Computer freezing—sometimes referred to as a hang or stall—is when a computer becomes unresponsive. Because of some sort of issue, the computer system can no longer respond to inputs, which results in the machine not functioning normally. For example, the user might not be able to use the mouse or keyboard, toggle between programs, or save a file. It is crucial that users regularly back up their computers so that if they start malfunctioning, they will retain most of the data stored on the machines.
There are different types of computer freezing, and many reasons why they may occur. For example, there may be problems with the hardware or software, the system may be overwhelmed, or there may be malware on the computer. Because these types of problems will eventually occur on every machine, it is crucial that users have a basic understanding of what causes computers to freeze, how to avoid this occurring, and what steps to take when it inevitably does.
When a computer freezes randomly, the first thing to do is identify what is causing the problem. There are four key reasons why a computer locks up and ascertaining this can help resolve the problem later. These are the four most common issues:
Computers are highly sensitive machines. Because of this, the slightest glitch in hardware or software can cause make a laptop freeze. If a PC is freezing, it is important to understand what is causing the malfunction. In many cases, it is possible to determine what the problem is by simply paying attention to what the computer is doing or running diagnostic tools. Here are a few things to think about next time you find yourself wondering “Why does my computer keep freezing”?
Every piece of software—and some hardware—on a computer requires a certain amount of system memory and resources to function normally. As such, running too many programs, apps, or websites simultaneously can cause laptop freezes.
If a computer suddenly starts emitting unusual noises or high-pitched squealing, it may be overheating. This can occur in hot environments, on hot days, or if the machine has been in use for a long period of time. Due to their highly sensitive nature, when a computer overheats, it goes into self-preservation mode to minimize any potential damage to its system. In this case, the machine may become lethargic or, in some cases, shut down completely.
For those constantly wondering why their computer freezes, malfunctioning drivers could be the answer. All computer programs require drivers to operate normally. As such, if application drivers become corrupted or outdated, applications cannot communicate efficiently with the computer’s hardware. When this happens, the program—and computer—could stop functioning.
Computer freezing might be one of the most common signs that a machine is infected with malware. Users may inadvertently allow malware on their computer, for example, by downloading a malicious email attachment or visiting third-party resources and downloading untrustworthy files. When malware infects a computer, it can cause it to act unusually and even stall. For example, it can overwhelm the operating system by opening numerous programs that run in the background and use up the computer’s memory.
Outdated operating systems can hamper the functionality of a machine, causing frequent computer freezing. For example, files within the system can become corrupted and cause fatal errors which mean the computer will not function normally.
These are another common cause of computer freezing. Old software programs may not work well on more up-to-date operating systems, for example, and can cause the program to function unusually, causing confusion within the machine that results in it stalling.
Computer hardware can be very sensitive and any minor issue can disrupt the machine’s system and cause malfunctioning or computer freezing. For example, hardware may overheat, accumulate dust, or even become slightly misaligned. Any of these can prevent a laptop from operating as expected.
A computer uses RAM (Random Access Memory)—a type of short-term data storage—while it is in operation. RAM is stored on small pieces of hardware called RAM sticks, and when these become damaged, it can cause the computer to lock up. Similarly, the computer in question may simply not have enough processing power to keep up with how it is being used, causing it to slow or even stall frequently. This can also result in blue error screens being displayed regularly.
Laptop freezes commonly occur when using external devices with the machine. Because of this, using an external mouse, keyboard, or hard disk that did not come with the laptop or is not produced by the same company, can cause glitches in the machine’s operation.
The hard drive is the heart of a computer and when it starts malfunctioning, users often notice that the computer freezes randomly. In many cases a faulty hard drive will make clicking sounds, so the issue is usually easy to identify. However, it is also possible to run a diagnostic check on the hard drive to see if it is working properly.
If the computer’s cursor freezes in place, the problem could be a mouse issue. For example, a wired mouse might have a bad cord or have become unplugged, while a wireless mouse might have a dead battery.
Although all computer users will occasionally experience computer freezing, there are ways to minimize this happening. Here are some tips to ensure your computer runs as smoothly as possible:
People who frequently use computers will inevitably find themselves dealing with a laptop freeze at some point in time. It is important to remember, though, not to simply give up on the machine when this occurs. In fact, there are very few instances where a computer freeze cannot be diagnosed and resolved. So, next time it happens, instead of asking “Why is my PC freezing,” try taking some of these steps to get the machine running smoothly again:
No matter how well a computer is maintained, all systems freeze at some point. There are many reasons why a laptop freezes, including undetected malware, incompatible or misconfigured hardware, insufficient storage, and overheating.
When a computer locks up, the most important thing to do is diagnose the issue. Once the issue is isolated, it becomes easier to understand what steps to take to resolve the issue. Users can also take steps to minimize the chances of experiencing computer freezing, such as ensuring all software and drivers are up to date, using only a few programs, and regularly running malware scanners.
Kaspersky Endpoint Security received three AV-TEST awards for the best performance, protection, and usability for a corporate endpoint security product in 2021. In all tests, Kaspersky Endpoint Security showed outstanding performance, protection, and usability for businesses.
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