Why Does My Computer Keep Freezing

by Rod Dunne on October 2, 2010

in Articles, Performance

Why Does My Computer Keep Freezing - Common Causes & Solutions
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Have you ever asked yourself why does my computer keep freezing and how am I meant to fix it without a useful error message/code?

The solution to this predicament is to troubleshoot the most common causes of computer freezes in order to find out which resources are being constrained or which programs are to blame. This article contains a useful checklist of common causes & solutions.

Cause: Disk drive components are damaged.

If you hear a scratching noise out of the hard drive before the PC freezes up then the heads or bearings could be seizing up. A ticking sound could mean the spindle or disk motor has a problem.

Solution: Get a PC repair technician to check it out. If it cannot be fixed then a data recovery service may be necessary to retrieve your files.

Cause: RAM memory is no longer being detected.

This could be due to memory failure or the memory module coming away from its motherboard socket. This could be a possible cause if your computer freezes frequently, rather than only freezing when using specific applications.

Solution: Check the amount of RAM listed in the Control Panel > System program is correct. If not, then open the PC and check the RAM is installed snugly. Replace the RAM if the BIOS still doesn’t detect it.

Cause: Presence of a virus/adware/malware/spyware.

Any of these type of bugs can corrupt the registry, interfere with system programs or run in the background (consuming CPU, RAM & bandwidth) causing all manner of computer problems.

Solution: Update your anti-virus software with the latest virus definitions and run a full scan. Reboot the PC in safe mode if necessary to run the scan (i.e. if a virus is stopping your scan from running) if the virus keeps on reappearing and your computer freeze issues reoccur.

Cause: Level of empty space on the hard drive has gone below 5%.

It’s so easy to download torrents, movies, etc. and quickly fill up a hard drive without noticing. This constrains the amount of virtual memory that Windows can use. Your computer freezes up repeatedly below 5% free disk space as the paging file is constricted.

Solution: Free up at least 10% by removing unused programs, clearing out temporary files and using the Disk Cleanup Tool (Accessories > System Tools). See our computer clean up article for more tips.

Cause: Registry keys have been corrupted.

These types of computer problems occur due to virus damage or when application installs/removals/alterations have adversely changed registry keys that are shared amongst applications. Often, your computer freezes up randomly (system keys are faulty) or with specific hardware/applications (shared keys are corrupted).

If file system records are corrupted (e.g. the file allocation table, boot files) then the partition may revert back to raw format. See our article on raw data recovery for more information.

Solution: Use a registry cleaner to repair the faults to the file and optimize setting. Some recommend tools are:

Cause: Too many applications running

Solution: Open Windows Task Manager and identify which applications are taking up all the RAM memory (on the processes tab). Shut down services you don’t need. You could also disable services from starting during start-up via the System Configuration tool. You can find this tool under the Start menu, Run program by entering msconfig.

Cause: One application is to blame or is using up all the RAM memory.

The program may have a bug or simply be a heavy user of RAM (e.g. some browsers use a lot of memory processing flash-based web site pages).

Solution: You could either close them down or investigate if the program has a fault. Search for customer support tickets detailing the same computer problems, and potential workarounds. Make sure you have the latest update of the program. Or, just try using a similar product instead that performs better.

Cause: Operating system (OS) program damage.

OS applications can be damaged due to viruses, application installs and accidental deletion.

Solution: Try running the Windows Update. This could patch up device driver issues or known security code problems.

Using registry cleaners (see above) may resolve faults in the registry alone but if other system files or programs have been affected then a registry cleaner will not be able to update these files.

Hopefully, the next time you wonder why does my computer keep freezing up, then this checklist will locate the root of the issue for you.

Related Posts:
Why is my computer running so slow?
Our post on how to recover data from crashed hard drive partitions has 5 approaches for recovering lost files after a crash.
My computer keeps restarting itself – causes and solutions.
Preventive maintenance checklist of monthly activities that help retain hardware/software performance.

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