Keyboard freeze during lockups just a symptom of bigger trouble


July 04, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Why is it that many times when my computer locks up, CTRL-ALT-DEL doesn't seem to do anything, and I must instead power down the computer? Even when the blue screen pops up, hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart does nothing.

Most likely your particular crashes are disabling the keyboard, which is why the computer can't see your three-key command. If you wanted to check this out you could get a keyboard that connects differently than your current one does - substitute a PS/2 connection for a USB one, or vice versa.

If this crash problem is frequent, I'd urge you to take steps to fix it rather than fret over the keyboard issue. Chronic-crash fixes include reinstalling the operating system at the easy end and a complete reformat in extreme cases.

Often just inserting the system-restore disk that came with the computer and ordering it to refresh the operating system will fix these problems by repairing whatever code has become corrupted to cause the blue screens.

If your computer is running Windows ME or better, you can also try using the System Restore command to take the machine back in time to before the blue screen crashes started to happen.

Finally, system-restore CDs also include the draconian option of reformatting the hard drive and starting over again with the machine in its from-the-factory state, a terrible bother because one must back up all data and then later reload the software.

James Coates is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. He can be reached via e-mail at

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