Fact Checked

What Should I do When my Computer Freezes?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne

Computers can freeze for a number of reasons, making trouble-shooting a sometimes difficult and painstaking process. However, if you don’t eliminate the problem, freezing will likely be repeated. This article focuses mainly on computers running Microsoft® Windows® operating systems, as the problem arises most frequently on Windows computers. This doesn’t necessarily speak ill of Windows, but points to the fact that the majority of consumers use Windows and most malicious software is written to attack Windows operating systems.

However, it isn’t always software that causes computer freezes. Often it’s a hardware problem. This is easiest to diagnose when the computer was working fine until new hardware was added. Sometimes it’s a matter of simply installing the correct driver for the hardware, which might require surfing to the appropriate website to download a newer driver than the one that came packaged with the product. Faulty or incorrect drivers can cause computer freezes by trying to access computer resources that are already in use by the operating system.

Faulty or incorrect drivers can cause a computer to freeze.
Faulty or incorrect drivers can cause a computer to freeze.

Bad random access memory (RAM) modules can also cause freezes, though RAM usually doesn’t “go bad” once installed unless damaged by overheating. A damaged or badly fragmented hard drive can cause problems, including computer freezes, so hard drives should be regularly defragmented. Improperly adjusting BIOS clock settings for overclocking can also cause problems, including freezing.

A damaged hard drive may cause computer freezes.
A damaged hard drive may cause computer freezes.

Third party software, or software not written by Microsoft®, can cause computer freezes by conflicting with other programs or with the operating system itself. Sometimes a patch file is available from the third party website to fix the problem. Other times a little search on the Internet will reveal that a certain popular program doesn’t get along with another popular program, and one should be eliminated. Certainly there should only be one anti-virus program installed at any given time, but other times the offenders are less obvious.

Computer viruses may cause freezes.
Computer viruses may cause freezes.

Unfortunately, some programs do not uninstall correctly, leaving bits of themselves behind to wreak havoc even when you think you’ve gotten rid of it. Anti-virus and firewall programs have reputations for being tricky to uninstall, sometimes requiring one to hunt down individual files manually and delete them after going through the standard uninstall procedure using Windows’ built-in utility.

Pressing the Ctrl Alt and Del keys on a computer keyboard may help end a frozen computer program.
Pressing the Ctrl Alt and Del keys on a computer keyboard may help end a frozen computer program.

Finally, secretly installed malicious software like viruses, spyware, Trojans, rootkits and keyloggers can cause computers to freeze by interfering with the operating system’s normal processes. If this is the case you might have noticed the computer slowing in recent days or weeks. You might have also had other problems, like spontaneous reboots or the dreaded “blue screen of death (BSOD).” In any case, when the computer freezes and nothing has changed in terms of hardware or software, you might very well be looking at a problem caused by an infection. When you get past the freeze (options for this just ahead), run a full scan of your system at the first opportunity.

A bad RAM card can cause a freeze.
A bad RAM card can cause a freeze.

Sometimes when a computer freezes, neither the keyboard nor mouse is responsive and there is no way out but to do a hard reboot. This means cutting the power to the computer forcing a shutdown, waiting a moment, then powering it back up. It is very possible that unsaved data will be lost in this process, but there isn’t a way to engage a proper shutdown when the keyboard and mouse are both unresponsive. When Windows starts back up it might ask to inspect one or more drives for consistency — allow it to do this. Normally nothing is found amiss but Windows might perform a minor repair or two in the file system before serving up the desktop.

A hard reboot may be necessary if the mouse on the computer is unresponsive.
A hard reboot may be necessary if the mouse on the computer is unresponsive.

If you are a bit luckier when the computer freezes, the mouse will move but won’t be clickable. In this case the keyboard is normally responsive. Hold down Ctrl and Alt keys, then press the Del key to bring up the Task Manager. Use the Tab key to highlight the Applications tab, and press Enter. Here you will see a list of programs running. Look for the message, “this program not responding.” Use the arrow keys to navigate to the problematic program so that it is highlighted. Then use the Tab key again to jump to the bottom button labeled “End Task” and press Enter.

Once you've shut down a frozen computer, wait a few moments before hitting the power button and turning it back on again.
Once you've shut down a frozen computer, wait a few moments before hitting the power button and turning it back on again.

