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HP Pavilion All-in-One MS215UK Desktop PC support

Computer Locks Up or Freezes (Windows 7)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
This document helps you find and troubleshoot problems that cause the computer to stop responding, hang, freeze, or lock up.
Symptoms include:
  • 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.

Before you begin troubleshooting an unresponsive computer

Check the following items to prepare for troubleshooting a computer that has stopped responding 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 five 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 are connected 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) (in English) or Reducing Heat Inside the PC (notebook computers) (in English).
    To test for a failing component, click Start , click All Programs , click PC Help & Tools , and then click Hardware Diagnostic Tools . Run the System Test from the Test Scripts section on the left - skipping the CD-write tests during the test. Failed memory, processor, or graphics adapter tests are usually a sign of damage caused by heat. You can also run this test from startup if lock-ups occur most frequently in Windows. For more information, see HP Desktop PCs - Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 7) (in English) or HP Notebook PCs - Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 7 and Windows Vista) (in English).
  • 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 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 7 .
  • 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 7) .
  • 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 troubleshoot the problem.

Step 1: Unlocking an unresponsive computer (Windows 7)

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:
  1. Before continuing, unplug all network cables from the back of the computer.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Press the Ctrl +Shift +Esc keys to open Task Manager.
    What happens?
  5. Write down the names of the software programs that have stopped responding from the Applications tab of Task Manager.
    Figure 1: Windows Task Manager showing a software program (A Web site) that has stopped responding
    Task Manager Applications window
  6. Click the software program that is not responding, and click End Task .
    NOTE:If Explorer has stopped responding, click File , New Task (Run...) , and enter Explorer into the field to restart Windows Explorer.
  7. 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.
  8. Look for processes that are causing the lock-up.
    1. In Task Manager, click the Processes tab, and click Show processes from all users .
    2. Look in the CPU column. If 99 is listed in the CPU column next to any Image Name other than System Idle Process, write down the Image name.
      Figure 2: Processes tab
      Processes tab
    3. 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 Image Name.
    4. In the Image Name column, click the process you wrote down, and click End Process . Continue ending the process for each Image Name that is associated with the lock-up.
  9. 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 to restore the computer.

Step 2: Using the last known good configuration in Windows 7

When your computer is unresponsive, starting the computer using the last known good configuration might allow Windows to open using the most recent settings that worked.
  1. Remove all CDs and DVDs from the computer, and then restart the computer.
  2. At the first screen, press the F8 key repeatedly every half of a second until a Windows Advanced Options menu displays.
  3. Press the Down Arrow key until Last Known Good Configuration is highlighted, and then press Enter .
    Windows 7 starts the computer using the last previous restore point. If Windows does not open, please continue to the next step to use System Restore.

Step 3: Using System Restore in Safe Mode to resolve lock-ups in Windows 7

Use the following steps to restore your computer to a time before errors started occurring:
  1. Press and hold the power button on the computer until the computer shuts down (about 5 seconds).
  2. Turn on the computer.
  3. Press the F8 key repeatedly when the first screen displays.
  4. From the Windows Advanced Options Menu, select Safe Mode , and press Enter .
    When the Windows desktop displays, Safe Mode is displayed in the four corners of the screen.
  5. Click Start , and type system restore in the Search box. In the search results, click System Restore .
    If prompted, click OK on the User Account Control message to continue.
    System Restore opens.
  6. Select Choose a different restore point , and click Next .
    Figure 3: System Restore: Choose a different restore point
     System Restore window with Choose a different restore point selected
  7. Select a date and time from the list of restore points that matches a date and time before the lock-ups started to occur.
    Figure 4: System Restore: Choosing a restore point
     System Restore window with a date selected
  8. Click Next .
    The Confirm your restore point window displays.
  9. Click Finish , and then click Yes .
  10. 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 step and uninstall software associated with lock-ups.
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 4: Uninstalling software associated with lock-ups in Windows 7

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:
  1. Press and hold the power button on the computer until the computer shuts down (about 5 seconds).
  2. Turn on the computer.
  3. Press the F8 key repeatedly when the first screen displays.
  4. From the Windows Advanced Options Menu, select Safe Mode , and press Enter .
    The Windows desktop opens with the words Safe Mode showing in four corners.
  5. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  6. Double-click Programs and Features .
    CAUTION:Make sure you have the installation discs and installation keys for software programs that you want to keep.
  7. 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.
    Figure 5: Uninstall or change a program window
     Uninstall or change a program window with a software program selected
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the software program.
  9. Continue uninstalling software in this manner until you have removed all the software associated with the lock-ups.
  10. Restart the computer normally into Windows 7.
  11. 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 and find more information about software problems.

Step 5: Finding more information about software with lock-up problems

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.
  1. 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.
  2. Go to the Web site of the software program manufacturer and search their support sites for known solutions.
  3. If the software manufacturer Web site does not offer a solution, search the HP Web site (in English), Microsoft’s knowledge base (in English) or use your favorite search site to search the Internet for known solutions.
  4. If the problem still occurs, continue to the next step and update the BIOS.

Step 6: Updating the BIOS to resolve computer lock-ups

If lockups still occur, update the BIOS. HP releases BIOS updates that can resolve problems related to lockups. Go to the HP 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 7: Recovering the computer in Windows 7

If troubleshooting fails to resolve lock-up issues, 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 7 .