WhatIsHang Tells You Why A Windows Program Is Not Responding

Martin Brinkmann
May 3, 2011
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
Software, Windows software

Software may hang or freeze occasionally on a system. Sometimes it is hard to tell why it hangs, while it is more or less obvious at other times. Say you are currently rendering a video which taxes your cpu, memory and hard drive. If you now launch other applications on the system, it may happen that they hang or freeze. This can happen because they cannot read data fast enough from the hard drive, or do not have enough cpu cycles or ram available.

Sometimes however you may be left in bewilderment why a specific application hangs. If it freezes regularly you may want to analyze the situation to find out why that's the case, in hope of finding a way to resolve the situation.

WhatIsHang is a new Nirsoft software that tells you why a program is not responding in Windows.

whatishang software not responding

The portable software tries to detect software and processes that are currently not responding. Information about those applications are then displayed in the program interface.

Here you see the process name and window title of the application, the process ID and thread ID as well as the full path to the program executable.

The report created by the program may reveal information why the application is not responding. In the case of Notepad, it suggests that it may have something to do with a remote network file that may have caused the freeze of the program window.

You may notice that most of the information displayed is intended for tech savvy users. Some information, like file names or strings can however be used in searches to investigate the cause of the hang. Combining those names and strings with a search on the Internet may lead to possible fixes or explanations for the hang. Plus, you may be able to copy and paste the information into a forum or email to ask a proficient user about it.

WhatIsHang is another excellent Nirsoft application that should be part of everyone's tech tool collection. The program is compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system starting with Windows 2000.

Downloads are provided at the official Nirsoft website. The project web page offers some instructions on how to interpret the reports of the program, a good starting point for all users who intend to use the application.

A remark. WhatIsHang needs to be started on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and the server variants with elevated privileges if the active user account is having system or administrative privileges. Otherwise, no hanging applications will be detected.


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  1. Anonymous said on May 17, 2011 at 1:24 am

    @Ross Presser. Way to own up and take responsibility for your actions. Bravo.

    BTW, I think NirSoft has combined these tools into a utilities.( http://www.softwarecrew.com/2011/05/get-all-the-best-nirsoft-utilities-in-one-easy-to-use-package/comment-page-1/#comment-928 ) Instead of looking through all of their free tools, you can just download NirLauncher. Anyways, thought it might be useful.

  2. Ross Presser said on May 5, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Mr. Brinkmann, please accept my humble apology. It was rude of me to point this out publicly (an email would have been more than sufficient); and the last line of my comment made it twice as rude. I am sorry. I have been reading ghacks for about a year and have frequently enjoyed the articles here.

    Matias, “windows software” is a proper phrase as long as it is not preceded by the indefinite article. “A windows software” is better phrased as “A windows program”. “The Windows software” is a different phrase, and takes on a plural meaning, i.e. “All the programs in this collection that can be run on Windows” or “all the programs that make up the Windows operating system.”

  3. Matias said on May 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    google spits out +14.000.000 results for “windows software”… if it is not entirely correct, at least it´s widely used!
    PS: stop being an *ss, Ross.

  4. kalmly said on May 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Have to love Nir Sofer. I have two Windows softwares :) that freak out, run away with the CPU, and then freeze – irretrievably. No one has been able to tell me why. I love both of them but they’ve become impossible to use. I’m off to download WhatIsHang.

    @ Ross Presser:
    OBVIOUSLY Mr. Brinkmann is intelligent and well educated. AND – As you have just proven, there are a far worse failings than being unlettered. I hope you have learned something today, but I doubt that is possible.

  5. Rowan said on May 4, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I’ve been reading ghacks for a number of years now, and have read more articles here than I care to remember. Out of all those articles that I have read, I have not once suspected that you may not be a native English speaker. Sure, we all come across the odd grammatical error here or there, but even the most prudent writers make mistakes, and we as readers brush off minor mistakes. It’s common for even native english speakers to accidentally write “A windows software” or “A hardwares” even, as our minds do not natively think in sentences and we can easily combine two different sentences when expressing ourselves. If one were to think of the sentences “A windows program…” and “Windows software…”, surely it’s not beyond someone’s intellect to see how easily it could be skewed into “A windows software…”, especially when one has a busy day and/or is distracted. The quality of the articles on ghacks far outweigh any small grammatical or spelling error that may creep in.

    Ross, be nice. It goes a long way.

    Martin, keep up the good work.

  6. rick said on May 4, 2011 at 7:40 am

    hmm , disappointing to read Ross P’s comment –well answered Martin

  7. Crodol said on May 4, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Ross Presser… what a tosser.

  8. Ross Presser said on May 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    IT IS WRONG TO WRITE “A Windows Software”. “Software” is not that kind of noun, just like “hardware” and “beef”. These are collective singular nouns.

    You would not write “This screwdriver is a hardware.” You would write “This screwdriver is a type of hardware”, or “a hardware item”. You might write “The hardware in this store is too expensive.”

    You would not write “I was just kicked in the stomach by a beef.” You write “I was kicked in the stomach by a cow.”

    Similarly you do not write “Why a Windows Software Is Not Responding.” You write “Why a Windows Program Is Not Responding.”

    Please make note of this. Errors in English usage like this make you look very uneducated.

    1. Pete said on May 4, 2011 at 1:34 am

      @Ross Presser We are not all native English speakers. While the points of grammar you bring up are correct, your attitude makes you seem like an ass.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      You could have said it nicer, but thanks anyway. I’m still learning.

      1. Ross Presser said on May 4, 2011 at 6:39 am

        You’re right. I was rude. It’s just something that drives me nuts.

      2. GiddyUpGo said on May 4, 2011 at 12:46 am

        if Ross Presser was to come to your country, Germany, I wonder how well he could speak your native language.
        I bet you could put him in his place there!

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on May 4, 2011 at 8:46 am

        Well I would not. He does have a point though and it is through this that I learn to improve my English skills. And boy has it improved since I started this blog, hehe.

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