When you are looking at your screen you see Windows 95/98/NT. It all seems pretty simple. However, behind the scenes there is quite a bit going on.
This "quite a bit" can cause us to have a lot of crossed wires. If we have a program lock-up we need a way out of it, besides always restarting our computer. Our tool to help in this matter is the TASK MANAGER. This is accessed by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL.
This shows us some if the immediate things going on in the background. We can see various programs running as well as utilities and monitors.
If we have a program lock-up, and act unresponsive, we can access this utility and look for problems. If something is causing problems it will usually display a "[NOT RESPONDING]" message after program name. If this is the case then you should select the specific program and press the END TASK button. This should shut down your problematic program. But, sometimes it takes some time to reach all the things it needs. If it doesn't cancel your program you can either wait a while, or press CTRL+ALT+DEL again. Is the program name still in the box? If it is, select it and press END TASK one more time. There have been times I have had to do this 4-5 times. Then we will probably see this wonderful box.
This is the final exit point. If you've changed your mind press CANCEL. To completely close this program press the END TASK button. Did your problem go away?
This is usually used when a program locks up, although it can be used for different reasons. Sometimes when our system doesn't shut down correctly it is one of these things hanging it up.
You can pretty much shut down everything in the box with the exception of EXPLORER. If you shut down this your screen will wipe from top to bottom and it will appear to refresh. Your tray icons (which are resident in the image below) will disappear.
The computer will still work, but you will probably have problems with something or another. It is probably best to restart.
Sometimes your computer gets so "hosed up" that your START button doesn't work properly. In this case, press CTRL+ALT+DEL again.
Press the SHUT DOWN button. This should shut your computer down. If it does not, wait a bit and see if another message comes up. If you can't shut it down, or clear your problem in any way, you will have to shut of your power switch and do it that way.
This is a very useful tool. Learn to use it when you need to. It can save you a lot of computer restarting.