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Troubleshooting Computer Lockups/Freezes

 
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Troubleshooting Computer Lockups/Freezes - 10/27/2007 11:32:14 PM   
Brandy redux


Posts: 2377
Joined: 2/7/2007
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When your computer appears to lock up or freeze, the first best thing to do is to press CTRL + ALT + DEL (press and hold CTRL, then press and hold ALT, then press and hold DEL).

If Windows is still responding, the "Windows Task Manager" window will open. Sometimes, it might take a while before the window opens. But, when the window does open, click on the 'Applications' tab, then check the 'Status' of all listed Tasks.

If you see "Running" in the Status column for all listed Tasks, the computer is not actually locked up or frozen. Instead, one of the listed Tasks is struggling to complete a process. In that case, the best thing to do is to just wait until the Task finishes processing.

If you see "not responding" (or something on that order) in the 'Status' column for one of the listed Tasks, click on that task, then click on the 'End Task' button. In some cases, it might be necessary to wait a while after clicking on the End Task button. And, it might be necessary to click on the task again and then click on the End Task button again. But, with luck, the Task will end and your computer will return to normal function. If the Task will not end, it might be necessary to select 'Shut Down' in the menubar, then click on 'Restart'.

If Windows is not responding when you press CTRL + ALT + DEL, nothing will happen. In this case, you will need to manually shut off and restart your computer.

If your computer frequently locks up or freezes, there could be several causes. And, many of those causes can be corrected by performing a computer cleanup, as described in this FAQ

Computer Cleanup on WinXP, WinVista & Win7

If you are using an Operating System other than WinXP, WinVista or Windows 7, perform as many of the recommended cleanup tasks as possible.

If a computer cleanup does not solve the lockup/freeze problem, the next best step would be to make sure you are using the correct and most current printer and graphics card drivers for your Operating System.

Click here

Updating Video Card Driver: 2000/XP/Vista/7/Mac OS X 10.4.0 and later

then follow the directions in that FAQ

The current drivers for most printers and graphics cards can be found on the printer and/or graphics card manufacturer's web site. For some graphics card drivers, it is often necessary to contact the computer manufacturer to obtain the most current driver.

If you find that you are already using the correct and most current drivers for your printer(s) and graphics card, but the lockup/freeze problem continues, it couldn't hurt to uninstall and reinstall the drivers (on the off chance that the currently installed driver is corrupt in some way).

If none of these suggestions helps to solve the lockup/freeze problem AND if the computer tends to lockup or freeze with specific programs, the first best thing to do would be to make sure that your computer meets the Minimum System Requirements for those programs. If you find that your computer does meet the Minimum System Requirements, the next best course of action would be to to this:

A. Click on this link

Uninstalling Software: Thoroughly & Safely

then follow the directions in that FAQ

To make sure that all remnants of the program have been removed, it is VERY important to follow ALL directions in that FAQ for searching the hard drive. It is also VERY important to keep in mind that the registry should NOT be edited manually to remove remnants of the program. Instead, the registry should be cleaned ONLY by performing Step #4 in the "Computer Cleanup on WinXP & WinVista" FAQ recommended below.

B. Click on this link

Computer Cleanup on WinXP, WinVista & Win7

then follow the directions in that FAQ for performing a computer cleanup.

To make sure that all problems have been found, it is VERY important to perform ALL 7 steps. It is also very important to NOT perform any procedures that are not recommended in this FAQ.

C. Click on this link

'Clean' Install on Win98/Me/XP/2000/Vista/Win7

then follow the directions in that FAQ.

< Message edited by Brandy redux -- 10/15/2012 11:56:31 AM >


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Post #: 1
RE: Troubleshooting Computer Lockups/Freezes - 10/28/2007 2:10:41 AM   
Brandy redux


Posts: 2377
Joined: 2/7/2007
Status: offline
If all the suggestions above fail to solve your computer lockup/freeze problem, check your RAM, free hard drive space and Page File (Virtual Memory) settings. Since Virtual Memory acts as an extension of RAM when a process requires more memory than there is RAM, it is critically important to have enough free hard drive space for Virtual Memory.

First, determine how much free hard drive space is available on the C:\ drive. To do so, go to My Computer (Computer for WinVista & Windows 7), right click on the C:\ drive, then select 'Properties' in the menu that drops down. A window should open which displays the amount of Used Space and Free Space. Make a note of the total number of GB in the 'Free Space' section.

