When Programs Die: The Task Manager

Windows 8 may be a revolution in stability (at least if you’re used to, say, Windows Me), but that doesn’t mean that programs never crash or freeze. They crash, all right—it’s just that you rarely have to restart the computer as a result.

When something goes horribly wrong with a program, your primary interest is usually in exiting it. But when a program locks up (the cursor moves, but menus and tool palettes don’t respond) or when a dialog box tells you a program has “failed to respond,” exiting may not be so easy. After all, how do you choose File→Exit if the File menu doesn’t open?

As in past versions of Windows, the solution is to open up the Task Manager dialog box (Figure 10-1).


Actually, there may be a quicker solution. Try right-clicking the frozen program’s taskbar button; from the shortcut menu, choose Close. This trick doesn’t always work—but when it does, it’s much faster than using the Task Manager.

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