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Author Topic: waiting for Task Host window to close  (Read 3286 times)

Curt

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waiting for Task Host window to close
« on: March 10, 2013, 07:28:43 PM »
The day before yesterday I ran CrystalDiskInfo, and the thermometer said 42°C. Yesterday it said 48°C, and today it is shouting 58°C (you can cook a roast-beef at this temperature)!! - each time after approx 2 hours from Start.

-this problem suddenly became a potential life-threatening problem!  :o

I had never heard about the Microsoft Windows 7 program Task Host until today. Windows Media Player was filling my ears with sweet sounds, and was the only program doing any work worth mentioning, when suddenly I needed to leave in a hurry. So I clicked "Start" > "Exit", and went off.

Being asked later on if I could do this and that, I felt I needed to get some warmer cloth because winter just came back this morning, so I quickly returned to my home. Lucky me! To my big and sad surprise, I found Windows "waiting for Task Host window to close"!

Why "lucky me"? Because, if I haven't returned, my hard drives could have caught fire (seriously!) and burned down the house and killed a hundred and seventeen people. And their relatives and their assurance companies would have chased me to the end of the world... All because someone somewhere made a pooh, or didn't.

The task host's job is to end and close programs, and stop tasks already running. It has no window. Well, it had no window. Get me right; it may have a window in certain circumstances, but it did not display any window at this particular moment, because there was no window at all to see. So why wait for something that is not going to happen in the first place? I don't know if you are familiar with an old book called "Catch 22", but in my imagination this situation already was building up to become a Catch 22 situation! I accept it as a fact that it merely was in my imagination, because in real life I simply clicked the "force"-button, of course.


And now to my question...: On former editions of Windows we could have some third party application to force programs to exit, preventing this "never-closing Windows". Please name such a useful program (or setting?) for my 64-bits Windows 7 Home Premium. I can't remember any relevant application names at the moment, so I need your help again.
 :tellme:

« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 03:35:21 AM by Curt, Reason: less confusion »

f0dder

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Re: waiting for Task Host window to close
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 11:10:15 AM »
Even though a process might not have a visible window you can see, "windows" are used by Windows for more than just showing windows - and even each visible window is usually constructed from mutiple smaller "window objects" :-P

Yep, the above was meant to confuse! :)

So, even programs that don't have any visible windows might still use a "window object" - "what good is that!", you might ask? And this would be a fine question indeed. A window object, even if invisible, has an associated Message Queue, which is one of Windows' ways for letting programs communicate with each other; some APIs require this, and thus you might see even console applications have these hidden windows.

If, for some reason, a program stops processing messages from it's message queue, Windows will deem that program "unresponsive". This can happen for various reasons, including bugs in the program itself, as well as 3rd party code. Various "system enhancers" that use windows hooks can do a lot of mischief!

That was a bit of background story, which might not bring you any closer to a solution. It sounds like you returned after a longer time period, which puzzles me a bit - I thought the shutdown process ended up doing force-kill after a few minutes or so.

My guess is it's a buggy 3rd party program that messes up the shutdown sequence, but it's not a super easy thing to debug - you're in a situation where you can't start any new programs to diagnose the problem, and any previously-loaded diagnostic programs would have already been shut down :)
- carpe noctem

Curt

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Re: waiting for Task Host window to close
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 11:31:39 AM »
It sounds like you returned after a longer time period, which puzzles me a bit - I thought the shutdown process ended up doing force-kill after a few minutes or so.

-yes, maybe half an hour went by. But this is why I was talking about Catch 22: the "force-kill" should be done by Task Host, the very same program Windows was waiting for!

My guess is that Task Host believed it was showing a popup box, which I needed to click. Anyway, the problem was a first time ever, and I hope never to experience it again. I am just disappointed it could even happen in the first place.

Thanks for explaining!