Killing Rogue Programs

Regardless of the operating system that you are running, there are occasions where your system stuffs up. A program can start running quite innocently (perhaps having been started by some application you are running in order to perform some specific task not part of the main program). Sometimes through some quirk in the program or something relating to the combination of programs you are running and how they are interrelated, one program can refuse to shut down and ties up resources on your computer, perhaps stopping you from being able to run further programs on your system or even stopping you from continuing to use the programs that you already have running.

Windows 95 and its successor programs through Windows ME use CNTL+ALT+Delete to bring up a list of executing programs and allowing you to select one or more to shut down. Windows NT and 2000 have the Task Manager that performs the same function. In Linux, you can kill rogue programs in a number of different ways.

With OS/2 it is not so obvious how to do this. The reason for this is that with OS/2 you are given the option as to whether you want the ability to bring up a list of running programs so as to be able to kill one of them.

By default, the feature to allow you to easily kill rogue programs in OS/2 is turned off. To turn this feature on, you need to add the following statement to your config.sys file:


Once you have done this and rebooted your system you will have the ability to easily list all executing programs and select one to kill just like in the other operating systems.

The easy way to kill programs in OS/2 is using the Warp Centre. (You were wondering why this topic was listed under that category heading weren't you.) The way that you do it is using the second button from the left hand end of the warp centre. When you click this button normally, it pops up a list of running applications and allows you to select the one that you want brought into the foreground. With the KILL feature enabled, this button can also be used to perform the kill function. If you hold down the CTRL key when you press this button, a complete list of all running programs will be displayed instead of the list of running applications that you can swap between. This list will include all of the programs running in the background of your system that you cannot bring to the foreground when swapping between programs.

You need to be very careful when selecting a program from this list when you held down the CTRL key in getting it to display because this is actually the kill list. Whichever program you select from this list will be killed, terminated, stop running. If you select the wrong program, you can stop your OS/2 system from functioning properly.

This function is really useful when some program just refuses to release control of the system sufficiently to use its normal close process but you need to be absolutely sure of which program that it is that needs to be killed. It can be extremely useful to have this facility turned on so that it is available when you need it. This option can give you the ability to kill a rogue program and return control of your system to you without requiring you to shut down your system (without first closing OS/2) and rebooting just because some program has locked you out and refuses to let you use your system.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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