Computer Locks Up or Freezes in Windows 8
This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.
This document helps you find and troubleshoot problems that cause the computer to stop responding, hang, freeze, or lock up.
- Windows stops responding and nothing moves on the computer display.
- When using Windows, a blue screen error opens and you cannot continue.
- The computer does not respond to input from the mouse or keyboard.
- An error message opens, but does not go away and cannot be closed.
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.
Before you begin
Before using the steps in this document, check the following items to prepare for troubleshooting and to see if a better solution exists for specific lock-up symptoms:
- To use this document you need to know how to restart the computer when the computer is locked-up. To restart the computer, press and hold the power button on the computer until the computer shuts down. After the computer shuts down, wait about 5 seconds before pressing the power button again to turn the computer on.
- SCAN FOR VIRUSES! Get the latest virus definitions for your virus scanning software and scan the entire system for viruses (including USB storage devices that you connect to the computer). If you do not have virus-scanning software installed or your subscription has ended, install updated virus scanning software and scan the system.In addition, having more than one virus scanning software program installed can cause lock-ups. Restart the computer and uninstall all but one virus scanning software program.
- If the computer locks up at random times or shortly after turning on the computer, the computer may be getting too hot or a hardware component might be failing.Use compressed air to keep the air passages in the system clean, free of dust and dirt. For more information, see Reducing Heat inside the PC (desktop computers) or Reducing Heat and Fan Noise by Cleaning Air Vents (notebook computers) .
- Lock-ups can occur when graphic drivers and hardware cannot handle certain display situations. If lock-ups occur when changing display resolutions, when opening or playing a 3D video game, or when connecting a new monitor, restart the computer. When Windows opens, download and install the latest video driver. Go to the HP Customer Care Software & Driver Download page and look for a BIOS update, or check with the manufacturer of the hardware. If a BIOS update is available, download and install the update according to the instructions on the download page.
- If lock-ups occur when using an external device, such as when printing or using a USB drive, turn off the printer or external device and unplug it from its power source for about ten seconds. Search the Internet or check the device manufacturer's support site to look for fixes. Too many USB devices attached to the same powered hub can cause lock-ups (this includes the USB ports on your computer). Power settings and returning from sleep mode might be related to the lock-up and disabling power settings might help. For general help with USB devices that lock up, see Troubleshooting USB Connections in Windows 8 .
- If lock-ups occur when coming out of a sleep or suspend mode, restart the computer. Adjust the power settings and update the BIOS to fix this problem. For more information, see Resolving Problems with Sleep Mode and Hibernate (Windows 8) .
- If an error message opens with the lock-up, write the error message down exactly as it appears. Restart the computer and search the HP Web site or the Internet using the exact text from the error message to find a solution.
- For all other lock-ups or blue screens, continue to the next section.
Step 1: Unlocking the computer
Use the steps in this section when the lock-up occurs to try to close the blue screen error or frozen software program and to help find the cause of the lock-up:
- Before continuing, unplug all network cables from the back of the computer.
- Remove any discs from the CD/DVD drives by pressing the eject button on the computer.What happens?
- If Windows becomes active again, clean, repair or replace the disc. Troubleshooting is complete.
- If the lock-up or blue screen error persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
- While holding down the Alt key on the keyboard, press the F4 key to close the software program.What happens?
- If Windows becomes active again, the problem is related to a software program. Save your work and restart the computer. Remember the name of the software program that stopped responding or caused the error. Update or remove software programs that continue to lock up. Troubleshooting is complete.
- If the lock-up or blue screen error persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
- Press the Ctrl +Shift +Esc keys to open Task Manager.What happens?
- If Task Manager does not open, skip to Using System Restore .
- If Task Manager opens, continue to the next step.
- Write down the names of the software programs that have stopped responding.
- Click the software program that is not responding, and then click End Task .NOTE:If Explorer has stopped responding, click More details , then click File , Run new task . Type Explorer into the field and click OK to restart Windows Explorer.
- Continue clicking End Task for software programs that are not responding until all unresponsive software programs are removed from the list.Click a window outside Task Manager.What happens?
