Q For the last month or so, my Windows XP PC's cursor has been freezing in place about two or three times a week. Nothing but a reboot will make the cursor function again, and since I can't use the cursor I have turn the PC off with the power switch. Is there another way to unfreeze the cursor, or at least a way to reboot the PC using the keyboard?


A It is possible to shut down your PC without the cursor. If you push the Ctrl, Alt and Delete buttons simultaneously, you'll call up the Task Manager, which can be operated by the keyboard. By holding down only the Alt key you can toggle to the File listing at the top of the screen. Then use the right arrow key to toggle until you reach the Shut Down listing. Push the Enter key and you'll be given several choices. Use the down arrow key to toggle to "Turn Off" and push the Enter key again; this will shut down your PC.

The larger question is why your cursor is freezing. Since it began happening recently, I suspect it's caused by spyware. Run the free Spybot -- Search & Destroy 1.5.2 program, which can be downloaded at www.startribune.com/a4205.

If that doesn't work, make a list of the programs that are running when the cursor freezes. If some programs are competing for processor time or for random-access memory, you shouldn't try to run them at the same time.

Q Once or twice a day, I run anti-spyware software and remove about 25 cookies (small files that contain information about a person's Web browsing). Many of these cookies are the same ones I deleted the last time. Is there any way to block specific cookies?


A You can filter out the most invasive Web browser cookies, such as those that take inventory of your PC's software or track your online movements to determine your interests. These are called third- party cookies, meaning they're not directly related to the website you're viewing. (First-party cookies store your password or other data for a site you're viewing.)

To block third-party cookies in Mozilla Firefox, go to the Tools menu, select Options, then Privacy. Under the Cookies heading, click the "exceptions" button. You can specify which websites are allowed to put a cookie in your browser. In Microsoft Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options, then choose Privacy, then click the "advanced" button. Check the box beside "override automatic cookie handling," then under the "third-party cookie" heading, choose "block."

Steve Alexander covers technology for the Star Tribune. E-mail your technology questions to tech@startribune.com or write Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488-0002. Please include a full name, city and phone number.