It’s no fun
when your computer stops responding to your inputs
. Even if you don’t lose work because of it, hanging programs or a total system freeze can slow your productivity to a crawl.
How to Kill Unresponsive Programs Without the Task Manager
How to Kill Unresponsive Programs Without the Task Manager When a Windows program stops working, your first instinct is probably to visit the Task Manager. Here's a super-fast shortcut you can use to kill idle tasks instead.
We’ve previously looked at
why Windows crashes
Why Does Windows Crash? The Top 10 Reasons
Why Does Windows Crash? The Top 10 Reasons Oh, great. Another blue screen, boot issue or frozen screen in Windows. Now you have to restart and lose most or all of the work you’d been trying to accomplish. It’s frustrating both because of...
what you can do to troubleshoot these crashes
. However, problems don’t always manifest through a blue screen or random shutdowns. Let’s examine the common reasons that Windows will freeze up momentarily.
Why Did Windows Crash? A Troubleshooting Guide
Why Did Windows Crash? A Troubleshooting Guide When Windows crashes, keep calm and reboot. In most cases, it's a singular event. If your computer crashes again, however, consult this step-by-step troubleshooting guide. Bookmark for future use.
1. Hardware Incompatibility
If a piece of hardware isn’t marked as compatible with your version of Windows, it could cause stability issues. Typically, hardware problems result in blue screens when Windows shuts down to avoid damage. When you see system freezes, ask yourself if you’ve recently connected some new hardware to your PC.
Any printer, mouse, keyboard, USB drive, or other external device could be the source of the problem. If you use some
, replace it with a modern device and see if that helps.
8 Ways You Can Still Use Your Old Windows XP Hardware
8 Ways You Can Still Use Your Old Windows XP Hardware Microsoft is killing support for Windows XP this April. If you have a computer that runs Windows XP, you should seriously consider upgrading the operating system, or finding new uses for the computer's hardware.
With the aid of compatibility modes and some tweaks, people can get hardware working with newer versions of Windows long after it’s been retired. For example, you could
try using a virtual machine
emulating an older version of Windows if you can’t live without a particular device.
Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine
Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine
2. Driver Issues
Even if your hardware isn’t causing a problem, its driver could be. A driver is a small piece of software that lets Windows interface with hardware correctly. For basic devices like a mouse or keyboard, a generic Microsoft driver works just fine. Using all the
specific features of a device requires its own driver, though. Problems can ensue if your installed drivers are outdated, incompatible with your version of Windows, or for the wrong device. VIDEO
The general rule with drivers is that you shouldn’t touch them if everything works. Third-party driver update utilities (
those your computer manufacturer provides are fine) are shady and could screw up more than they fix. However, if you suspect a driver problem, we’ve covered how to stop Windows 10 from controlling your drivers
Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10
Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10 A bad Windows driver can ruin your day. In Windows 10, Windows Update automatically updates hardware drivers. If you suffer the consequences, let us show you how to roll back your driver and block future...
replace outdated drivers
How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers
How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? Here's what you need to know and how to go about it.
Whenever you manually update your drivers, make sure you’re using the right 32-bit or 64-bit driver,
depending on your system
What's the Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Windows?
What's the Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Windows? What's the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows? Here's a simple explanation and how to check which version you have.
3. A Messed Up Windows Registry The Registry is a database
where Windows holds all sorts of detailed information about your system and its configuration. Whenever you install or remove sofware, edit a setting, or
What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains]
What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] The Windows registry can be scary at first glance. It’s a place where power users can change a wide variety of settings that aren’t exposed elsewhere. If you’re searching for how to change something in...
make changes yourself
, Windows takes a note in its Registry.
5 Windows 10 Registry Tweaks to Improve & Unlock Features
5 Windows 10 Registry Tweaks to Improve & Unlock Features The registry editor is the only way to enable some of Windows 10's hidden features. Here we'll show you easy tweaks like enabling the dark theme or hiding folders.
Most of the time, the Registry is just fine without your intervention.
Do not use Registry cleaners, as they are useless at best and dangerous at worst. Even though trusted tools like CCleaner include a Registry cleaner, “cleaning” thousands of errors won’t provide any performance benefits. VIDEO
If your registry is so screwed up that it’s causing crashes,
you’ll probably need to reinstall Windows
. It shouldn’t ever get to that point unless you’ve
How to Reset the Windows Registry to Default
How to Reset the Windows Registry to Default If you've messed up the Windows Registry, hopefully you have a backup. If not, you have a short list of options to fix the problem.
made a mistake while editing it
, use a cleaner, or get hit by malware.
