Based on the following statement you made.
I hit my windows key to launch the start screen immediately after
logging into windows. Something is unhappy, as now I can't close the
start screen or interact with it in any way.
This time I'm pretty sure it's the dead hard drive that I've plugged
in to try and recover, just bringing certain OS operations to a crawl.
(The Start Screen closed itself before I even saw your response).
It does indeed sound like Windows is waiting for I/O events from a device that is connected likely the drive you suspect yourself. As for the specific question you asked you can do the following to force the
Start Screen to close and
Windows Explorer to be restarted.
What task do I need to close (or run) to kill/restart this frozen
Start Screen would be closed if the
Explorer.exe process is no longer running. So one would need to simply do the following:
Start Task Manager from the
- Select Explorer.exe
New Task (Run ...)