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Recovering Work on Frozen iMacs


We've all had the unpleasant experience of witnessing a student lose their work when a computer in the lab freezes or crashes. Usually, in the case of the perennially freezing iMacs, it is possible to recover work from Microsoft Office. Here are the steps.

1. Ascertain if the computer is frozen beyond help. Try Command + option + escape to see if you can open the task manager. Check to see if Word is just frozen, or if the whole system is frozen. If it's just Word, and the document was saved somewhere on the computer, then you can force quit Word and reopen the document.
2. If the whole system is frozen, it's time for a hard reboot. Hold the power button in until the computer shuts down.
3. Start the computer up again
4. Instruct the student to log in
5. During the log in process, a window asking whether to open applications that were open when the system was shut down may appear. If so, choose "open." Word should reopen at this point and display the document that was open when the computer froze. Save it to a flash drive as fast as possible!
6. If you don't get that option, let the desktop load as normal, and then launch Word.
7. Word should automatically recover the document and it will appear. Save it to a flash drive as fast as possible!

The Apple computers in the lab run a script when a user selects to log out or to shut down that deletes the login profile and its associated files. When you hard reboot it, you prevent the system from running that script, and it does not delete the profile or the associated files, leaving them to be possibly recovered.

**I have confirmed this trick also works on the Mac Minis in the lab.


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