For many the move to the Windows 10 Anniversary update has gone smoothly, but some users are experiencing constant freezing, with either the entire system locking up or specific elements like the Taskbar not responding.
Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and is actively working on a patch, but until then you’ll need to follow the steps below if you’re suffering from this freezing problem post-update.
Update: Microsoft released a Cumulative Update on August 31, which is supposed to fix freezing in Windows 10; the update is rolled out automatically. If you’re still experience the issue, first make sure update KB3176938 was installed. This update brings your Windows build number to 14393.105. To check your build number, press Windows key + Q, type winver, and hit Enter. If this update was installed, but didn’t fix the freezes, go ahead and try the alternative solutions below.
What Causes the Freezing?
This particular freezing problem is caused by the recent Anniversary Update, which added a number of new features to Windows 10. Users have reported that their system freezes; some for 20/30 second periods, others permanently.
According to Microsoft, the problem is affecting users who have their operating system installed on a SSD and their apps and data stored on another drive. However, there have been reports from some users who don’t match this description and are still having the problem.
It seems likely that multiple culprits cause people’s systems to freeze and Microsoft has identified only one of those. Read on to find out how to solve this issue.
Boot into Safe Mode
You’ll need to boot your system into Safe Mode to perform the steps below, otherwise your system is probably just going to freeze!
To do this, first restart your system. When on the sign in screen, hold Shift and select Power > Restart. When your system restarts to the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. Once complete, you’ll see a list of choices, so press F4 to choose to boot in Safe Mode.
If you need other methods, check out our guide on how to boot into Safe Mode.
1. Change App Install Location
Press Windows key + I to open Settings. From here, navigate to System > Storage. Beneath Save locations, use the New apps will save to dropdown to switch it to the same drive that your operating system is installed on. Then click Apply and restart.
This isn’t going to work for everyone, partly because you might not be able to fit all that data on a single drive.
2. Disable AppXSvc
AppX Deployment Service (AppXSvc) is a service that supports the deployment of Store applications. Disabling this can stop Store applications running correctly, though not necessarily, and that might be preferable to constant freezing anyway.
To disable this we need to head into the registry. Press Windows key + R, input regedit and then click OK. Always be careful when editing the registry as it can mess up your system if you fiddle incorrectly.
Once in the Registry Editor, navigate down the following folder path:
When here, double click the Start DWORD in the right-hand pane. Change the Value data to 4, click OK, then restart your system. Change this back to 3 if you want to enable AppXSvc again.
3. Install Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver
This fix could work for you, you’re using an Intel CPU and one or multiple serial ATA (SATA) or PCIe drives.
Intel Rapid Storage Technology is primarily used for creation and management of RAID performance, but it can also be used on single drives. While Windows 10 is able to natively handle this without the support of third-party drivers, some users have reported that installing this Intel driver solved their freezing.
To get the driver, navigate to Intel’s driver page and download the latest version. Unzip the file and run the installer within, then follow the steps through. Once the driver has installed you’ll need to restart your system.
4. Uninstall Antivirus
Microsoft has reported that having an outdated antivirus installed can cause problems and suggests uninstalling the software and then installing the newer version. Your mileage with this will vary, but it’s worth a shot.
Do a system search for uninstall a program and select the relevant result. Select your antivirus from the list and click Uninstall/Change. Follow the wizard through and then restart your system.
You can then go ahead and install your antivirus again, downloading the latest version direct from the developer. However, you might find the inbuilt Windows Defender a suitable replacement.
5. Create a New User Account
Some users have reported that creating a new local account solves the problem. To do this, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Then navigate to Accounts > Family & other people. Beneath Other people, click Add someone else to this PC.
On the new window, click I don’t have this person’s sign-in information. Then click Add a user without a Microsoft account. Fill out the fields and click Next. Then log out of your account and into the new one.
6. Rollback to the Previous Version
If it’s been less than 10 days since you updated then you can still roll back to an earlier build. To do this, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Navigate to Update & security > Recovery. Beneath Go back to an earlier build, click Get started and follow the instructions.
If this option isn’t available then you could download an ISO for a previous Windows 10 version and install from that. However, Microsoft doesn’t provide these, so you’ll have to get one from an unofficial source or use one you’ve previously created. If you have one available, check out our guide on how to create Windows 10 installation media.
Wait it Out
If none of this is working for you then the best answer might be to wait it out. Microsoft is working on a solution for this and it’s expected that they’ll keep posting progress updates on their official forum, though at time of writing there’s no estimated date for when the patch will be out.
Nevertheless, this isn’t a shining moment for Microsoft, who decided that Windows 10 would force updates on users. Considering that all the updates go through various rounds of testing, it’s surprising that this problem wasn’t caught.
Has the advice here helped you resolve your freezing problems? Do you have your own tips to share?