Closing the offending program should release the freeze and allow you to continue your work. However, if the same program keeps causing computer freezes check for an update or patch at the appropriate website. If no patches or updates are available, you might try re-installing the program, defragging your hard drive, or running a reputable registry optimizer to make sure there are not problems in the registry. You can also Google "[progam-name-here] +freeze" without the brackets and quotes, to see if others are having the same problem and how they solved it.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


My desktop computer freezes up most times. Even when I am running other programs like Microsoft Word, the typed text will not appear immediately. Then it will just appear all at once.

Note: HDD is 500GB, Processor’s speed is 2.8GHz and RAM is 1GB and I don’t run games programs on it. Please, I need assistance urgently.


Recently my notebook hard drive crashed. I replaced the hard drive with a new one. I have the serial number on the windows sticker on the bottom of the computer.

Can someone direct me where to get a copy of Windows 7 home premium and the procedure to install it? I don't have a CD drive.


I replaced my monitor and now my pc keeps hanging up. Does anyone know how to fix it?


Please help. I started uninstalling "speed up mypc" and it has stopped uninstalling. The icon is on my toolbar and I am unable to delete the icon. I've removed it through the recycle bin, but that didn't help. Any answers will help.


@anon339653: If your computer is suddenly restarting all by itself, it's a safe, if unfortunate bet that it's the motherboard. Every single time this has happened to me, it's been a blown motherboard. Every time. I guess you can replace the motherboard, but it would probably be just as expensive as a new computer. Good luck.


My computer is hanging after 10 minutes of running, and it freezes and then the monitor automatically goes off, and even after hard rebooting the problem stays. What is the cause of it? Is it because of overheating? I have even formatted my computer to solve this problem, but I'm still having this problem. Please help. What should I do now?


If you have McAfee installed, uninstall it at once. It is the main cause of freezes and lockups on Windows 8 machines.


My PC freezes when viewing images/pictures, can't load a website with lots of photos that may be jpegs, but there is no problem with any regular website. Also, when I look at photos people send me in Gmail, I can view one just fine, but if I try to view a second it takes forever to load. Any suggestions?


A friend's computer always freezes when he is trying to get on facebook and he has to force a hard reboot in order to get it to work again. It is the only website that this is happening with, and if they go to say, - it works just fine. Do you know what could be the problem? Thanks!


My keyboard and mouse freeze up after auto restart and after clicking the start menu and choosing restart. In both cases, the mouse and keyboard freeze up.

After hard rebooting, both work properly. Now if I again restart the computer by auto restart or by clicking the start menu and choosing restart, the problem appears again.

I checked my keyboard and mouse connection at the back end of cpu and found that they are wrongly connected (interchanged), so I reconnected both devices properly and the problem was solved.


@anon59523: That usually means that the hard drive isn't selected to boot. The best thing to do is open up the bios menu and find the reset to default settings and save it. If that doesn't work it could mean the hard drive is loose.

anon36970: I do need a bsod error code to work off of, several if it has happened because it could be related to anything hardware or software and the error code points to where the problem lies.


My pc was showing a blue screen errors. At first they said kernel error, then later on stop errors, but after each one I had a black screen when I tried to boot my pc up. It says insert boot media and press any key.

I had it in the shop several times and paid several hundred quid. They insist there is nothing wrong. Then I noticed it was freezing not long after I booted it up and accessed the Internet. And I saw a message saying installing drivers for device. So I clicked it and I saw that the USB composite driver was being searched for. My mouse and keyboard are operated from a USB. Could this be the problem in that it does not, in fact, find the driver and so it freezes and then I am forced to shut it down by switching it off? Please help. I cannot afford to take it to the shop again.

I am disabled and don't go out. All I do is use my PC. Without it I don't even get out of bed because I don't have anything to get up for.


What is the problem with my computer? All the programs stop working for a few seconds, then after a moment, everything is fine. Where is the problem?


Have you tried turning it off and on again? Or if that doesn't work, check to see it's plugged in. That usually helps.


Throw a blankie on it! Or get rid of the biggest virus yet - Windoze! -- wipe that monopolizing crap the hell off your system.

Download some form of Linux. Ubuntu is what the newbs use these days. Enjoy a virus free, non-freezing computer, and yeah, Linux has a learning curve, but you'll be learning more about how your computer works than wasting time on stupid facebook apps and games that probably got your computer infected in the first place!


You solve a blue screen error by going to an apple store and buying yourself a mac that never crash or get infected with viruses and even better, no more blue screens.


