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by Phil Ball

Q. I used Windows XP for years until I had to replace it with a Windows 7 machine. I find that I like Win7 a lot. However, one thing vexes me. I used to use the "Three-finger Salute" (CTRL + ALT +DEL) whenever a program or Windows locked up. This brought up the Task Manager where I could close down the offending program. In Win7, however, this just brings up a menu that offers Task Manager as an option but I don't like having to click that many times. In that situation, I'm already upset at my computer and I want to quickly get to the Task Manager. Any suggestions?

A. I agree that is one of the annoying things about Windows 7. I quickly learned a new "Three-finger Salute" to quickly access the all-important Task Manager. Instead of the old CTRL + ALT +DEL combination, I now use CTRL + SHIFT + ESC which takes me directly to the Task manager without delay. Then click on the Applications tab where all running programs are listed. Simply click once on the offending program to select it (it will usually be marked as Not Responding) and click the End Task button near the bottom of the box. This will get rid of the offending program so you can restart it and continue on as if nothing happened.

Note the information displayed on the status bar at the bottom of the task manager screen. It tells you about how much of your CPU (computer brainpower) is in use at the moment and more importantly, how much of your RAM (the computer's memory) is in use. If this is a high percentage 60-70% or more, it means your computer is working hard with little RAM to spare and it would be a good idea to shut down some of the programs in use to lessen the load. Some programs will not release RAM that they have been using until you shut down the program and restart it which clears the RAM and restores more computing power to your machine.

Published: Courier 1/13/13 - Page 4C