point or under some condition, the loop gracefully exits. When a loop repeats endlessly without any possibility of exiting, it's known as an endless loop or infinite loop. Although it must be fun to observe at a subatomic level, it's not a very productive thing.

The following sections cover what to do when a program gets loopy or runs amok.


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