What Should I Do When My Windows 7 PC Freezes?

windows 7 locks upDo you know what to do when your computer freezes, or do you freeze up yourself? While Microsoft programmers are constantly creating updates to prevent Windows 7 from freezing, it’s bound to happen every now and then. Freezing is usually no major cause for concern. It just means that one or more of the software programs on your machine has caused an error, and your computer is essentially “stuck” on it. In most scenarios you should be able to address the problem with these basic troubleshooting steps.

Use the Task Manager

Sometimes you can isolate and end the program on your computer that is causing the freeze. To do this you need to open the Windows Task Manager. Press and hold the “Ctrl”, “Alt” and “Del” keys in succession. Then click “Start Task Manager.” You’ll see a small window that displays everything your computer is doing. Click the “Applications” tab to see all of the software applications currently running. If any of the applications are listed as “Not Responding” underneath the “Status” column, select the problematic application. Then click “End Task.”

Force a Restart

If you don’t get anywhere with the Task Manager or can’t even open it, you need to restart the computer. Most of the time, this will resolve the error. If possible, restart through the Windows Start menu. If you can’t open the Start menu, press “Ctrl”, “Alt” and “Del” and try to choose “Restart” from the options in the lower right corner of the screen. If the screen is completely locked, you may need to manually restart your PC by pressing and holding the power button until it shuts down. Note that any time you restart you may lose any unsaved data. This is why it’s important to regularly save your work.

Perform a Windows Update

If you’re repeatedly having freeze-up problems on your PC, Windows may need to be updated. It never hurts to check even if Windows Update runs automatically. Open the Start menu and find Windows Update in the “All Programs” list. You’ll see what updates are available. Be sure to restart your computer after downloading updates so they install completely.

Check for Other Software Updates

Other software glitches apart from Windows may be causing your computer to freeze and can also be fixed with updates. Programs that commonly cause problems are antivirus software, drivers for external devices, and browsers. Note what program seems to be triggering the freezing and check its manufacturer’s website for updates. Always restart your computer after installing software updates.

Run a System Scan

If you’ve updated all of your software and your computer still freezes regularly, you may have some harmful software program on your machine, also known as a virus or malware. You should set your antivirus software to scan your system regularly. If you haven’t done a scan recently, open your antivirus software and run a full system scan. If your antivirus program is up-to-date, it should be able to isolate and remove any problematic applications. In some cases, if the harmful software is deeply entrenched in your computer or has done a lot of damage, you may need professional help.

Use Advanced Troubleshooting

If these basics steps don’t help, you’ll have to move on to advanced troubleshooting such as running Windows in “Safe Mode” and isolating individual programs and files. This can be time-consuming and may require some assistance, depending on your level of expertise. Don’t move on to more advanced troubleshooting until you’ve exhausted all of you basic troubleshooting steps.

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