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Discussion Starter #1
When performing more demanding tasks, which I try to avoid, programs on my Windows 7 32-bit stop responding/freeze, and pressing CTRL+SHIFT+DELETE or CTRL+ALT+DELETE don't do anything until the system's had enough time to do whatever it's doing, after which point the screen turns black with just the mouse cursor, and, after a while, this error message pops up:

Failure to display security and shut down options
The logon process was unable to display security and logon options when CTRL+ALT+DELETE was pressed. If the operating system does not respond, press ESC or restart the computer by using the power switch.
[OK]

I hit OK, and the system comes back, but it's clear it still has freezing/performance issues, because the whole thing soon repeats again. I've found that, to fix it, even restarting isn't satisfactory, because doing so won't help the computer "forget" that it was overworked, so, instead, I shut it down, for no less than 15 minutes, then start it up again, and it acts fresh again. Then I have to be careful not to overwork it again.

But is there any way to help my Windows 7 take on those more straining processes? Googling "failure to display security and shut down options" surprisingly only gave me a few hits, and nothing helped.

Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit (6.1, Build 7600) (7600.win7_rtm.090713-1255)
System Manufacturer: Tyan Computer Corporation
System Model: S2668 Tiger i7505
BIOS: PhoenixBIOS 4.0 Release 6.0
Processor: Intel(R) Xeon(TM) CPU 3.06GHz (4 CPUs), ~3.1GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 3072MB RAM
 

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Firstly you need to update your profile which says your OS is WinXP.
I am not sure what you mean by "demanding tasks"
The following site may help but I recommend you read right through to the end before trying anything:
http://forums.techarena.in/vista-security/771124.htm
I would also check your Event Viewer for comments around the time of the freeze.
Make sure You have up to date Windows 7 drivers for your Display card etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nothing there seemed to help, unfortunately.

Another thing I realized *always* happens in my Win7 that almost never happened in my WinXP is that when a program goes "(Not Responding)," it's guaranteed that CTRL+SHIFT+DELETE or CTRL+ALT+DELETE won't do anything. Whatever's causing the "(Not Responding)" seems to be hanging up the Task Manager's ability to arrive as well, which is a real problem when I just want to End the Task that's "(Not Responding)." Are there any ways I might be able to avoid "(Not Responding)" happening so easily and unpredictably in the first place? Today it wasn't even anything strainuous that did it. Adobe Photoshop CS3 did it, followed by Firefox later in the day, for very easy tasks.
 

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It sounds like your install of Windows 7 may not be right. The "Not responding" is a bad omen - are you in a position to try a reformat/ reinstall?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I reformatted just 2 weeks ago. It was a complete and clean reformat, something I wouldn't do again for at least a year or two, as it takes me about 4 days of time and effort to get everything perfect.
 
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