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Unfreeze when moving between spaces System
Sometimes when I move between spaces, the little animation freezes (doesn't fade away), and it blocks out all keyboard access. I can still move between spaces (though this usually doesn't unfreeze it), and use the mouse.

I used to fix this by quitting the Dock with Activity Monitor (which was annoying because I had to do the whole thing only with the mouse), but today I discovered that if I press the Dashboard key on my keyboard (it's F12 by default), it unfreezes it (and it doesn't even open dashboard).

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. Any ideas about why this should be the case?]
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Unfreeze when moving between spaces | 26 comments | Create New Account
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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: g16l on Jun 16, '11 07:46:11AM

Do you use Apple Remote Desktop or VNC when these freezes occur?



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: lowbatteries on Jun 16, '11 08:04:11AM

I had this issue, but I don't get it anymore. One thing I did do was uninstall various SIMBL plugins, which may be causing the issue. I think GreaseKit and Afloat were the two I had installed.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: auco on Jun 16, '11 08:31:18AM

I'm having this issue as well. I'm also running AFloat. Nevertheless, the hint is great, as I used to restart :-)



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: trenthturner on Jun 16, '11 08:14:47AM

I used to have this problem with Spaces all the time. It seemed to be triggered by the keyboard commands to switch spaces. At this point, I don't recall if it was ctrl-arrow or ctrl-(space number). Probably the latter, as I had 9 spaces set up with dedicated apps.
I was never able to figure a way out of the lockup. Sometimes it would resolve on it's own, other times, I would have to reboot.
The solution for me was to quit using Spaces. Since I had two monitors, it was not that big of a deal.
I'll turn it back on & see if this hint works for me.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: dpmcintyre on Jun 16, '11 08:29:31AM

I hope this works on my systems.
I see this frequently on both a MacPro and somewhat infrequently on an iMac 24".

I do not have those SIMBL plugins on either.

I do use the same brand non Apple USB keyboard on both, and until now, I've had to unplug the USB keyboard whenever that has happened.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: giskard22 on Jun 16, '11 09:11:11AM

I have also experienced this bug. If you have Fast User Switching enabled, you can simply use the menu to switch to the login window. This re-enables the keyboard, and you can switch back to your account.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: ylee on Jun 16, '11 09:33:07AM

I do have this issue, and haven't tried the Dashboard method; will do so the next time.

Killing the Dock doesn't work for me, but what always does is going to the login window and returning via Fast User Switch.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: pcurtner on Jun 16, '11 09:38:17AM

I've noticed that when I'm running ARD 3.4 and switch between spaces (two rows) I often lose all keyboard input and the SPaces animation stays visible.

Usually, maybe 90% of the time, banging away on Tab and ` (tilde) will eventually bring keyboard input back. Mouse input stays working.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: nickv2002 on Jun 16, '11 09:39:38AM

I have the same issue quite frequently. I've been solving it by unplugging and re-attaching my keyboard (via USB). It's kind of a pain so this would be an improved solution (I haven't had a chance to test yet). I hope they finally fix this issue in Lion but (if this works) it's certainly better than my previous work-around.

BTW, I don't have any SIMBL plugins but I do run USB Overdrive, is anyone else running that?



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: nickv2002 on Jun 17, '11 11:24:17PM

Scratch my earlier comment:

Unfortunately, bringing up Dashboard doesn't seem to work for me. I just experienced this problem and I could't bring up Dashboard with my keyboard. I have it mapped to a key on my mouse and that did bring it up but it didn't clear the stuck spaces switcher.

I'll stick with unplugging and plugging back in the USB keyboard: I have a USB switch device under my desk to do just that (because I use the keyboard on a PC too).



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: trenthturner on Jun 16, '11 09:58:05AM

I was having the same problem with Spaces. My solution was to quit using Spaces. I could get the keyboard to unfreeze by switching users to go back to the login screen, but that was a pain.
I re-enabled Spaces to try this solution out, but it didn't work for me. I'm not using any of the software mentioned in other comments.
What seemed to trigger the problem most often was switching to space 8 (of 9). That's where I kept NeoOffice & OpenOffice. I switched using ctrl-8.
I'm on a early 2008 17" MBP with an external monitor, and using keyboard & trackpad on the MBP.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: hibbelig on Jun 16, '11 03:19:41PM

I observe the freezes when Parallels is running. Haven't observed the freezes at any other time.

I could make the animation go away by selecting a space from the spaces drop-down menu in the right half of the menu bar. But that doesn't fix the keyboard issue.

I've never tried the Dashboard trick, so I don't know if that gives me the keyboard back.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: Eric3 on Jun 16, '11 09:20:32PM

I've had this happen from time to time. It only affects Snow Leopard, and although it's triggered by using a Spaces keyboard shortcut, it seems to only happen during or after using Screen Sharing or any VNC application.

I've found that while relaunching the Dock gets the keyboard working again only until the next time the shortcut is used, sleeping the screen (Control-Shift-Eject) seems to make the problem go away for much longer.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: scottbayes on Jun 16, '11 11:30:51PM

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. Any ideas about why this should be the case?]

Because you're lazy? Or haven't had an opportunity?

