Computer Locks Up – Top Ten Solutions

by Rod Dunne on August 10, 2010

in Articles, Performance

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When a computer locks up you rarely get the chance of seeing a computer error that points you toward a solution.

Here, we’ll look at the top 10 solutions to attempt when your computer hangs or freezes up, during a slow startup or regular everyday usage.

  1. Hardware: Check all air vents are unimpeded as overheating of components can quickly result in your computer locking up, shortly before components start burning out. Our article on how to prevent computer overheating covers additional causes and ways to stop the risk of heat damage to your PC.
  2. Drive Space: Double check you’ve left 10% of your disk drive empty. Windows will use this for virtual memory.
  3. Data Fragmentation: Run a disk defragmenter tool (e.g. Regtool disk defragmenter and registry repair tool in one) on your drive partitions. The most important partition to do every few weeks is the drive containing system files. Computer hangs happen when excessive file fragmentation makes even simple file commands use all your RAM memory to cache data.
  4. Registry Corruption: The Windows registry system file can develop faults as software is installed or due to virus attacks. Use a registry cleaner to repair these faults and optimize key settings (which can improve slow startup performance too).
    Registry Tool Suggestion #1: Registry Easy free scan.. | Registry Easy Review
    Registry Tool Suggestion #2: XP Repair Pro free scan.. | XP Repair Pro Review
  5. Viruses: Scan for adware, spyware, malware and viruses. Any virus/hack in your computer can damage system files and programs.
  6. Updates: If your computer locks up with specific applications then check with the manufacturer for updated versions/installations. If you find your computer locking up randomly then updates to device drivers, OS files and security patch updates may resolve the issue (use Windows Update service to get these updates).
  7. Slow Broadband Connection: If your computer freezes up while browsing online then there are two possibilities. The connection itself may have an intermittent problem leading to slow broadband speeds. Test this by using a different connection or check with the ISP (most can ping your computer to test the line is alright). Alternately, the browser may be getting overloaded with larger web pages. In particular, some flash ads/videos on websites can cause huge amounts of RAM to be used to cache the downloaded data. Update the browser, try another program or restart the browser often to clear the cache.
  8. Applications: If your computer locks up when several applications are open then you could have reached the limit of your CPU/RAM capacity. Computer hangs can happen with modern software that have minimum specification requirements for CPU/RAM/disk space which some older computers may struggle to support. Open the Task Manager (Processes tab section) and analyze the memory usage of applications to identify the culprits of the computer freeze.
  9. Device Drivers: If you find your computer locking up when using specific hardware then check the Device Manager tool (under Control Panel > System program > Hardware tab). Look for device driver issues and hardware conflicts.
  10. Software Faults: Over time, the installation of new software can conflict with older applications that share the same registry settings or system program files. Keeping applications and the OS up to date is one solution to this if used in conjunction with registry cleaners.

Related Posts:
~ Computer Running Very Slow – Troubleshooting Tips;
~ How to do a computer clean up.
~ Reboot Computer Tips and System Restore Snapshots

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