You’ll need to narrow things down when your computer keeps freezing. First things first, what are you looking at on your screen? In all likelihood, your cursor is frozen, or it might have disappeared altogether. You move your mouse or push a finger across the laptop trackpad. Nothing happens.
It gets worse. Your software is locked up, your task manager frozen, and a blue screen of death (BSOD) is imminent. If you haven’t saved your work, you’ve lost everything and will have to start from scratch. Can you imagine anything more frustrating, especially if you’ve been working on a time-sensitive work assignment for hours?
Computers and their operating systems are complicated beasts. It’s just not easy to finger the cause of a system lockup, not when there are so many components in play.
Fortunately, we’ve done the work for you and added a list of common causes for computer freezes. Here’s that list of potential candidates for you to muse over.
- The CPU is overheating
- There are too many programs running
- Your system memory is low
- Drivers need to be updated
- A virus is contaminating the computer OS
- Hard drive or RAM capacity are too small
- Corrupt system files
- A hardware issue
To minimize your troubleshooting woes, so that you can get back to watching hiccup-free YouTube videos again, let’s rustle up a few actions you can take to correct those system hangs. Begin by sitting down in front of your PC.
Check to See If Your PC Is Overheating
Now that you’re comfortable, begin with the obvious. For instance, if your computer is overheating, you’ll know it. The fans inside the casing will spin faster and there’ll be heat saturating the casing. Feel the underside of your laptop or the back of your desktop for heat.
CPU heavy programs are commonly responsible for this particular problem. Essentially, you ask too much of your machine, your processor overloads and produces heat, so your computer keeps freezing.
Let’s say you’re running a 3D modeling program. On top of that, you’re playing the latest RPG. Before you’ve immersed yourself in gaming goodness, the computer randomly freezes for a few seconds, your enemy gets the drop on you, and your gaming avatar loses a precious life. Ouch, that’s unfortunate.
Those modern programs and games need lots of CPU threads to work at full speed. They’re designed for modern computers with the latest hardware specs, not older machines with antiquated parts.
Don’t run too many processor-intensive programs or games at the same time. Keep the vents of your PC clear and the room it’s running in cool. If the heat isn’t venting from the PC casing, listen closely to see if the computer fan is operating properly. Upgrade your machine if these issues continue.
Your Operating System is the Freeze Offender
Processor intensive games fall under this heading, as mentioned above, but there are other, less predictable offenders that can slow things to a crawl. Why does your computer mouse keep freezing, even when your software isn’t demanding all of your processors’ threads?
Frankly, operating systems have become overly complicated, and they can become unstable for a number of reasons. Here are a few that you’ll need to know about if your task manager is frozen and unable to keep you informed.
- System drivers haven’t been updated in some time
- Corrupt system files have made your computer OS unstable
- A virus has infected the computer
- Third-party software errors
A short list of answers to your operating system freezes now follows. Do note you may have to start your machine in Safe Mode if you’re to take advantage of some of these solutions.
Update your drivers. Keep your PC online at all times so that it can automatically download driver updates. However, do know that you may have to manually update a driver from time-to-time, dependent on the maker of the device/software.
For corrupt system files, use a software tool to repair the corrupt files. Systems File Checker (SFC) is good for this purpose, assuming you’re using a Windows operating system, of course. Restart your computer after the tool finishes.
Download a free virus checker to seek out and isolate a virus. The better option, however, is to install a virus shield, a program that prevents virus infections from contaminating your PC.
Uninstall third-party software and check to see if the computer keeps freezing. Some programs, software provided by outside vendors, simply aren’t coded that well. Wait for an update to the software, select an alternate, better coded replacement that carries out the same functions.
Troubleshoot Hardware-Related Computer Freezes
These are the errors you’ll check if everything else has been eliminated. The third-party software is working, there are no viruses present, and you’re PC is running cool. Everything seems fine, yet your computer randomly freezes for a few seconds at the worst possible moments.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean your motherboard is damaged. There are a number of things to check out before you start worrying about this kind of gear-crippling ruin. Remember, start with the simplest answer.
That means looking first at your replaceable components. The C: drive could be full to capacity, in which case there’s no room for temporary system files or virtual memory. Run disk cleanup and delete temporary files.
Along the same line of thought, it might be a good idea to add more RAM to your computer. Modern programs gobble up RAM, so load up on as much hardware memory as you can afford.
There are also a number of onboard and third-party hardware diagnostic programs you can run to see if your hardware really is kicking out system-freezing errors. Run one or more to narrow down any potential hardware issues. Reboot after the diagnostics program completes its checks.
Taking A Look at Malfunctioning External Devices
If you hookup your PC to other components, the eye of suspicion should fall on them at some point. Fortunately, it’s easier to troubleshoot external parts.
This is especially true since the introduction of numerous USB connected components. Your USB mouse or keyboard snaps easily into a front or side port. It’s the same with a portable memory stick/hard drive. Again, third-party vendors make a great deal of these components, so they’re not always built to the highest quality standards.
Disconnect the parts. Does your PC keep freezing? Assuming things are back to normal, connect the devices one by one until the problem reoccurs. Isolate that device.
If the device isn’t responsible, a driver issue may be interrupting the way in which your PC communicates with the associated device. Update the driver and reboot.
Some Closing Thoughts
As essential to living as computers have become, they don’t always function perfectly. In fact, there are a number of things that can and do go wrong with them. A system freeze is typically a symptom of one of these things making itself know, but it can be fixed.
Happily, you’ll be relieved to hear, it’s entirely possible to isolate the software or hardware triggers that are responsible for computer lockups. Still, this can be a frustrating, headache-inducing process that can take days to resolve. Who needs that?
Instead of going it alone, instead of spending your own precious free time on finding the reason(s) for why your PC keeps freezing, we recommend our professional services. Contact one of our expert repair technicians today to quickly and painlessly solve your system freezing frustrations.
What’s the first action to take if your computer freezes?
This could be a one-off fault. Reboot your computer to see if the lockup repeats.
What should I do if I can’t turn my computer off?
Even your task manager is frozen, so carry out a hard reset. Press the power button until your PC turns off. Hold it down until the power turns off.
Why is a program causing system freezes?
A program file is possibly corrupt or there’s a conflict with another program/device. To force the software to close, summon up the Task Manager. Use CTRL+ALT+DEL, find the troublesome process, click on it, and close it by selecting End Task.
Is Your CPU in danger of being thermally damaged?
Use your BIOS to see how hot your CPU is running. Restart your PC, press the relevant key (Usually DEL or F12) and scan the main BIOS screen to see how hot your processor is running. Note: There are third-party apps that are designed to do this task while your operating system is running.
Why is my mouse freezing?
Driver issues are common, as are USB and Bluetooth problems. Try using a generic wired mouse to see if this corrects the problem.
How do you protect your data if your computer keeps freezing?
Many software packages have integrated an “autosave” feature. However, not knowing whether your game or program includes this handy feature, always save your work periodically.