- If Windows becomes active again, the problem is related to software. Save your work and restart the computer. Remember the name of the software programs that stopped responding. Update or remove software programs that continue to lock up. Troubleshooting is complete.
- If the lock-up persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
- Look for processes that are causing the lock-up.
- In Task Manager, click More details , then click the Processes tab.
- Look in the CPU column. If the total CPU is showing 99% , find the App or process that is using the highest percentage. Write down the name of the App or process.
- Look in the Memory column for numbers that are increasing. If you find a number that is increasing, watch the number for ten seconds or more to verify that it continues to increase, and then write down the App or process Name.
- In the Name column, click the App or process you wrote down, and click End Task . Continue ending the process for each App or process that is associated with the lock-up.
- Click a window outside Task Manager.What happens?
- If Windows becomes active again, the problem is related to software. Save your work and restart the computer. Remember the Image names that stopped responding. If Windows continues to lock up, update or remove software programs that are associated with the Image Names. Troubleshooting is complete.
- If the lock-up persists, continue to the next section.
Step 2: Using System Restore
System Restore can return the computer to a state where the lock-ups do not happen. Use the following steps to use system restore:
- From the Start screen, type system to open the Search charm, and then select System in the Search results.
- Click System Protection .
- In the System Properties window, click System Restore .
- In the System Restore window, click Next .
- Select a date and time from the list of restore points that matches a date and time before the lock-ups started to occur.
- Click Next .The Confirm your restore point window displays.
- Click Finish , and then click Yes .
- The computer restarts automatically after the restoration completes.
After completing System Restore, the lock-ups should no longer continue. If lock-ups persist, try a different, earlier restore point. If the lock-ups still persist, continue to the next section.
NOTE:Lock-ups might occur again if the lock-up was caused by an automatic software update, such as software delivered through Windows Update or HP Update. If lock-ups occur again, continue to the next section to remove the most recently downloaded software update. Turn off the automatic software tool (Windows Update, HP Update, or other) and get the latest updates directly from the manufacturer's support Web site.
Step 3: Uninstalling software associated with lock-ups
Use the following steps to remove virus scanning software that you do not need, older versions of a software program, and software updates that were installed when Windows starting locking up:
- Press the Windows + I key.
- Hold the Shift key while you click Restart .
- Click Troubleshoot , then click Advanced options .
- Click Startup Settings , and then click Restart .
- Press the 4 key to restart the computer in Safe Mode.When the Windows desktop displays, Safe Mode is displayed in the four corners of the screen.
- From the Start screen, type programs and features to open the Search charm, and then select Programs and Features in the Search results.
- Select the software program that is causing the lock-ups and click Uninstall . View the date the software program was installed to help find software involved in the lock-up. If a software program was installed the same day the lock-ups started to occur, that program might be contributing to the lock-up.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the software program.
- Continue uninstalling software in this manner until you have removed all the software associated with the lock-ups.
- Restart the computer normally into Windows 8.
- The lock-ups should no longer occur. If the computer continues to lock up, even after uninstalling suspect software programs and updates, continue to the next step.
Step 4: Finding more information about the software problem
If software you want to use is having consistent lock-up problems, check the software manufacturer's Web site. Chances are other people have reported the same problem and the manufacturer might have found a solution.
- Connect any network cables that were disconnected earlier.CAUTION:If antivirus software is not open, do not connect to the Internet until an antivirus software solution is applied.
- Go to Web site of the software program manufacturer and search their support sites for known solutions.
- If the problem still occurs, continue to the next step.
Step 5: Updating the BIOS
If lockups still occur, update the BIOS. HP releases BIOS updates that can resolve problems related to lockups. Go to the HP Customer Care Software & Driver Download page and look for a BIOS update. If a BIOS update is available, download and install the update according to the instructions on the download page.
If a BIOS update is not available or does not resolve the lockups, continue to the next step.
Step 6: Recovering the computer
If the other steps in this document failed to resolve the issue, recover all software on the computer back to its original configuration using HP System Recovery. For more information, see Performing an HP System Recovery in Windows 8 .
NOTE:One or more of the links above will take you outside the Hewlett-Packard Web site. HP does not control and is not responsible for information outside the HP Web site.