How to Control Alt Delete on a Mac

You are probably among countless computer users that switched from Windows to Apple iOS. As an experienced Windows user, you know that pressing the Control+Alt+Delete keys is the saving grace for a frozen Windows device.

How to Control Alt Delete on a Mac

However, on a rare occasion, your Mac may suddenly stop working unexpectedly. By now, you know that the same keys you used with Windows do nothing for your Mac. Your only choice seems to be to turn off the power to your computer and start over.

You can avoid powering down your computer to get your Mac working again because the iOS actually has its own version of the Control+Alt+Delete shortcut. Read on for options that are available to use if your Mac gets frozen in time.

How to Control Alt Delete on a Mac

Using the Control+Alt+Delete keys in Windows activates a menu with utilities that allow you to safely close programs. When the computer restarts, the autosave function rescues the work you had in progress. The equivalent to this feature in Mac is an override which forces the offending program to shut down. Afterward, the device will shut down and restart.

There are a few ways to utilize this function on Mac. It is known as a “force quit.” Perform this method if rebooting Mac using the Apple menu as follows:

  1. Tap the Apple logo (at the top-left corner of the screen).
  2. Choose “Force Quit” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select the program that has stopped from the list. Click “Force Quit.”

You may not be able to get to the home screen if your Mac is frozen. However, you can open “Force Quit” from whichever screen you are on. These are steps to follow if you’re not on the home screen:

  1. Press the CMD+Option+Escape keys at the same time. On some Macs, the Option key is the Alt key.
  2. The “Force Quit” pop-up window will appear. Select the application you want to close.

A third option to close an unresponsive program on a Mac is using the dock. The dock is similar to the “Task Manager” on a Windows device. These are the steps:

  1. Find the program you want to close in your Mac dock.
  2. Hold down the Option key.
  3. Right-click the program name.
  4. Select “Force Quit.”

At times a glitch may cause a program to pause for just a few seconds. This is a normal occurrence, and you can use the CMD and Q keys to close the program when you’re done. However, if an app does not respond to any commands, you may need to use “Force Quit.”

Unlike Windows, your progress is not always saved when you force a program to close. Therefore, use the process with caution. If your Mac freezes regularly, it may be related to how you use it. Keep reading to see what you can do to keep programs running.

Potential Causes of Program Freezes

Your Mac will visually let you know it is trouble. If your screen freezes and you see a motionless spinning wheel on the screen, it could mean the system has given up on a program. Try the suggestions above to reboot your Mac. Once you get it going again, see if any of the following troubleshooting tips can keep this from happening as often.

  • Check your background activity in the Activity Monitor. Keeping a lot of applications open can cause programs to freeze. To view what’s running in the background:
    1. Open Spotlight Search (press the Control+Space keys).
    2. Type “Activity Monitor” to open the app.
    3. View and close apps you do not need.
  • Close unused windows to avoid overloading your browser.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of the program installed.
  • Run a scan of the app to ensure it does not contain a virus.

More often than not, these user-based issues will resolve most instances of your Mac locking up. However, if you use games and other “data-greedy” programs, you may need to increase the memory on your device. Many Mac models are built with configurable memory slots. The Apple System User Information Guide will give you instructions on how to upgrade your memory.

How to Control Alt Delete on a Windows Virtual Machine From a Mac?

If your Mac screen freezes on a Windows Virtual Machine (VM), the solutions are similar to those above. However, the steps to start up depend on the VM software platform you are using. Additionally, the fix differs according to how you are controlling the remote PC.

Unless you are using an external Windows keyboard, you will not press Control+Alt+Delete to reboot your Mac computer. There are, however, several other key combinations that will do the trick.

The keys to press are specific to the keyboard you are using. Here’s how to restart your Mac on a VM using a full-sized Mac keyboard:

  1. Press the Fwd key, just below the Help key.
  2. Hold down the Del+Ctrl+Option buttons.

The steps to unfreeze the screen using a Mac laptop keyboard are slightly different. They are:

  1. Press the FN (Function) key.
  2. Use the Control+Option+Delete shortcut.

Some Windows VM systems have an alternative menu with a function that lets you reboot a Mac as you would in Windows. Although Macs do not have a direct analog to the Control+Alt+Delete key combination, you can duplicate this function through the remote system’s menu.

Here’s how to find “control alt delete” if you use the VM Windows view:

  1. Tap the “Reveal” icon at the top left of the VM screen (to the left of the gear icon).
  2. Select “control alt delete” at the top of the drop-down menu list.

If you are in Coherence View on the VM, you can find “control alt delete” as follows:

  1. Press the two red vertical lines at the top of the screen to open the Mac menu bar.
  2. Select “Devices.”
  3. Choose “Keyboard.”
  4. Select the “control alt delete” option at the top of the drop-down menu list.

Either of the above steps will unlock your Mac. Once your device starts again, it is a good idea to figure out why your Mac is misbehaving. One common reason is that your backup applications are malfunctioning. They repeatedly back up the same files, causing the files to get stuck on your Mac or virtual machine.

You can resolve misbehaving backup applications pretty quickly. Try these suggestions:

  • Disable the backup applications.
  • Set the program that is stopping to discontinue backing up.
  • Deactivate all applications that synchronize data in the VM.
  • Use shared folders to share files from your Mac to the VM.

There could be additional reasons why your Mac needs to restart on the VM. For instance, some Windows Virtual Machines become corrupt because of a virus or system overload. If you are still having problems with your Mac freezing in the VM, visit the Support Center on your Windows Virtual Machine website.

No More Freeze Tag

Has a frozen device had you staring at the so-called “spinning wheel of death” one time too many? Thaw out your Mac as easily as you did your Windows operating system. Try using the tips you’ve read here when a program freezes your device. Then enjoy your game, presentation, or other programs free from interruption.

Has your Mac ever just stopped working while you were doing something important? Tell us how you brought it back to life in the comments section below.

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