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'Not Responding' happens when a program hangs or takes too long to do something. In Internet Explorer, that's often due to add-ons.

"Not Responding" happens when programs that are supposed to "check in" with Windows periodically or allow Windows to check in with them don't either because they're too busy and not written to allow that to happen or they've crashed and/or are hung.

In this video segment from an Ask Leo! webinar, I discuss what "Not Responding" means and the most common cause when it happens in Internet Explorer.

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I get 'not responding' a lot; particularly in IE and QuickBooks. Is there any way to tell what's going on or should I just keep shrugging my shoulders and closing the program?

I don't really have a good answer for QuickBooks because I have some experience with QuickBooks; it's not my favorite program in the world, but that's not related to anything like 'not responding'. I'm just not a big fan of its user interface.

Internet Explorer, on the other hand, I do have some ideas that I would point you to. What I would do is in Tools, go to Manage Add-ons and I would take a look at some of the add-ons that you happen to have installed; you can see that I don't happen to have many here: SnagIt, LastPass, and this Windows Live ID Sign-in Helper, whatever that is.

But I would look for suspicious add-ons; suspicious meaning anything that you don't necessarily recognize. And I would just right-click on it and disable anything that you don't recognize or potentially disable them all and see if that makes the problem any better. Nine times out of 10, problems with Internet Explorer are in fact, not problems with Internet Explorer. They are problems with software that has been added to Internet Explorer in the form of add-ons.

So, I also want to point you at this article here 'How do I disable Internet Explorer add-ons?' because it's a place that I commonly point people to that are having problems with Internet Explorer.

For those that aren't aware, what 'not responding' means is when a program is running in Windows, it basically has to every so often tell Windows, 'OK, you can do something now.' It actually goes back to the very, very earliest days of Windows. when the way that more than one program was run on the same machine was done very, very differently. Today, it's one of the ways that Windows detects whether a program is actually 'hung." Not responding means that Windows has attempted to communicate with the program in some way and the program hasn't responded.

Nine times out of 10, it means there's something wrong with the program. That one time of 10, it simply means that the program is simply taking too long to do something and isn't written in such a way that it can do that and still be able to respond to Windows.

So with respect to IE, look at the Add-ons; with respect to QuickBooks, I haven't a clue. I would probably point you at Intuit and see if they have any recommendations. If I had to make a guess on QuickBooks, it's they are at the 10%; they are that one in 10 that simply have their software written in such a away that doing something that's calculation intensive and it's not opening itself up to be able to respond to Windows in a timely manner.

Article C5232 - April 22, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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Reva Vest
April 24, 2012 9:33 AM

Im getting program not responding a lot.when I play a vidio from Godline its like pulling teeth to close it out.

April 24, 2012 9:52 AM

At work sometimes, I map to peoples drives to fix security problems, copy files to their drives, etc... Sometimes I remove them right away and sometimes I forget. I also get in before everybody else does, so when I start working on my system, their systems are usually not turned on. My system would take forever (in computer time) to open files. I was stumped, every windows Ap I opened would also take forever. Then I checked my mappings and noticed a broken map. For some reason - every time windows does just about anything, it rechecks the mappings. Every broken mapping would take about 30 seconds (like I said - a long time in the computer world) before it would time out for each broken map. Now I automatically look at my mappings whenever I notice that it isn't responding - or very slow in responding.

For clarity I assume what you refer to as "mappings" are actually drive mappings to network shares, more commonly referred to as persistent network connections.

Pat Rochester
April 24, 2012 5:18 PM

I get that Not Responding more times than I care to count. I only have 2 add-ons. One I just recently added. It hasn't made any difference in the amount of times I get the not responding. One, two or none at all. It's all the same. I have XP-Pro, service pack 3, IE 8. I used to have a wireless connection and got fed up with the poor service. I now have CenturyLink. Even that hasn't made any difference in the amount of times I get Not Responding. When I saw your article in today's newsletter, I was all excited because I thought I was going to have a solution to my problem. I even read quite a few of the other comments hoping that someone would have something for me to try.

April 25, 2012 12:48 AM

these cases of not responding initially are in 50% cases silently closed in windows 7 or windows7 recovers the page again. in win7, only very few cases are stubborn and need task manager to be invoked. some of these problems could probably be those corruped files which sfc says it could not repair and leaves a log behind. leo may suggest simple procedure if any to restore corrupt files not repaired by sfc, like easy way to identify the complete path of the files and extracting those specific files from win7 cd so thar we may not try booting with cd and repairing.if a solution is suggested, it will help almost all users in restoring files, FREE

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