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Is spyware behind frozen cursor?

Q: For the last month or so, my Windows XP PC's cursor has been freezing in place about two or three times a week. Nothing but a reboot will make the cursor function again, and because I can't use the cursor I have to turn the PC off with the power switch. Is there another way to unfreeze the cursor, or a way to reboot the PC using the keyboard?

A: It is possible to shut down your PC without the cursor. If you push the Ctrl, Alt and Delete buttons simultaneously, you'll call up the Task Manager, which can be operated by the keyboard. By holding down only the Alt key you can toggle to the File listing at the top of the screen. Then use the right arrow key to toggle until you reach the Shut Down listing. Push the Enter key and you'll be given several choices. Use the down arrow key to toggle to "Turn Off" and push the Enter key again; this will shut down your PC.

The larger question is why your cursor is freezing. Because it began happening recently, I suspect it's caused by spyware. Run the free Spybot -- Search & Destroy 1.5.2 program, which can be downloaded at www.startribune.com/a4205. If that doesn't work, make a list of the programs that are running when the cursor freezes. If some programs are competing for processor time or for random-access memory, you shouldn't try to run them at the same time.

E-mail questions to tech@startribune.com.

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