Computers can freeze or hang for a lot of reasons. It can be a little frustrating when this is happening, especially if you’re working on an important document or playing an online game. When your computer freezes, you will not be able to access anything on your computer.

What’s worse is that the files you’re working on may not be saved and you need to do everything again from scratch. So, what should you do to avoid a frozen computer? Read on to know the step by step guide on how you can fix a frozen Windows computer.


Unfreezing a frozen Windows computer

You can recover a freezing computer in so many ways. But sometimes, you just need to wait for a couple of seconds and let your computer hung on its own and unfreeze itself.

  • If you’re playing a game or other full-screen application, and suddenly your computer froze and prevents you from closing the app, just press the Alt+F4 key on your keyboard. It will close the whole application immediately if it’s just experiencing some problems on the graphics card, but if it is completely frozen, then the Alt+F4 key won’t work.
  • Press the Ctrl+Alt+Del button on your keyboard to check if your computer is still responding. With this, you will be able to close the running applications on your computer and open the Task Manager. You can also restart or log out from your computer when you press this keyboard shortcuts. On the other hand, you might not be able to recover your computer without restarting it if this shortcut won’t work.

If the Task Manager opens using the shortcut, you can recover from the freeze. Another shortcut that you can try is pressing the Ctrl+Shift+Esc button on your keyboard to open the Task Manager.

Choose the Processes tab on the Task Manager window. If you can’t see it, just click the More Details option. Take a look at the processes and programs that use a lot of CPU on your computer. To sort the CPU usage and see the processes that eat too much CPU, click the CPU column header on the menu.

Click a process. After that, choose the End Task option to close the program forcibly. You have to remember that any unsaved task in the program will be lost. What’s worse is that you won’t be able to recover any unsaved data on the program if it is eating too much CPU usage and crashing.

There will be times when your Windows desktop, including the Windows Start menu and its taskbar, freeze as well. And the only way to fix these kinds of problems is to restart the Windows Explorer. You can do this by locating the Windows Explorer program on the processes listed on the Task Manager. Then, click the Windows Explorer and choose the Restart button.

  • On the other hand, click the power button located at the bottom-right side of the Ctrl+Alt+Del screen if there are no unsaved work on the frozen program. After that, click the Restart option on the power menu. Your computer might work normally when it’s finished rebooting, as when you do so, it can fix many tech issues.
  • To lock your screen, just press the Windows+L button on your keyboard them go back to the sign-in screen. You can easily restart your computer from this shortcut as well. However, this method won’t work if the Ctrl+Alt+Del shortcut didn’t work, too.
  • If none of the steps mentioned above worked, then press the Win+Ctrl+Shift+B button on your keyboard instead. This hidden hotkey combination will automatically restart the graphics drivers of your computer. But you have to make sure that it’s that source of the problem first because it won’t work as well if it’s not.

If your computer isn’t responding to all the methods we’ve listed above, then you should do the hard shut down method instead. Just look for the power button of your computer. Then, press and hold it down for 10 to 15 seconds. Your computer will shut down forcibly when you do this. Wait for a couple of seconds and then press the power button again to reboot your computer.

This is the only way to fix the problem if the on-screen shutdown methods aren’t working. This might not be the cleanest and safest way to unfreeze a computer, but it will be your last option.

This is also the only way to fix a blue-screened computer. Windows computers reboot automatically by default when they turn blue-screened. But, if your computer turned into a blue screen of death, and your computer is not rebooting, then you might have turned the automatic reboot settings off. Take note of the error message that will flash on the screen and do a hard shutdown or reboot your computer by pressing the power button for a couple of seconds.


Prevent your computer from freezing again

You can get your computer functioning again like how it used to be if you follow the tips we’ve listed below. These tips will help you prevent your computer from freezing again. If your computer just froze on time, then you don’t have to worry about anything. This is a common issue for computers. Your computer might have a bug on any of its software or hardware that needs to be removed. All you have to do is scan your computer and update the apps or programs that might have a bug.

Something might be wrong with your computer if the freezing regularly occurs. Either the hardware or one of its software has a problem that needs to be fixed right away.

 1. Run the System Restore feature.

If the freezing just occurred recently and you’ve just updated the operating system of your computer or downloaded a new program or software, try to run the System Restore feature. It will reset all the software installed on your computer to their known-good state. You can find this option by going to the Control Panel and choosing the system option. After that, choose the System and Security option and click System. On the list of options on the System menu, just select System Protection then System Restore.

 2. Scan for malware and virus.

Do a malware scan on your computer to make sure that malware is not causing any problems. We recommend using an antivirus together with an anti-malware to make sure there are no viruses or malware. Windows 10 has an antivirus built-in feature calls the Windows Defender. You can use it to scan the viruses. For scanning malware, use Malwarebytes or other popular anti-malware software available online. However, Malwarebytes is a paid program and if you want to use these three tools to protect your computer and all the data inside it, you have to pay $40 per year for its service.

 3. Check your hardware.

If the problem lies in your computer’s hardware, then it might be more difficult to pin down than software problems. For instance, your computer’s RAM is experiencing some tech issues or the computer itself might be overheating. Your computer’s graphics driver or graphics processing unit might also be overheating if your computer is constantly freezing when you’re playing games. However, other components on your computer might have an issue. Make sure to dust off your computer, let it cool down properly, and always check and test its RAM. It can be tricky to diagnose a hardware problem. Most often, you need to switch one component out for another component to accurately test it and see if it can fix the problem. Let the manufacturer fix the hardware problem for you if your computer is still covered with a warranty.

 4. Use the Reset This PC feature.

You can also try reinstalling Windows to eliminate the risk of having software bugs. You can use the built-in feature on Windows 10, which is the Reset This PC, to automatically reset your computer on its default settings. But, you have to remember that trying this feature can remove all installed software and programs on your computer so you have to make sure that all your files are backed up.

 5. Roll back your Windows OS.

You can also roll your old system back if you just installed a Windows update within a couple of days. Make sure that all information and data in your computer have a backup before downgrading to Windows 10, especially the important ones. These include music, files, documents, photos, videos, programs, software, and others. Other than that, make sure that your computer or your laptop is plugged into a power source while the downgrading process is happening so there won’t be an issue.

Try making an installation media of Windows 10 on another computer if your computer freezes during the Reset This PC process. Then, insert the installation media you have created into the frozen computer and boot from the installation media. After that, reinstall the Windows operating system. You will certainly know that there’s a problem with the hardware if the computer freezes after or while installing the Windows OS.