Laptop Keeps Freezing: Troubleshooting Tips

by Rod Dunne on December 17, 2010

in Articles, Laptop, Performance

Laptop keeps freezing | Troubleshooting tips for identifying hardware and software issues
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Getting to the bottom of why my laptop keeps freezing is not made easy due to a lack of exceptions being displayed. However, there are some troubleshooting techniques you can use for fixing a computer with these issues. Here, we’ll go through some of the software, log files and checks you can make to establish the software/hardware issues that are to blame.

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Laptop keeps freezing due to hardware faults

One of the big concerns when a PC keeps freezing or the computer keeps crashing is the possibility of there being a malfunctioning component on your laptop. Here are some checks that you can do to identify the root cause of the problem:

  • Check the Device Manager for hardware issues.
    This application will indicate if there are device driver issues, hardware conflicts or other problems and provides a troubleshooting wizard you can use to rectify the issues.
  • Make sure the PC is not overheating.
    The CPU and hard drive can overheat if the PC is left in direct sunlight or close to a radiator, so be careful to avoid this. Make sure the air vents are also clear of any dust. I can confirm if my computer keeps freezing due to overheating by opening up the BIOS menu (hit F1/F10 as the system is booting up) to see the diagnostics settings for CPU temperatures and fan speeds. The temperature should not be approaching the automatic shutdown setting (another BIOS setting). If it is, then there may be an issue with the heat sink or internal fans.

PC keeps freezing due to software issues

It is more common however for software problems to be the principal cause of laptop freezes. While error messages may not be displayed on screen when my laptop keeps freezing, it is possible to check the log files for any signs of exceptions/codes which could indicate the root of the problem.

  • Check the log.
    Open the Event Viewer Log (start > run > enter eventvwr) to identify any error messages shown near the time at which the PC freezes. The error codes can relate to hardware or software issues such be investigated online try and pinpoint which program or component is causing the fault.
  • Check free space.
    Check the operating system is not running out of free space on the hard disk to use for virtual memory. You should have at least 10% left empty for the paging file to expand. If not, clear out some extra space by removing unused programs and transferring large files (e.g. MP3s, images, etc) to an external hard disk. You could also use a commercial disk cleaning application (e.g. Winclear – Advanced data cleaning utility for clearing free space on PCs and securely wiping internet history.) to free up extra space on your drive that is taken up by temporary files and cached documents you can do without.
  • Check for viruses.
    Run a full anti-virus scan on your hard drive using an up-to-date antivirus application. It only takes one of these malicious programs on your PC to damage your registry file and lead to computer freezes.
  • Reduce the number of running programs.
    If my laptop keeps freezing when running specific applications then it is a good indication that these programs are possibly using too much RAM memory or have an inherent coding fault. Check the task manager on the processes tab to see how much memory the product is using and try to close down as many applications as possible to free up extra RAM. Programs using too much RAM memory should be checked for updates or replaced.
  • Check for registry faults
    The Windows registry file contains configuration settings for all users and applications on the computer. It can easily become corrupted from viruses, application changes and a variety of other things. Use a PC repair tool (such as Reimage) to automate the analysis, repair and optimization of key settings.

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