Whenever I open the internet it displays "not responding." Every few seconds I need to refresh and then starts again the same message is displaying. Please help me.


Thanks for this. It turns out utorrent was crashing my computer. Now I'm fine since I've uninstalled it.


I have a small problem with my pc. Whenever I am going to turn off my pc, I close all the windows, but every time it is showing a forced shutdown. What is the reason?

I am using windows7 operating system. Is it a virus or any hardware problem? --Sandeep

Edward Burke

Are you seeing the “blue screen of death” sometimes when you turn on your computer? You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to fix your computer. You don’t have to re-install Windows! You can safely and quickly repair your computer with just a few clicks! Operating systems, especially the most used one, windows, has a registry that is a database of information about your computer.

Every time you install and uninstall a program, pieces are left behind, creating a total mess in your registry which causes computer crashes and reduced performance. This can make your PC run like a turtle. It can cause system crashing or freezing of your computer. And even the “blue screen of death”!

Since you end up with a load of useless data in your registry, your registry size keeps growing, which will make your computer become unstable and run slowly. There are things you can do to help, like doing a registry clean on your computer, but the problem is much deeper than that.

The problem is you end up with little useless fragmented pieces of data saved in your registry. Even if you try clean it up using the software on your computer, it will still cause your computer to run slower and slower and maybe even crash. Unlike a mac, which has a totally different way of storing the data, windows spreads stuff you install and uninstall around so much it’s impossible to get rid of it all.

Eventually, no matter how many times you run the disk cleanup, it cannot get rid of it. All it will do is crunch it together. Then instead of tons of useless data you don’t need on your computer being spread all over the place, you end up with a ton of useless data, all bunched up together.

This will help make your computer a little faster and maybe stop the number of times it crashes but it will never solve the problem. The only way to solve the problem is to use a software program designed to do what your computer can’t do.

Software is available that will clean your registry of the data your computer doesn’t need. This is the data that causes everything from Windows Installer Errors, ActiveX Errors, Runtime Errors, active x errors, video errors, slower running system, freezing and crashing just to name a few. In fact, 99 percent of all problems you might have on your computer can be traced to registry problems.

Some computer users even spend a lot of time trying to go through the registry and edit it manually. Not only can this be a daunting task, it is also a risky one. This too can also cause all of the problems listed above. While trying to help clean up your registry, it might delete data need to run programs correctly. Since everything is so spread out it wouldn’t be hard to delete something it doesn’t recognize that goes with another program.

A good, high-performance detection algorithm software can quickly identify missing and invalid references in your Windows registry and make the right corrections. Your computer registry will be scanned for any invalid or obsolete entries and provide a list of the registry errors found. After that, you can choose to clean list items with selection or automatically repair them all.

They should also provide a backup of all registry errors removed or changed, just in case you might have to reinstall something or undo something. This is a safeguard which works very well in repairing your computer. Once done, the registry errors, old entries and unused data should be gone and your registry will run 100 percent better. Your computer should run like it did when you bought it. You should not get any more errors, freezing or the dreaded blue screen of death any longer.

The alternative would be to just buy a new computer because if your computer is at the point of getting a bunch of errors, running really slow and freezing it’s just a matter of time before it dies altogether. At the point you may not be able to recover any files you have on that computer, or you might have to take it to a computer repair place and pay hundreds to repair it and try to recover your data.

If you start having any issues like lack of speed, error messages, or freezing, it’s in your best interest to get some kind of software to fix the problem. And the best part it won’t cost hundreds, like taking your computer to a repair shop. It should only cost less than $50 to completely repair your computer. Much better than a couple hundred to get it fixed or even more to buy a new one.

There are new trends for computer repair like geeks that will come to your home and repair your computer. But that can get expensive if there are a lot of issues and they might even have to take your computer to fix it which will cost even more.

The most cost effective way to repair your computer is to use good computer repair software available online. That should be the first step before you get into putting more money in your computer to fix it than its worth. If that software can’t fix the problems, it’s probably safe to say it will be pretty pricey to repair. Then you have to make the decision whether to spend the money on repairs or a new computer.

There are many computer repair softwares available online. But you should do a little research to see which one is the best for your computer. Just go to do some research on computer repair software and it will be easy to find some reviews about products available.


Microsoft works hand in hand with other companies. usually an inexpensive computer has viruses that are pre-installed or uploaded during a windows update, which are released after a certain elapse of time or upload, vice versa with anti-virus software.