How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry
How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC.
4. Malware of Any Kind
Malware, the catch-all term for
viruses, spyware, worms, and other nasties, can wreak havoc on your system. Whether it’s injecting ads into your browser causing it to freeze or rootkits inhibiting your system in plain sight, malware can take over your system and degrade performance. VIDEO
If you’re suffering from malware, read over
the steps to take when you’re hit by malware and what you should do when you’re done cleaning the infection. For everyone else, know that there are easy ways to avoid viruses, including running some powerful free security software
The 8 Best Security Software for Windows 10 Malware Protection
The 8 Best Security Software for Windows 10 Malware Protection Want to tighten security on your PC? It's a good idea, so take a look at these fantastic antivirus choices for Windows 10.
5. Using a Poor Antivirus Program, or Multiple
isn’t as common as it once was, but it’s worth mentioning. You shouldn’t run multiple antivirus programs, as they’ll conflict with each other and potentially cause slowdowns. If you want a second opinion, use an on-demand scanner like Malwarebytes or SUPERAntiSpyware ( our review) and scan with that occasionally.
For more security, use a
free browser-based antivirus scanner like VirusTotal. These let you scan a file with dozens of different antivirus apps at once, making sure that yours doesn’t miss anything.
Aside from this, make sure you use
one of the best antivirus suites and not some no-name app, and you shouldn’t have any stability issues in this area. 6. Application Bugs
Unfortunately, poorly-written software is out of your control. Whether it’s an old app that hasn’t been updated in years or a
poorly optimized browser extension
, you might notice that your problem only occurs when you’re using a certain program.
10 Chrome Extensions You Should Uninstall Right Now
10 Chrome Extensions You Should Uninstall Right Now It's hard to keep track of which extensions have been caught abusing their privileges, but you should definitely uninstall these 10 as soon as possible.
If you can pin down which app is an issue, check
AlternativeTo for a replacement. Should the problem occur in your browser, try disabling extensions
one by one and see if that solves the problem. You should also remove any plugins you don’t use,
How to Clean Up Your Browser Extensions (The Easy Way)
How to Clean Up Your Browser Extensions (The Easy Way) If you regularly check out cool extensions, then it is probably time to clean up those add-ons that you no longer want, like, or need. Here's how to do it easily.
especially unsafe ones
Think Flash Is the Only Insecure Plugin? Think Again
Think Flash Is the Only Insecure Plugin? Think Again Flash isn't the only browser plugin that presents a risk to your online privacy and security. Here are three more plugins that you probably have installed in your browser, but should uninstall today.
7. User Tweaks
Once you eliminate all the above scenarios, it’s possible that your stability problem comes from some a tweak you’ve made.
Changes from the Control Panel/Settings shouldn’t interfere with your system, but
using third-party tools to customize the nitty-gritty bits of Windows
might be the issue.
7 Best Tools to Tweak and Customize Windows 10
7 Best Tools to Tweak and Customize Windows 10 Your Windows setup can be as unique as you are. We have compiled the best tools to help you customize the design and functionality of your Windows system.
Think about the tools you’ve used
for Windows 10 privacy
7 Tools to Manage Privacy Settings in Windows
7 Tools to Manage Privacy Settings in Windows Every Windows version has its flaws and user privacy is one that haunts them all. We'll introduce you to seven tools that can help you manage native Windows privacy settings.
tweaking the Taskbar
, or similar deep tweaks. Consider reversing those changes if you can’t find any other source of instability.
Get More Out Of The Windows Taskbar with 7+ Taskbar Tweaker
Get More Out Of The Windows Taskbar with 7+ Taskbar Tweaker Could the Windows Taskbar be more useful? You can quickly add features and keep things simple with 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. Customize your Taskbar to your needs - without the fluff.
Chances are, that frequent freezing you deal with has its root in one of these seven sources. Most of them are in your control, so all it takes is a bit of troubleshooting to find out where the problem lies. Once you fix the problem, you can get back to using your computer like normal!
If you don’t want to spend time on these fixes, it’s easy to
Refresh Windows 10
and reset the operating system to its default state.
Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows?
Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Ever wanted to reset Windows 7 without losing personal data? Between a factory reset and a reinstall, it was tough. Since Windows 8, we have two new options: Refresh and Reset. Which one is right...
Have you ever dealt with occasional freezing in Windows? Let us know if one of these seven aspects was the cause of your problem, or add your story down below in the comments!
Explore more about: Antivirus, Computer Maintenance, Drivers, Malware, Troubleshooting, Windows Registry.