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Tech 101: What to do when your computer freezes

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Tech 101: What to do when your computer freezes

Pop quiz: How often do you need to restart your computer for best performance? 

Here’s a hint. If you only do it when your machine crashes or needs to update, that’s not enough. Tap or click for my recommendation for keeping your computer happy

It’s frustrating to deal with a slow, lagging computer day in and day out. Tap or click for six easy tactics to speed up an old PC. 

Sometimes the issues are more acute. If your computer is unresponsive, slow down and follow these steps.

Restart first 

OK, this step is obvious, but there is often confusion here. Some people think they have to pull the computer’s power plug or flip the switch on the power strip. Instead, hold the computer’s power button for 5 to 10 seconds to power it off. 

A few things can happen next when your computer comes back on.  

1. Computer starts fine 

If the computer starts up fine, don’t just move on without second thought. This is an excellent reminder to back up your important information if a serious problem is on the way. Otherwise, you could find yourself scrambling through more complicated ways to get files off a dead computer.  

Need help? Here’s what you need to know about backing up like a pro. 

If your computer does freeze again, keep reading. 

2. Computer asks you how to boot 

While restarting, the computer might indicate an error with Windows and ask if you want to start normally or in Safe Mode. Choose to start Windows normally. Then back up your data and see if it freezes again. 

If Windows fails to boot normally three times in a row, it will enter Automatic Repair Mode. Here you can boot into Safe Mode. To do so, interrupt the boot-up process. Before Windows finishes loading, press down on the power button for four seconds to interrupt the process. 

If this is the second time your computer has frozen, choose to boot in “Safe Mode with Networking.” Try using the computer like this and see if it freezes again. 

If it doesn’t freeze in Safe Mode, it’s likely a software problem.  

If Windows fails to boot normally three times in a row, it will enter Automatic Repair Mode. Here you can boot into Safe Mode. To do so, interrupt the boot-up process. Before Windows finishes loading, press down on the power button for four seconds to interrupt the process. 

If this is the second time your computer has frozen, choose to boot in “Safe Mode with Networking.” Try using the computer like this and see if it freezes again. 

If it doesn’t freeze in Safe Mode, it’s likely a software problem.  

If it doesn’t freeze in Safe Mode, it’s likely a software problem.  
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3. Computer freezes again immediately 

If the computer freezes again immediately after booting, whether in normal mode or Safe Mode, you could have a serious software or hardware problem. It’s most likely a hardware problem, though. 

4. Your computer is checking the disk 

There could be corrupt data on your hard drive, and the computer is trying to repair that data. If so, it will start with a check disk. You mustn’t interrupt this process, or you risk further data loss.  

The process can take anywhere from 5 minutes to half a day, depending on how far gone the drive is, and you’ll see a percentage counter on your screen. If your drive has failed completely, you’ll need to do a clean install of Windows and replace the disk. 

Basic troubleshooting steps 

An occasional or consistent computer freeze could result from a program acting up. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + ESC to open Windows Task Manager. Select the “Performance” tab. You might need to click the “More Details” link at the bottom of the Task Manager to see everything running and if a program uses excessive resources. 

Start using your computer as usual, but keep an eye on the CPU, memory, and disk categories. If the computer freezes and one of these is really high, that could be your answer. Make a note of which area was high, then restart the computer and open Task Manager again. 

This time, choose the “Processes” tab. Sort the list by CPU, memory, or disk, whichever was high the last time the computer froze, and see what process pops up to the top of the list as the computer freezes. This should tell you what software is giving up trouble so you can uninstall or update it. 

You might also have hidden software, such as a virus, causing problems. Run a scan with your security software to uncover something that shouldn’t be there. Tap or click for free tools to check if your machine is infected with a virus

In cases where your computer freezes during startup in normal mode but boots OK in Safe Mode, the problem could be a program that’s loading during the boot sequence. Tap or click here to make your startup process cleaner

If your computer is freezing during startup no matter what, and it’s at the same point, the problem could be corruption in Windows or a hardware problem. Tap or click for steps to restore a clean version of Windows on your PC

Update Upgrade Installation Latest Updating Concept
Hold the computer’s power button for 5 to 10 seconds to power it off. 
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What if it’s the hardware 

On the hardware side, start with your peripherals. Unplug everything but your monitor and keyboard and see if the computer starts up. One by one, you can add your accessories back in to see if any triggers an issue. 

The problem could also be with your hard drive, an overheating CPU, bad memory, or a failing power supply. It might also be your motherboard, although that’s rare. 

Usually, with a hardware problem, freezing will start sporadic but increase in frequency as time goes on. Or it will trigger when the computer is working hard, but not when you’re doing more basic things. 

There are free sites that can tell if you have a failing hard drive. Tap or click for six ways to check for a failing hard drive

You should also check the temperature of your machine. A program like SpeedFan can tell you if your computer processor is overheating or fluctuating voltages, which might be a problematic power supply. 

If these DIY fixes don’t help and your machine is still failing, it might be time to start shopping. If your computer is newer, it might still be under warranty. Contact the manufacturer or seller to check.

Bonus Tip: How to find out everything Amazon knows about you 

Amazon knows your voice, search history, advertiser preferences, favorite books, Alexa history, and more. I speak with two Reuters reporters who exposed the secret war Amazon wages on your privacy in this episode. You’ll learn how to find everything Amazon knows about you — and how to delete it and stop the tracking for good. 

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player. 

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.” 

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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