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 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 tip #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 a 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.
5. Clean Up PC Hard Drive
Though cleaning up hard drive to free more storage will not necessarily eliminate computer freezing issue, 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.
6. Update Software
If you are encountering frequent crashes or freezes for some specific programs, chances are the versions you are running is 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.
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, 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.
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.