:-)



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: felix-fi on Jun 17, '11 02:59:13AM

I had this problem in the past running Things when activating the key combination to add a task.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: eagebhart on Jun 17, '11 10:23:22AM

This seems to be related to accessibility and global hot keys. I started getting this error when I turned that feature on and started using Alfred and had to turn on and define a global hotkey. I managed to fix it by turning it all back off and stop using Alfred.

It started recurring again when I added a hotkey for the iterm2 visor. It will sometimes go away if I hit the hotkey for the visor,
it does not activate the visor, but it does get spaces to release the keyboard.

It may be that hitting any global hotkey will reclaim the keyboard from spaces.

Sometimes that does not work, and then I kill the dock. I keep activity monitor running at all times just to make it easier.

Sometimes unplugging the keyboard works but not always.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: Piman on Jun 18, '11 01:19:52PM

I've recently been having this problem and am just glad to hear that I'm not the only one - so I'm not going crazy :)
I've restarted in the past to fix it, so I'm looking forward to trying the Dashboard method to see if it does work. Once I was able to get it fixed by switching to my Bluetooth keyboard, and then turning off the Bluetooth.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: connectfailed on Jun 18, '11 09:00:22PM

I also have this problem fairly often. Sometimes just pressing and releasing Control does the trick, but not consistently.

One thing that always fix the problem for me is turning off the screen with Control-Shift-Eject as mentioned above. This also solve an occasional annoying problem with the login windows not appearing after wake from sleep.

Turning off the screen with an active screen corner also always works for me.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: sclough on Jun 19, '11 07:57:26PM

I've had this problem for a while in Snow Leopard. It has been a while though so maybe one of the latest updates fixed it. I solved it by creating an applescript that locks the screen and giving it a shortcut on my dock. Then, when this happened, I'd use the mouse to run the apple script which would lock the screen. From the locked screen the keyboard always worked again and I could login and begin using the keyboard again.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: dr_bonzo on Jun 20, '11 06:49:40AM

***Backspace or fn+backspace*** works for me in 99% times (i press both, as sometimes first somethimes the other works) unblocks the keyboard on a MacbookPro, iMacs. If not this - then I enter Login screen (without logout!!!) and relogin.

PS. Be sure to check whether you havent deleted something (like entered text). If you do it quickly - you will prevent "entering" the backspace key.
Try doing this on a new document etc. where you cant delete anything.

This happens on my 2 macs + some more. I had no SIMBLs etc, it was newly reinstalled snow leopard. On Leopard it didnt block.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: jlbhibiscus on Jun 21, '11 05:52:45AM

I am having this problem for over three years now with two computers, one iMac 2007 and one Mac mini Intel.
It was with Mac OS X 10.5, then 10.6.
It reappears avery few hours without pattern. I have nine spaces on both computers. Most of the time, when it freezes, I quit Safari and the problem is cured. But sometimes, I have to quit iChat also or, even, restart the computers.
Both computers are ON 24 hours a day.
My iMac has most of the times about 6 applications open at all times. The Mac mini has about 4.

Next time it freezes on me, I will try the Dashboard key to see if it works.

As I can see it now, the problem is well spread but the solution is still evasive. I sincerely hope that Apple finds the cure in Lion.
Thanks for this input to this old problem.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: mlm on Jun 22, '11 07:32:41PM
Happens to me frequently. I have many extras installed and have many applications open, including XQuartz (X11), so conflicts don't surprise me. Sometimes the keyboard freezes without even the spaces thing showing, but it definitely has to do with spaces switching. Haven't found the pattern yet, but I have found that putting the machine to sleep and waking it up a few seconds later clears the problem. Many ways to put it to sleep: use the mouse with the Apple menu, the appropriate physical button on your model Mac, or even an AppleScript tied to a button or click on a device. (Lately I've had one of the buttons on my Wacom Intuous3 tablet set to run an AppleScript application that contains simply tell application "System Events" to sleep

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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: flip on Jun 24, '11 06:53:58AM

I haven't got a chance to try this tip yet, but my solution to unlock the keyboard, in this case, is to put the screen to sleep briefly from a hot corner. That never failed.



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: dr_bob_cms on Jun 25, '11 09:02:45AM

This happens to me (typically when I have a high load on my laptop). I just close the cover (to put it to sleep) and then reopen (once it has gone to sleep).



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: asmeurer on Jul 18, '11 05:25:40PM

So this dashboard thing may have been a coincidence, or else it only works in certain cases, because I too have found that it does not always work.

I just did Control-C and that made it go away two consecutive times, but again, that may also be a coincidence. Maybe someone else could try that?

The one way that does always work is, as other commenters have said, to lock the screen (I didn't know about this when I submitted this hint). If you have have your screensaver set to lock immediately, you can use a hot corner. Otherwise, I recommend putting the lock icon in your menu bar (go to the preferences in the Keychain application).



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Unfreeze when moving between spaces
Authored by: asmeurer on Aug 12, '11 05:06:40AM

Two things:

First, Control-C definitely works. I did it several times, and it worked every time.

Second, this is no longer an issue in Lion (thank God!).



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