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Having your PC suddenly freeze in the middle of working is frustrating. Windows can become unresponsive for many reasons, but there’s a little-known shortcut that can help you recover from one common cause.
We’ll introduce a new handy keyboard shortcut you probably don’t know about, then discuss a few more quick tips for getting your frozen computer running again.
The Hidden Keyboard Combo for Fixing Freezes
Windows offers a standard shortcut that will restart your video drivers. You can use it anytime by pressing the key combination Win + Ctrl + Shift + B.
Once you do so, you’ll see your screen go black for a moment and hear a beep while the video driver resets. After a second or two, your display will return. Since this only affects your graphics drivers, all your open apps remain exactly where you left them. You won’t lose any work.
Many of you have seen the stories about video issues in the April Win 10 update & that you can press Shift+Ctrl+Win+B to fix it. Well, occasionally I have issues with my docked laptop and external monitors coming back on after sleep. This fixes it! Handy outcome from this mess.
— Scott Oldfield ??? (@scuttlefield) May 5, 2018
This only works on Windows 8 or 10, so Windows 7 users can’t take advantage of it. However, it will work no matter what kind of graphics drivers you have. Nvidia, AMD, and even Intel integrated graphics will all reset just fine.
Other Troubleshooting Tips for Frozen Apps
Depending on the cause of the freeze, this shortcut may or may not fix your issue. If your graphics driver gets stuck, restarting it should let you continue on without having to restart your computer.
But if this doesn’t work, you should try pressing Alt + Tab to switch to another program. Still stuck? Try Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager so you can kill any unresponsive programs.
Should neither of these work, give Ctrl + Alt + Del a press. If Windows doesn’t respond to this after some time, you’ll need to hard shutdown your computer by holding the Power button for several seconds. This is akin to pulling the plug, and is the only way to escape a system freeze.
Check out our guide to Windows 10 freezes if you experience this problem regularly.