The only real way to fix the problem is to keep a store bought back-up system back up your system once a week or so and completely restore your operating system.


clean registry error, do deep system clean with reginout to fix pc freezing.


My computer was struck by a virus and now i can only use it in safe mode. I have tried to do a system restore but i get an error that says my OS(C) drive is corrupt and when i don't go to safe mode it freezes up my keyboard but not my mouse. the only problem is i can't click anything at all.

my computer was running without a good anti virus until i got McAfee 2011. This fixed a few problems but before that i wasn't even able to see my screen. Can someone please help me? i need my comp for school.


So I just reinstalled windows. And as of now, my computer is frozen. The taskbar at the bottom of the screen is completely frozen. I can't click on anything, and if i have an usb for example,it doesn't register it leaving. The clock is also messed up. However, the last application i was using still works. Any ideas on what to do?


This problem (screen/pc freezes) normally only appears because of a virus/trojan/worm. The only way to be sure it won't happen again is to reinstall windows (Clear your pc completely).

I had the problem for about one month on my pc (an Alienware) and I knew that the only way to "repair" it, was by reinstalling windows. Now my pc works just fine, and no problems at all.

PS: I had a free antivirus program, and it let a virus go through it and that's why my problem occurred. (Get McAfee Full Protection! That helps.)


I have a horrible problem! my computer freezes completely after a few hours of use, but usually it is really random, i tried recovery disk and it didn't help at all and because this is so random i cannot take it to Asus repair center or the store that i bought it from because those lazy asses will do what they did last time. they cleaned a little dust and gave a huge bill and said that ''cleaning dust doesn't belong in the warranty'', even though i used a recovery disk and erased all data, this annoying complete freeze hunts me.

none of the quick keys of my laptop work, the screen freezes, mouse or keys don't do anything and sounds stop too. it usually happens when I'm in the internet, my anti-virus software is secure. i have stopped all not needed programs auto start from windows defender my computer is Asus X71sl. i need help. this freeze is becoming a problem. how do i solve this?

i have never bought any new parts to my laptop. it has always been what it has.


My computer freezes up all the time. I run a program: pc tune up. the program fixed the startup but sometimes it freezes a long time, like for 30 or 40 minutes, and afterward, it works as if nothing had happened.

I have Windows XP and I have an external hard disk of 2 TB. Maybe a conflict between my computer and the external hard disk?


How do i fix my computer when it's freezing and the mouse wouldn't move?


Computer dust can be a factor if your computer is freezing. I downloaded a registry cleaner and all my problems went away.


i have a problem. my computer shut down suddenly after restart. it doesn't work, only there is a window open search something like this: media failure. "no bootable disk.insert bootable disk and click any key".

after I enter bootable disk it doesn't work only search and displays no boot disk.

os- window xp; mother board-intel d945gccr

if you have a solution, please tell me. ranjeet


@anon36790: unfortunately you cannot, it can't even be fix by system restore. -Nhoel


dust can make a pc freeze. keep the computer away from dust.


I just backup what files i must if any and reinstall windows.


i just turn off the power strip. i hope its not some undetected virus or some crap like that.


What should you do when your computer freezes?

Swear profusely and shake your fist at the heavens.


are there programs that can eliminate all those problems or to find them?


how do I solve any blue screen error without reformatting xp

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Faulty or incorrect drivers can cause a computer to freeze.
      By: roberto lunerti
      Faulty or incorrect drivers can cause a computer to freeze.
    • A damaged hard drive may cause computer freezes.
      By: donghero
      A damaged hard drive may cause computer freezes.
    • Computer viruses may cause freezes.
      By: jamdesign
      Computer viruses may cause freezes.
    • Pressing the Ctrl Alt and Del keys on a computer keyboard may help end a frozen computer program.
      By: Alexey Laputin
      Pressing the Ctrl Alt and Del keys on a computer keyboard may help end a frozen computer program.
    • A bad RAM card can cause a freeze.
      By: Sergey Dashkevich
      A bad RAM card can cause a freeze.
    • A hard reboot may be necessary if the mouse on the computer is unresponsive.
      By: Gajus
      A hard reboot may be necessary if the mouse on the computer is unresponsive.
    • Once you've shut down a frozen computer, wait a few moments before hitting the power button and turning it back on again.
      By: Maksim Kostenko
      Once you've shut down a frozen computer, wait a few moments before hitting the power button and turning it back on again.