Last updated: Jun. 13, 2017
When your Windows PC freezes up, or an applications becomes unresponsive, what would you do?
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 gets stuck in a loop (due to poor development).
Learning what to do with a freezing computer will make you more confident in handling any other PC issues. We're here to share with you eight quick tips to help fix a frozen Windows computer.
Note: 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 tip #4 til #8.
1. Quit as many programs as you can
Many a time when your computer freezes it's often because you are running too many programs at the same time, thus the resources (CPU, RAM, etc.) have been 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 applications 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, highlight the processes you want to quit, and click "End task."
Warning: force stopping a process might cause you to lose data due to unsaved changes. If you have important work to keep, wait several minutes and let Windows unfreeze it automatically.
3. Restart your computer
This will clear up most problems even if the applications you try to close don't respond. In rare cases, you might not be able to move the cursor because your PC is frozen to death.
Have a hard reboot by holding down the power button for about 5 seconds. This should work all the time, Then press the power button to restart. We have to warn you again — this method may also lead to unsaved changes. Do this only if you are 100% sure.
4. Disable auto start up services
Having too many programs automatically running when Windows starts isn't a good practice for most of us. Because it will not only freeze the process, but also bog down your overall system performance after it's fully loaded.
In particular, the programs that automatically load are resource-intensive ones like image/video editing tools which tend to demand more system resources to run smoothly. So go ahead and optimize your PC startup items.
- For Windows 8/10, you can quickly manage it via Task Manager;
- For Windows 7 or earlier, you can rely on the MSconfig utility to do so.
5. Clean up PC hard drive
Though cleaning up hard drive to free more storage will not necessarily eliminate the frozen issue, it will help reduce times of such issue. Also, a PC with more free disk space performs much faster than the one that is with littered or cluttered hard drive. To quickly clean up your computer, we recommend CleanMyPC.
6. Update software
If you are encountering frequent crashes or freezes for particular software, chances are the version you are using is old, try to update to the latest one. 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 have a re-installation.
7. Diagnose Windows system issues
Sometimes a frozen PC is caused by the Windows operating system itself, maybe you've accidentally deleted some important system files, or some Windows registry errors exist, or even some devices are missing proper drivers to run smoothly, etc. All these issues are usually hard to detect; it's best to use IObit Advanced SystemCare to run a quick diagnosis and fix relevant issues.
8. Run hardware test
If your PC is a bit aging, you'd better check if the hardware like RAM, hard disk 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, you will often be able to go to your manufacturer's website to look for hardware test related information. If it turns out that part of the hardware is on its way out, it's time to upgrade.
While the PC freezing situations you are facing might be different, the fix solutions thus vary. If your computer is frozen to death and nothing seems to respond, then the only way to go is having a reboot. Other times, you'll find cleaning up the system and other tricks work well. Anyhow, we hope you find these techniques helpful. Let us know if you have any questions in mind. Leave a comment below.
Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. While he is not reading technology journals, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends or hiking in the wild.