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How to Handle a Mac Freeze

Hypnotized by the spinning beach ball of death? Regain control of your Mac when it locks up.


  • Step 1: Force quit Force quit an unresponsive application by either pressing and holding down Command Option Escape, or by clicking the Apple and selecting Force Quit. Then select the application and click the Force Quit button.
  • Step 2: Quit processes Quit programs not listed in Force Quit, such as the dock, by going to the Utilities folder and opening Process Viewer. Select the process and click the Quit Process button.
  • Step 3: Log out Log out if the computer remains frozen despite quitting applications and processes. Click the Apple and select Log Out; and then log back on to see if the problem is fixed.
  • Step 4: Shut down Shut down the computer if everything else fails by holding down the power button until the computer turns off.
  • TIP: Leave the computer off for two minutes to help prevent data corruption.
  • Step 5: Restart Restart the computer by pressing the power button.
  • TIP: Go into safe mode to run a check of the hard drive by pressing and holding the Shift key when the computer chimes during startup.
  • Step 6: Relaunch Relaunch your applications to make sure the freeze has been fixed.
  • FACT: Did you know? In 1997, Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple to develop Microsoft Office for Apple, and in exchange Apple put Internet Explorer on their computers.

You Will Need

  • Computer running a Mac OS

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