Application lock up means it doesnt respond to key presses or mouse commands and its not doing anything but you cant close it the regular way. You can close it by clicking End Task in Windows Task Manager and continue to work. The system is able to eject the application where it whether it likes that or not. . This is possible only in operating systems where no user application is a boss of the CPU. Preemptive multitasking doesnt let an application to be a boss of the CPU, the system is a boss. So if in Windows 3.x a single applications lock up it locks up the whole system. In Windows 9x this doesnt have to be the case. In NT family, it takes much more then that for an application to lock up the system, NT is a real boss. Frequent application lock up of some particular application is an inside problem and only manufacturer of the application can help you.
System lock up is more serious version of this problem as everything freezes and you definitely have to restart your system. But dont hurry, a very busy system is responding slowly to your input it may look at some point like a system lock up. If you hear a hard disk being busy for example give the system some time before you react in any way. My way of detecting a system lock up is pressing Caps Lock or Num Lock on the keyboard to see if the keyboard LED can react. If LEDs do not hang even after couple of seconds it is a lock up for sure. Of course, it might be just a keyboard problem, but you got the whole idea, move your mouse and press keyboard.
Okay, this what a lock up is but why is this nasty thing happening and what can you do? This should not happen, or should happen extremely rare. If it happens more then extremely rarely, it is an indication of a serious problem.
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