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Another way to recover from application freezes Apps
When the rainbow pinwheel spins over a specific application's window, but changes to a pointer or cursor or finger etc. over every other applications' windows, I figure that app has frozen. I'll usually give it a minute or two to see if it'll thaw on its own. If not, traditionally, I would get my Force Quit window open before I start clicking around on any other app's windows for fear that the freeze might spread. But recently I tried something that has also worked for me a few times since, even with entire system freezes.

However, for reasons that will become obvious in the hint, I can only recommend you try this with a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air. Though you may have success with desktops by inducing a similar state; I have not tried.

Simply close the computer. Wait for it to go to sleep, as indicated by the pulsing light on the front of the case. I will usually wait a bit longer (around 5min).. I find that the more desperate i am for it to work, the longer i'm willing to wait. When I open it back up the rainbow pinwheel is gone. I'll often find an alert window wanting me to confirm an error or stop some unresponsive script or something, but without having having to Force Quit anything. I've got control back, and/or I didn't lose anything except some minutes -- sometimes.

I don't expect this trick to work for every freeze, and neither should you. But it's worked for me enough times that it's worth a try every time.

[crarko adds: I remember doing this sort of thing all the way back to the PowerBook 5300, and it's always been about 50/50 with success. One thing that does happen when putting the machine to sleep is that AirPort also goes inactive, leading to the method of this hint. I might try that first before putting the machine to sleep.]
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Or how about the programmer's interrupt switch?
Authored by: gabester on Jan 04, '12 09:05:14AM

Then you'd type G FINDER and cross your fingers for a chance to save your work.
g=



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Or how about the programmer's interrupt switch?
Authored by: hypert on Jan 04, '12 09:21:05AM

What is the programmer's interrupt keystroke?



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Or how about the programmer's interrupt switch?
Authored by: ebow on Jan 04, '12 10:10:08AM

Pretty sure that was a joke, referencing something that worked on very old Macs (the first few models).



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Or how about the programmer's interrupt switch?
Authored by: squalene on Jan 04, '12 10:20:22AM

The Programmer's interrupt switch was present, or at last attachable, on Macs from the original 1984 128k model, at least through the slot loading iMacs of 2000.



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Another way to recover from application freezes
Authored by: chabig on Jan 04, '12 10:50:16AM

Why wouldn't this work on a desktop too? Just put the machine to sleep from the Apple menu.



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Another way to recover from application freezes
Authored by: gabester on Jan 04, '12 11:08:49AM

If you have a spinning beach ball cursor due to the system begin locked up you probably can't activate the Apple menu... however it might be worth trying the "immediate force sleep" keystroke which I can never remember off the top of my head (and only need in a situation where access to my web browser has become inaccessible because I've got a spinning beach ball.)

I'm glad others here caught my obscure reference! With all this newfangled iOS touchiness and Lionized full screens, the remembering anything from old days seems quite nostalgic.



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Another way to recover from application freezes
Authored by: TechnoBob on Jan 04, '12 11:30:08AM

The "force sleep" keystroke is Option-Command-Eject, but if the Finder's the cause of the spinning beach ball, I wouldn't think it's likely to respond to the keyboard. (And yes, I had to look up the key combo at http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1343 .)



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