Superlab 5 Freezing

I am having trouble with a superlab 5 experiment. It freezes and will not respond – sometimes this is in the same spot (after a 20 minute pause, but after input from the response pad – it will not respond to a key press) but also at different places, or not at all. When it freezes, the only way out is to bring up the Task Manager and force quit, reopening the experiment from the beginning.

Has anyone else had this problem, and is there a known solution? Because the problem is not consistent, I’m finding it very difficult to diagnose.

Thank you!

For troubleshooting purposes: in your experiment, is the input option “Keyboard-Single Keys” enabled? If not, please enable it. You can have it and the response pad enabled at the same time. The reason for this is to increase the chances that pressing Esc will get you out of the experiment without having to go to the Task Manager.

Second, does pressing Esc work and get you to see the “Are you sure you want to cancel?” popup alert?

I don’t know if this applies to you, but I have seen similar issues with seemingly random freezes and slowdowns with two other users lately, and both turned out to be using stimuli files stored on the network. All issues magically went away when the users copied the stimuli files to their local disks. In one case, the user swore that the files were stored on the local disk in his “My Documents” folder, but it turned out that the IT administrator had mapped the “My Documents” folder to a network drive!


Thank you for your reply.

Currently, I do have “Keyboard-Single Keys” enabled but do not get any response from <Esc>. However, I believe one of my stimulus files IS stored on the network. I will map it locally to see if it helps. Thank you!

SuperLab looks for input from the participant, and hence the Esc key, while presenting a trial.

In order to make sure that events within a trial are presented as fast and as accurately as possible, SuperLab pre-loads all stimuli files before a trial begins. And at that point, it is not looking for participant input. So if the network causes a slowdown, it makes sense that pressing Esc would not work and SuperLab would seem to freeze.


Unfortunately, I have mapped the sound file to two different local locations (can confirmed that they were local and not on the network) and Superlab is still freezing/slowing down during my experiment.

We are not able to get the prompt “Are you sure you want to cancel?” when pressing Esc – there is simply no response.

Do you have any other suggestions, or might you be willing to take a look at my file?


Two questions. One, which specific version of SuperLab 5 are you using? if it’s earlier than 5.0.4, then please download 5.0.4.

Two, which operating system are you using?

We are running Superlab 5.0.4.

Our operating system is quite dated – Windows XP. Do you think that is the issue? I have been hesitant to update due to possible compatibility issues, but perhaps that is the problem we are currently having.

Thank you for your time and help.


I somehow doubt that the issue is due to Windows XP. Can you post the experiment package? you can produce a package by choosing File menu > Create an Experiment Package.

Here is the experiment package.

Another thought – I was previously running the experiment from the network server. When you mentioned the problem with the sound file, I moved it to a local location, however, there was no change.

Thanks. (34.6 KB)

Neither your experiment nor any files that it uses should be on the network. Bad to go there. If your computer is administered by an IT person at your university, you need to be careful even when you think that the files are stored locally. In particular, the “My Documents” folder in Windows is often mapped by IT to go to the server.

If you copy your experiment and its sound file to a folder on the desktop (to avoid the “My Documents” folder), does the slowdown or freezing still happen?

I’ve taken everything off the network (save the file to the desktop, along with the sound file) and it still freezes.

A colleague brought to my attention that it’s not just the “My Documents” folder, but also the “Desktop” can be mapped to the server without you knowing it.