Take control of an unresponsive computer with Antifreeze


Freeware program Antifreeze offers a last recourse when your computer freezes/becomes unresponsive.

Invoked by a hotkey combination (CTRL-Win-Alt-Home), it will “put to sleep all running programs except the most critical ones”, with the objective of giving you back the ability to intervene and close problematic programs.

Imagine the situation: you’ve been working on a project for some time when your computer suddenly hangs.

You do not know when was the last time that you’d saved, but you would very much prefer not to hit the reset button, even though by the looks of it it seems that that’s going to be inevitable.

The mouse is still moving, but the task manager is not coming up, and everything is frozen.

Thoughts race through your head: why, why why did my computer do this? Is it a virus? Or perhaps I was running too many programs? But how can I go back and close programs and windows when everything is in a virtual coma and not even the task manager is coming up? Good thing I installed Antifreeze; surely now once I press its hotkey combination I will get control of my system back and be able to take some remedial action.

I’ve had this program installed for a few days now, waiting (hoping) for Windows to crash, but unfortunately (?) it didn’t. So there you have it: you cannot count on Windows to crash when you want it to!! I should’ve bought a Mac ;).

Therefore I am going a bit on a limb recommending this program that I was not able to test. I’m hoping that it works as advertised; please report on your experience with this program and whether or not it worked for you in the comments section below.

How it works: I did try it without a crash, and here’s what happens: a distinct beep followed by the screen being cleared of all but the background wallpaper, followed by the Antifreeze console which looks like a sleeker, more advanced version of the windows task manager. The Antifreeze console will announce that it has disabled all but the critical Windows processes, and will allow you to shut down the other applications/processes. It will display a list that shows the memory and CPU usage of apps and processes.

According to the Antifreeze help file, Antifreeze works well if the computer hangs or becomes unresponsive due to the following :

  • One or more programs are engaged in intensive tasks and consume too much processor cycles, causing the system to become unresponsive
  • One or more programs consume so much memory that the swapping file is heavily used, overloading the system
  • Programs are running with a scheduling priority which is so high that they consume all processor resources
  • Too many programs are running at the same time and they all have to compete for attention from the processor..

A few more notes on this:

  • To have access to it when you need it, you will have to keep it running in memory at all times. The good news is that it takes only about 4 megs of memory. One thing I would have liked: the ability to remove the Antifreeze icon from the system tray.
  • It is NOT guaranteed to work.
  • If your computer is frozen but the mouse still moves, that is a good sign (the opposite is probably not a good sign).

Version Tested: 1.00 build 100.3111

Compatibility: Windows XP Service Pack 2 (including x64 edition), Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Vista (including x64 edition).

Go to the download page to get the latest version (approx 732K). Also visit the program home page.

  • Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how much I appreciate you finding and posting these apps. More than one has found its way into near-constant use here.

  • Matt

    Well, I just installed the program, and me being impatient and not wanting to wait for my computer to freeze, I pressed the key combination to see what would happen and my computer froze.

    Yeah, how ironic.

  • i dont know how long did u test this application but
    i got the following results…
    i installed antifreeze, it started after installation and appeared in system tray. so i decided to use emergency hotkeys combination and immidietly got BSOD!
    (my configuration: intel p4 2.4ghz, i865, 2Gb ram, nv quadro fx1100, winxp sp2 )
    perfect! i think i will use more convinient ways to save my data than bsod and reboot.
    to say the truth i practically never get the situation when i cant save important data cause of one or two hanged processes on my machines…
    as to antifreeze i think its much better to use alternate to cltrl alt del fast and lightweight process manager (i.e. process killer) for ability to prevent unresponsive state of all processes (one after another, like a chain) cause of one unstable. and to tweak explorer shell: restart automatically in case of crashes without restarting\closing processes and applications…

  • Good find Samer
    I shall have to try this one out.
    I use process tamer from the donation coder website. Kinda does the same thing, except automatically limits resource usage.
    Interesting note about the mouse.
    my problem is i have a wireless mouse, and so when my computer freezes, the mouse moves, but with much lagging.

  • saicode

    I work on both Mac and Windows and
    I have seem Mac also freezing…not so often.. but it does!

    Where is the rating for this application, that’s quite useful.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Kittycalbard

    This could be a very useful app! I almost never get a system crash, but occasionally my overloading the system with tasks will cause a program to go into berzerk resource sucking mode and make it impossible for me to do much of anything with my system until I find a way to kill it (aside from using a hammer).

    I think FreewareGenius is one of the best reasons for using Windows. :o) It’s just frosting on the cake for me, though, since I was already dedicated to the PC. Simply put, what I saw when I was dating a Machead was a lot like the commentary here:
    (I don’t know the person. I found the site accidentally, but find it so entertaining that I read it via RSS and recommend it often!)

  • NightCougar

    Not freeware but now trialware.

  • moosish

    I’ve been using it on my laptop (XP) for a couple of months now. It definitely works, but ONLY if you’re frozen up first! (I can’t believe that other people are trying to test it out without having a freeze-up first – duh!) I’ve had to use it about 5 times, and every time but once it stopped the freeze-up right away. Great product, thanks!