Computer Freezes Randomly | Main Causes And Cures

by Rod Dunne on July 26, 2010

in Articles, Performance, Registry Cleaners Articles, Tips and Tools

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Troubleshooting why your computer freezes randomly is one of those types of computer problems that are frustrating to resolve since a code/fault/message that points you to the cause is rarely shown. Each time my computer freezes randomly I run through the following checklist of probable causes.

Before Windows Boots Up

I double check all the vents around the PC are unblocked. If any vent is pushing out a lot of heat then there may be fan problems inside the PC. Our article on how to prevent computer overheating covers additional causes and ways to stop the risk of heat damage to your PC. Call in a PC technician to check your computer if mechanical faults (e.g. disk drive is seizing up) is suspected.

After Windows Boots Up

Viruses: Scan all drives (internal, external and memory sticks) for signs of any virus problems. If present, these applications can introduce a registry problem and cause various system program problems. Trojan viruses may use up all the CPU, RAM and internet connection for their own purposes.

Disk Space: Don’t let the main hard disk exceed 90% of the full capacity. My computer freezes randomly as soon as the drive exceeds 95% full as Windows cannot gain enough virtual memory/paging file to run properly. This is easily done when copying photos/music/large data from disk to disk. Clear down temp files and unused software to free some space. PC freezes occur almost constantly when empty disk space drops below 5% and will cause Windows to start deleting system restore snapshots.

Registry Faults: The Windows registry file is one of the key system configuration files storing settings for users, applications and the operating system. You may find your computer freezing randomly if this file is corrupted, virus damaged or non-optimized. Registry cleaners can repair and optimize these settings. Here are two popular tools, both of which offer free scans:

Browser/Sites: If your computer freezes randomly on specific sites then this may be due to bugs in the site code, too many advertisements or heavy weight coding (for example, flash video content in advertisements). Check the browsers RAM usage in Task Manager. Compare this to other browsers (if your computer locks up with one browser then it may be due to the application treating the web pages HTML differently). Make sure you have the latest browser version. If all else fails, restart the browser regularly to clear the RAM cache.

Disk Defragmentation: If you have not defragmented your drive in the last month then it would be time to do so. As data becomes fragmented on the hard drive, documents become slower to access (one file, multiple fragments to read) and use up more RAM to cached the file. There are registry repair tools like Regtool that also has an advanced disk defragmentation feature in order to gain even more disk access speed. You can speed up Windows XP,Vista or Windows 7 by defragmenting every 3 to 4 weeks.

Hardware/Drivers: If you find your computer freezing randomly when using certain hardware (printers, DVD burners, etc.) then open the Device Manager tool (under Control Panel > System > Hardware tab) and check all hardware is being identified correctly. Reload device drivers if necessary. If the computer freezes frequently after installing some new hardware then try removing the peripheral/hardware component and retesting.

RAM Faults: Open the System tool and check all your RAM memory is being correctly identified. If it develops a fault then the operating system (OS) will fail to recognize it. The OS rarely notifies you of this fact, but you could find your computer freezes up randomly because of this even when running a small number of applications.

Too Many Things Running At Once: Your computer problems may well be due to having too many services/applications running at once. Your CPU & RAM can only process so many programs in parallel at any one time. Open the Task Manager and close applications and background services you don’t immediately need. One proviso to this PC speed up tip is to not however close any anti-virus scanning or update services you have.

Web Connection: My computer freezes randomly each time my broadband provider is working on the lines in the area. I once noted my computer is running very slow when viewing Flash based web pages so the problem can even lie with the specific website you are visiting. First try using an alternate connection (e.g. a free Wi-fi connection) to see if the error still occurs. Keep a log of upload, download and ping speeds (many free ways to do this online) and test if your connection is simply running slow. Finally, contact the broadband company to see if they know of issues with the connection in your area or can remotely test your line for performance issues.

Related Posts:
- Why is my computer running so slow?
- How to speed up XP.
- How to increase internet speed.
- Top five computer freeze problems, and their solutions.

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