Second, determine how much RAM is installed on your computer. To do so, go to 'Control Panel' then click (or double-click) on 'System'. When the 'System Properties' window opens, click on the 'General' tab (if it is not already selected). On the General tab, and in the 'Computer' section ('System' section for Vista & Windows 7), you should see how much RAM is installed on your computer.

If you find that the amount of 'Free Space' is not EQUAL TO or LARGER THAN 1 1/2 times the amount of installed RAM (preferably 3 times the amount of installed RAM), you may not have enough free hard drive space for a proper Page File (Virtual Memory). In that case, the best option would be to free up hard drive space - either by conducting the computer cleanup recommended in the message above or uninstalling software that is no longer used. HOWEVER, if you have more than one drive on your computer, you'll want to FIRST follow the steps below to make sure that the paging file isn't set for a drive other than the C:\ drive.

While you are still on the General tab of System Properties, click on the Advanced tab (for Vista & Windows 7, click on the 'Advanced System Settings' link).

On the Advanced tab, click on the 'Settings' button in the 'Advanced' section (do NOT click on the 'Settings' button in either the 'User Profiles' or 'Startup and Recovery' section). (for Vista & Windows 7, click on the 'Settings' button in the 'Performance' section)

When the 'Performance Options' window opens, click on the 'Advanced' tab.

On the Advanced tab, and in the 'Virtual Memory' section, click on the 'Change' button.

When the 'Virtual Memory' window opens, check which item is selected in the 'Paging file size for selected drive' section.

If you see that 'System Managed Size' is selected, no further action is required (provided the free hard drive space on the C:\ drive is AT LEAST 1 1/2 times the amount of installed RAM). Just click on OK to exit all windows.

If you see that 'No paging file' is selected for the C:\ drive, you will definitely want to select either 'Custom size:' or 'System Managed Size' - because it is NEVER a good idea for the C:\ drive to be set to 'No paging file'. HOWEVER, it is not absolutely mandatory for the paging file to be on the C:\ drive. So, if you have more than one drive on your computer, and you see that one of the other drives is set to have a paging file, select that drive, then check the paging file settings for that drive.

If you see that 'Custom size:' is selected, check the 'Initial Size (MB):' and 'Maximum Size (MB):' settings. Also check the MB setting in 'Recommended:' at the bottom of the window. Under normal conditions, the 'Recommended:' size will be roughly 1 1/2 times the amount of installed RAM. So, the 'Initial Size (MB):' should NOT be smaller than the 'Recommended:' size. If it is, change it. And, to be sure to have a proper paging file, it couldn't hurt to set the 'Maximum Size (MB):' to AT LEAST 3 times the amount of installed RAM. And, if you have plenty of hard drive space, you could set BOTH 'Initial Size (MB):' and 'Maximum Size (MB):' to AT LEAST or MORE THAN 3 times the amount of installed RAM. After making any changes to either 'Initial Size (MB):' or 'Maximum Size (MB):', click on the 'Set' button. Then, click on OK to exit all windows. When you are back at the desktop, restart the computer.

NOTE: 1 GB is equal to 1024 MB.

Hopefully, the changes you made will either eliminate or minimize the computer lockups/freezes.

< Message edited by Brandy redux -- 12/25/2009 8:02:24 PM >


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For More Help:
Click on the FAQ link at the top of this page
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(in reply to Brandy redux)
Post #: 2
RE: Troubleshooting Computer Lockups/Freezes - 6/19/2008 11:12:21 AM   
Brandy redux


Posts: 2377
Joined: 2/7/2007
Status: offline
It is also possible that the Lockup/Freeze is being caused by a background program that is loaded every time the computer is started.

To determine whether or not a background program is causing the problem, click on this link to the 'clean' install FAQ

'Clean' Install on Win98/Me/XP/2000/Vista/Win7

then follow the directions for disabling background programs in MSConfig. Allow the computer to restart, then try the program again. If the lockup/freeze no longer occurs, that would have to mean that a background program is causing the problem. Unfortunately, the only way to determine exactly which background program is causing the problem is to go back to MSConfig and enable ONLY ONE program, allow the computer to restart, then try the program again. If the problem does not occur, repeat the process, enabling ONLY ONE program at a time, until you find the background program that causes the problem to occur. Then, make a note to yourself to make sure that program is never enabled in MSConfig.

< Message edited by Brandy redux -- 7/18/2012 5:02:45 PM >


_____________________________

For More Help:
Click on the FAQ link at the top of this page
Then, click on the All FAQ's button on the next page

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(in reply to Brandy redux)
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