Why Does My Computer Freeze: 6 Main Issues That Cause This

by Rod Dunne on December 30, 2010

in Articles, Hardware, Performance

Why does my computer freeze | Software solutions and troubleshooting checks
  • Share
  • Share

If you’ve ever been stuck wondering why does my computer freeze up so often then you will be well aware that troubleshooting computer freezes is made difficult due to the lack of a pop-up error or exception message. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the standard computer repairs and maintenance software utilities you can use to analyze the problem.

Checklist

The following items are listed in the order in which they should be checked. Computer freezes frequently occur due to hardware faults which should be checked as a first priority since ignoring the damage could lead to data loss (e.g. hard disk platter seizures).

  1. Check for hardware faults.
    It is possible that there are hardware conflicts that are leading to PC freezes. Open the Device Manager application (control panel > system > hardware tab) and make sure none of the components are having connection issues, device driver problems, etc. The applications own troubleshooting wizard can guide you through some suggested solutions if faults are detected.
  2. Check the PC is not overheating.
    If insufficient air is getting through to the CPU or hard drive then performance will degrade and eventually the components will fail. My computer freezes frequently if left near a heat source (e.g. radiator) or the air vents are blocked with dust so make sure to check this is not occurring on your PC. Open up the BIOS menu as Windows is booting and review the health check settings for CPU temperature and fan speeds. If the temperature is approaching the auto restart level (another BIOS setting) then you have an overheating issue. Open up the PC and check that fan filters, fans and heat sink are clear of dust and undamaged.
  3. Check the Event Viewer log.
    One time, after wondering why does my computer freeze up without showing a message, I realized the Event Viewer log (start > run > enter eventvwr) can actually contain some of the messages which never made it as far as the monitor. Check the date stamped messages around the time of the PC hanging to see if you can identify error codes. These error messages can be then used to research online (e.g. the Microsoft support website) to pinpoint which software or hardware component is to blame.
  4. Check virtual memory is not being constrained.
    Windows uses virtual memory to help speed up application processing. The paging file is used as virtual memory and tries to make use of any available empty space on the disk to expand. If empty disk space drops below 5% then you will find your computer freezes frequently. Maintain at least 10% of your hard disk free and empty for use by the page file by running Disk Cleanup to clear out temp files and transferring bigger files (e.g. MP3s, pictures) to an external disk drive.
    Suggested Tool: Winclear – Advanced data cleaning utility for clearing free space on PCs and securely wiping internet history.
  5. Check a virus hasn’t corrupted the registry.
    Viruses will normally result in errors and exceptions but they may also cause the PC to freeze on occasion. Schedule your anti-virus application to update its definitions daily and scan the entire drive as often as possible. If detected viruses cause damage that cannot be repaired by the application then try using a PC repair tool like Reimage to automate the repairs.
  6. Too many applications running.
    Your computer may simply have reached the limit of what it can support. I wondered why does my computer freeze up when running a specific audio application and it turned out that it had minimum system requirements regarding RAM memory (which my PC didn’t reach). In many situations, you can try closing down some of the background services and applications in order to free up some RAM memory for an application. In addition, you should check for updates to the application which may have provided performance tweaks to the application code. It is also prudent to check online user forums and customer support sites for reports of performance issues with any products using a lot of RAM (visible in the processes tab of the Task Manager program).

Previous post:

Next post: