XP Computer Hangs | Causes And Solutions

by Rod Dunne on June 21, 2010

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

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The lifespan of XP computers has long exceeded the expectations of Microsoft. The poor response to Vista meant that many Windows XP computer owners put off upgrading. But as these PCs get older the likelihood of computer hangs increases. Here we’ll look at some of the primary causes along with some suggested PC repairs.

Viruses

Each XP computer has probably now been running for over 6 years so this has given hackers plenty of time to probe the weaknesses.  Trojan viruses are especially damaging and utilize a lot of CPU and internet connection bandwidth.

Update your anti-virus software and run a full system scan including external drives and thumb drives. If the computer hangs in mid-scan then try booting Windows in safe mode to complete the scan – this mode constrains the number of processes permitted to run.

- See also our post entitled why does my computer freeze?

Software

Software faults can be introduced due to old software being used, installing applications that corrupt the registry or using software that was not intended for your XP computer version. This all boils down to having the wrong software running on your Windows XP computer.

  • Updates: Run the Windows Update Service to get the latest XP related service packs, device drivers and security patches. If your PC freezes using specific applications then check the vendors site for updates (and ensure they claim to support XP).
  • Registry: The registry file can easily become corrupted as newly installed applications overwrite shared key settings. Roll back the registry to an earlier, working version if you have maintained copies.

Hardware

Adding peripherals/hardware to an XP computer can result in some freezing issues due to fact that the device drivers may unsupported/partially supported. Some hardware manufacturers test their products extensively on new operating systems, but the older systems such as XP may only be lightly tested.

Check the vendor’s site for XP related patches/drivers/known issues. You are probably not going to be the first XP owner to experience the fault so their should be plenty of support requests/ workarounds/ forum advice.

Resources

Finally, it is worth also considering that your Windows XP computer hangs because of resource constraints. Computer freezes are often a sign that you have limited CPU, RAM, virtual memory and disk space and over time these can become over-full or over-used.

Some best practices in PC maintenance should help ease this problem:

  • Free up disk space (removing old applications, etc.) to have at least 10% free.
  • Increase the virtual memory that is allocated. A minimum of 1.5 times your quantity of RAM, and maximum of 3 times, is a good starting setting.
  • Close down applications you are not using. They use resources even when running in the background.
  • Tweak the performance options (Control panel > System > Advanced Tab). Reducing visual effects can have a huge benefit especially for XP laptop computer owners.

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