Of the many problems that have haunted computer users since the dawn of the Information Age, one that never seems to go away is the occasional frozen screen that renders a software application completely inoperative and often requires a reboot. The rebooted system, in turn, may not have saved the work that was going on when the “hang” occurred.

While most of us have learned to live with this unpleasant fact of life, we can hardly be complacent when such a hang wipes out critical work on our most important systems. Of course, we may have backups available on- or off-site that could save us, but if the need is immediate—as in the case of air traffic controllers, for example—backup may be a moot point. Even in the everyday business of insurance and financial services, a delay of just a few minutes could result in a disastrously wrong decision and a consequent loss of time and money, especially if the hang is not immediately noticeable.

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