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Recovering from Crashes, Data Loss, and Other Problems in OS X Leopard

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In this chapter, you learn ways to react to application and system crashes and ways to be proactive about virus protection. You also learn to use your Mac OS X installation DVD to reset your password and, in times of widespread system failure, to reinstall your operating system.
This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter:

  • Application Crashes
  • System Crashes
  • Fixing Hard Drive Problems
  • Resetting PRAM
  • Restoring a Lost Administrator Password
  • Reinstalling System Software

Application Crashes

Sometimes, out of the blue, the application you're trying to use freezes up or disappears altogether. These events are commonly referred to as crashes.

Application Unexpectedly Quits

One of the more common kinds of crashes involves an application quitting. Suddenly, without warning, the document window disappears from the screen, and you see a message similar to the one shown in Figure 31.1.

Figure 31.1

Figure 31.1 This unfriendly message might sometimes appear when you're working in an application.

Mac OS X is designed to be stable despite localized problems with applications, so if one application unexpectedly quits, you can continue to work in others without having to restart.

Force Quit

Not all crashes cause an application to quit. Sometimes the application just stops running. The mouse might freeze, or it might move around but not do anything.

If this happens, follow these steps to force quit the application so that you can restart it:

  1. From the Finder, press the Command-Option-Esc keys simultaneously, or choose Force Quit from the Apple menu. A window appears containing a list of applications you can force quit, as shown in Figure 31.2.
    Figure 31.2

    Figure 31.2 Choose the application to force quit from this window.

  2. Normally, the application you were just running is selected. If not, select the application in the list.
  3. Click Force Quit. Over the next few seconds, Mac OS X should make the program quit. If it fails to occur, try again. Sometimes it takes two tries for the system to get the message.
  4. If the program really doesn't quit, go to the Apple menu and choose Restart. At this point, there might be systemwide instability, and it doesn't hurt to restart the entire system.
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