There are varying degrees of crash---anything from a simple screen
freeze or "lockup" to a complete inability to open
Windows. Carry out the following procedures strictly in this
order. If no effect from each stage, go to the next stage.
Close the current application from the Taskbar at foot of
Hold down Alt+Ctrl and press Delete. From the
resulting window (if it appears) press "End Task". If nothing
happens, pray and try it again, several times. You may get a "Not
responding" message. Press "End Task" again. If no luck,
or if everything then locks solid, go to Step 3.
Now it's a little more serious--if you have a
"Reset" button (near the power button) press it. The
computer should close down and then restart. If it does, have your
finger ready on p or F8 (you'll have to see which one works best for
your computer). Press p or F8 immediately you see the "Windows
Starting" message. This will pause the startup menu. Select
"Safe Mode". It will take the computer a few minutes to arrive
at Safe Mode. The same start menu may reappear and stop for a few
seconds as if asking you to select Safe Mode again.
DO NOT DO ANYTHING IF THIS HAPPENS.
Resist the temptation to hurry it up. It should soon move off of its
own accord. At this stage it is trying to rectify whatever caused the
crash. It may go thru this cycle 2 or 3 times. (If it keeps on
recycling, you are in deeper trouble--see 4). You will then see a box
asking you if you want to do any repairs. Ignore this and click OK. Your
desktop will then come up, but may look very odd. This is normal,
because Safe Mode operates at the lowest resolution and with the minimum
number of colors.
THEN YOU MUST WAIT FOR THE HARD DRIVE TO
STOP CLACKING and the red light to stop flickering. When it has
all gone quiet, and not before, select "Shut Down." If all is
well, the computer will reset everything, properly close down the
offending program, and you will eventually get the message "It is
now safe to close down ". You may now restart the computer by
pressing Alt+Ctrl+Delete again. Windows should then open in the normal
If it keeps on going back to the start menu,
("looping") you may have a more serious problem---call for
expert advice at this stage. Leave the computer running if practical,
otherwise power off. You may need to reboot from an emergency boot-up
disk or reinstall Windows.
If "Reset" fails to do anything, or if you don't
have a reset button, push the Power button to switch completely off,
leave it for a few seconds, then try restarting. Go into Safe Mode as
If, on restart, Windows won't start and nothing comes up on
the screen at all, close down, insert your emergency startup floppy
disk, and restart. This should restart the computer in Dos, from
which you may be able to manually restart or restore Windows. Try typing
win at the C-Prompt and press Enter, this will normally open Windows.
Check for a boot virus.
That's about as far as you can go without being fairly
- Windows should not ever be allowed to reload after a serious crash
without first having been through "Safe Mode". Otherwise
the cause of your crash may remain in the system and may cause
future instabilities. This is one of the commonest causes of general
- Practice shutting down and restarting in Safe Mode so that, if an
emergency ever arises, you will be confident with this procedure.
Don't wait for an emergency.
- After running in Safe Mode and restarting, your desktop icons will
usually be in a mess. This is normal, because Safe Mode runs
in the lowest possible resolution, and unfortunately it leaves your
desktop in a bit of a mess. You'll just have to restore it all
by hand, or by selecting "Line up icons" when you right
click in the Desktop, or get a utility such as Ezdesk that will
restore the icons as they were.