How to Unfreeze a Computer (Windows 10)

unfreeze computer

Your computer freezes up, or a specific program becomes unresponsive, does this sound familiar to you?

A frozen computer is a rare occurrence, but all computers run in cycles. Sometimes it hangs because you have too many programs running at the same time, other times it’s a particular software that gets stuck in a loop.

Learning what to do with a freezing computer will make you more confident in handling any other PC issues. In this article, we are going to share with you some quick tips that hopefully will help you unfreeze your computer.

Quick summary: if you just want to get rid of the freezing issue for the moment, try the first three tips; To eliminate the problem from happening again, try tips #4 to #8.

Note: this guide applies to computers that run Windows 10. If you are using a MacBook or iMac, see how to unfreeze a Mac instead.

1. Quit As Many Programs As You Can

Your computer will freeze if you are running too many programs at the same time because system resources (CPU, RAM, etc.) are likely used up.

Then your PC has to rely on hard disk memory to deal with application requests, which often cause your computer to keep freezing because disk memory runs much slower than RAM in terms of processing data.

2. Force Quit Specific Programs Not Responding

For those programs or services that you can’t quit through regular methods, use Task Manager to force quit them. To do that, right-click on the taskbar, select Task Manager > Processes, highlight the processes you want to quit and click “End task.”

Warning: force stopping a process might cause data loss due to unsaved changes. If you have important work to keep, it’s best to wait a few minutes and let Windows unfreeze itself automatically.

3. Restart Your Computer

This will clear up most problems even if the applications you try to close don’t respond. New to the computer world, learn how to restart Windows 10 from this video:

In rare cases, you might not be able to move the cursor because your computer is frozen to death. Have a hard reboot by holding down the power button for about 5 seconds. Then press the power button to restart. Learn more from this PCWorld guide.

We have to warn you again — this method may also cause data loss due to unsaved changes. Do this only if you are 100% sure.

4. Disable Auto Startup Services

Having too many programs automatically running when Windows 10 starts isn’t a good practice for general users. Because it’ll likely freeze the startup process, but also slow down the overall performance of your computer.

In particular, resource-intensive programs like photo or video editing tool tends to demand more system resources to run smoothly. Go ahead and optimize your PC startup items via Task Manager > Startup.

Windows 10, go to Task Manager -> Startup

5. Clean Up PC Hard Drive

Though cleaning up the hard drive to free more storage will not necessarily eliminate the computer freezing issues, it will reduce the frozen times by optimizing your PC’s overall performance.

All other things equal, a computer with more free disk space runs much faster than the one that has a cluttered hard drive. We recommend CleanMyPC for quick cleanup.

CleanMyPC offers a free trial, though it’s not freeware.

6. Update Software

If you are encountering frequent crashes or freezes for some specific programs, chances are the versions you are running are old, you should update the program to the latest version.

To do so, you can either open the software and click the update option from the menu or go to the software’s official website to download the latest version and re-install the program.

7. Fix Windows Registry Issues

Sometimes a computer freezing issue is caused by the Windows registry issues, maybe you’ve accidentally deleted some important system files, or some devices are missing proper drivers to run smoothly, etc.

All these issues are usually hard to detect, but you can use CCleaner to diagnose and fix them quickly.

CCleaner is free to download and use.

8. Run Hardware Test

If you are using an old computer that’s more than five years old, you’d better check if the hardware like RAM, the hard drive is functioning properly. Especially your PC hard drive, it can become fragmented or faulty without appropriate maintenance.

Depending on the brand of your computer, go to your manufacturer’s website to look for hardware test information. If it turns out that part of the hardware is on its way out, it’s time to fix or replace it.

We hope you find these techniques helpful. Let us know if you have any questions about unfreezing a computer that runs Windows 10. Leave a comment below.

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  • Scott Galea

    Hello, I’m Scott, nice to meet you. I think it’s great that you’re trying to help people, there should be more people like you. That said, I have tried every fix you, & many others have suggested but the thing that no seems to get is that I’m only able to open maybe one program of any sort, or make one command, if I’m lucky, & then the damm thing freezes, then goes black screen! I can’t actually do any of the fixes cause it simply won’t let me. Very frustrating! I now have a $900 paper weight. Anyway, hope you can suggest something.

  • Larry

    My major problem is a web program froze my computer and tried all helps but no response is my computer done for?