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Resolving Restart or Shutdown Issues

One of the best attributes of the Windows XP operating system is that it isolates in memory each specific application running. When you're trying to restart or shut down your system, errant applications that have quit working correctly can be selectively shut down using the Task Manager. The second Applications tab of the Task Manager window lists each application and their current status. Figure 1 shows the Applications page of the Windows Task Manager, and in this case, each application is functioning correctly. If there's a problem with a specific application, the Status column lists the words Not Responding.

Figure 1 Using the Task Manager to troubleshoot Shutdown.

You can also find whether an application is being a "memory hog" and draining your system's resources. Click once on the Processes tab of the Windows Task Manager. You see a listing of the specific applications, device drivers, and services currently running on your system. The task bar across the bottom of the Windows Task Manager window shows the Processes currently running, CPU Usage, and Commit Charge of all processes relative to total system memory (see Figure 2). Also notice that the Processes page has a column for the number of CPUs that are being used. With a multiprocessor system, this makes troubleshooting that much easier.

Figure 2 Using the Processes tab in the Task Manager to troubleshoot memory usage.

The Task Manager gives you a snapshot of what is happening on your system at any given point in time. You can select any of the errant applications that are not responding and stop them by selecting End Task from the Applications page of the Windows Task Manager.

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