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Quickly and Automatically Restart a Windows Program When it Crashes

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We’ve all had programs crash on us in Windows at one time or another. You can take the time to manually start the program again, or you can have a simple program like ReStartMe restart it automatically for you.

ReStartMe is a free program that has one purpose in life, to restart processes. You tell it to watch specific processes and if any of those processes exit, whether they crashed or you accidentally closed them, ReStartMe will automatically restart them.

To install the program, double-click on the restartmeinstaller.exe file you downloaded (see the link at the end of the article). Follow the easy installation process, accepting the default settings.

01_running_restartme_installer

NOTE: ReStartMe installs into the Program Files directory. If you’re installing it in Windows 7 or Vista, you have to take ownership of the ReStartMe program directory because the program settings are written into a file in the same directory. If you don’t take ownership, you’ll encounter the following error. If you click Continue, the program will still work, but the settings won’t be saved.

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To take ownership of the ReStartMe program directory (C:\Program Files\ReStartMe), see our article about adding a Take Ownership option to the right-click menu in Explorer. Then, you can easily use the right-click menu to take ownership of the program directory.

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Because we were already in the Program Files directory, we chose to start ReStartMe by double-clicking the ReStartMe.exe file. You can also start the program from the Start menu.

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To add a process to be watched by ReStartMe, click Add a process.

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You can either add a currently running process, or select a program to watch that is not yet running. To select a currently running process, select the process from the drop-down list. To add a program that is not currently running, click Browse for a program, navigate to the program’s directory and select the .exe file for the program.

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Once you have selected the process to watch, click Add.

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NOTE: You can add multiple processes, both currently running and new programs. This allows you to ensure that critical programs and ones you use often are always running.

To remove a process you don’t want ReStartMe to watch anymore, select the process in the list and click Remove Selected.

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There are some options you can set in ReStartMe. You can choose to have the program remember the processes you have chosen to watch the next time you start the program by selecting the Remember processes for the next time check box. For processes that are not already started when ReStartMe starts, the program can either ignore them (Do nothing), Watch for them, or Start them.

If you want ReStartMe to automatically start when you log into Windows, select the Start with Windows check box. This setting is only applicable for the current user.

When ReStartMe starts, the main program window displays by default. Once you set up the program with the desired processes and options, you may not need to change anything. If that’s the case, you can choose to have ReStartMe and automatically minimize to the system tray when it starts. To do this, select the Start in system tray check box.

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ReStartMe allows you to lock the program to prevent other users of the computer from changing options, adding and removing processes, or closing the program. To do this, enter a password in the edit box above ReStartMe Options and click the lock button, which currently shows an open lock.

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Everything on the ReStartMe window becomes grayed out and unavailable except the password edit box, lock button, and Minimize to Tray button. The lock button changes to show a closed lock. To unlock the program, enter the password again in the edit box and click the lock button.

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To minimize ReStartMe to the system tray, click Minimize To Tray. The processes you chose to watch are still monitored by ReStartMe in the background, and when one crashes, or exits for any reason, it will be restarted.

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To close ReStartMe, and stop monitoring processes, click Close ReStartMe.

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Download ReStartMe from http://bkprograms.weebly.com/restartme.html. The program runs on all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.

NOTE: ReStartMe is not being actively developed anymore, so errors you may encounter most likely won’t get fixed. However, we didn’t experience any bugs while testing the program. The simple, single-purpose nature of the program makes it a useful tool as is.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 12/7/12

Comments (6)

  1. thesilentman

    Come on MS. We’re waiting for you guys to implement stuff like this in the future…

  2. tu.nguyen

    Locking the program is a new feature, i love it .

    And you have two ways to end process unresponding application (my experience)

    1/ Enprocess with Task manager

    2/ kill it by command “taskkill /pid /F”

    Thank for share.

  3. Bjarnovikus

    Great program… But i’m not going to use it… if something stops working I’ll just relaunch it again, however if you host a (web)server on your own computer and you really want it to restart when it crashes… why not.

  4. Paul (Other)

    @Bjarn: How are you going to restart it if you’re away from your PC or asleep?

  5. Chris

    Will this stop Firefox crashing due to flash conflicts?

  6. RK

    Use programs like this with caution.

    I’ve used programs like this in the past and as long as the app that it is monitoring is stable something like this can cause it launch a bad/crashing app over and over thus causing the system to crash.

    I’ve even seen an infected app cause a program like this go into a loop and even attempt to spread itself or reinfect the system.

    That said, the better version of these type of apps will have the ability to set the number of times it will attempt to relaunch an app to prevent loops as aforementioned.

    In all honesty, apps like this are great and work a majority of the time. It assumes that the system hardware, OS, and the software it is monitoring are all stable and healthy. But for local use on my personal computer I’ll stick to manually restarting a crashed app.

    If the app crashes with frequency then it’s worth looking into the root cause rather than have it auto-launch every time especially if it’s a critical app.

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