Automatically Kill Hanging Applications in Windows XP

Filed under: Windows XP 

Since applications will never be perfect, we have to deal with hanging applications once in a while. In Windows XP, applications are qualified as hanging based on their response time. After a certain period of non-responsiveness, Windows decides the application is hanging and informs the user of the problem.

In many cases you will simply decide to terminate the hanging application. Waiting for the application to respond will probably take more time than to kill the application and restart it.

So can Windows not do this for us? The answer is yes, we can indeed tell Windows to kill hanging applications automatically. The following steps tell you how to do this:

  1. First start the Registry Editor. Select Run from the Windows Start menu and type regedit in the Run box.
  2. In the Registry Editor, locate the following key:
    HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Now double-click the value WaitToKillAppTimeout.
  4. In the Edit String dialog box, type a value for the timeout. This value is in milliseconds, so typing a value of 1000 means that hanging applications will be terminated after 1 second.

Note: Be carefull with the timeout value you specify. As short value will give faster windows, because applications do not make the computer slow anymore, but applications that really need some processing time might be terminated for the wrong reason.


One Comment to “Automatically Kill Hanging Applications in Windows XP”

  1. Walt says:

    can’t find WaitToKillAppTimeout
    My internet is loading very slow now.
    I am using an older computer with windows XP and it has been very good for me till a week or so ago.
    I have downloaded a few programs in the past couple of weeks. I started with Mcfee total protection to try to have a more up to date security system in place.I added stopzilla for any spyware malware etc.
    It’s scan said that i had a trojan some hacker stuff and spyware. I ran the fix and my internet is still slower than a couple of weeks ago. I downloaded uniblue Powersuite to fix any other problems, but none has worked. I can’t find them problem and maybe I will have to give up and take this thing in for a colonic

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