student in media lab

Super Keys and Clicks

Force Quit and End Task

When your computer stops responding (freezes), you may be able to resume work by getting the application to quit, instead of restarting your computer.

  • Mac OSX When the dreaded rainbow beach ball won't stop spinning, Force Quit. Hold down the <Apple><option><esc> keys together. The Force Quit window will open and allow you to Force Quit only the application you were working in. Highlight the application, then click on the "Force Quit" button. You can also find Force Quit under the blue Apple menu, or slow click on the application's icon on the Dock.
  • Windows XP This keystroke combination has been around for a long time, but some people still don't know when to use it. Press <ctrl><alt><del> all together, then release. A window will open allowing you to shut down your computer. Or you can choose Task Manager and the list of open applications will be displayed. The application that is marked as "Not Responding", instead of "Running", is the one you want to click on, then click on the "End Task" button.

Document Recovery After a Freeze

Did you know that if you Force Quit or End Task with Microsoft Word or Excel, you may be able to recover your document? AutoRecover saves a copy of your document every 10 minutes by default. Do not simply go back and double click on your previous document. Instead, open Word or Excel from the Dock or a desktop shortcut. It will open the most recent "Recovered Document". You will have lost no more than 10 minutes of work.

Mighty Mouse Click Technique

If you can't think of which menu you need to open to find a feature in Word or Excel or Windows or even Mac OSX you can find it quickly with a:

  • Windows XP Right click. Opens a context sensitive menu that will show you everything you can do in that situation. For example, right click on a file or folder and you will see Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Create Shortcut, Properties, among other options.)
  • Mac OSX Control click. Same as Windows right click. You may also get a context sensitive menu to open when you click and hold for a second or two. For example, do this on the application icons on the Dock and you will see options to remove the icon from the Dock, show in Finder, Open or Quit, among other options, depending on the application.
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