If your computer keeps freezing up, there could be several causes. Since the problem could be hardware or software related, you should first stop and think about any recent changes you might have made to the system. For instance, if you just installed a new printer and the PC began to lock up, you could have a driver problem. If you recently added a new internal drive, you may be experiencing problems related to low power or heat. If you have made no changes to hardware or software, perhaps some general maintenance is in order to help keep your PC running smooth.
Inspect Your PC for Heat Related Issues
A PC will sometimes shutdown if it gets to a dangerous temperature. Or it might simply become sluggish and then freeze altogether. If your PC has not been cleaned for a while, you might want to invest in a can of compressed air and blow out any fans. Turn off the PC, open the case and touch a piece of the computer’s metal chassis to ground yourself. Then unplug the machine. Some computers will have fans in the front grill area. Even if there are no fans, blow out the grill to make sure your computer is able to draw cool air in from the room. Next, look for a rear fan. While your PC may not have a rear fan, it will have a power supply fan. You will also see a fan above the CPU and possibly the graphics card. Blow them all out. Plug in the PC and make sure all fans are spinning. If your computer keeps freezing, there might be an issue with a fan, it might be causing your system to overheat and lockup.
Bad Drivers Can Cause a System to Freeze
If you have any USB devices connected to the computer, try unplugging them and see if the PC continues to lockup. It’s possible you may have picked up a bad driver from a recent update. While it could be a driver from any piece of hardware in your PC, unplugging USB devices can help to easily narrow it down. If that doesn’t help, try a system restore. You will not lose data with a system restore, but it will revert drivers and system files back to a date when you know they worked properly. You can run System Restore by going to Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore.
Scan The Hard Drive For Errors
Hard drive lock-ups occur less in our new solid state hard drive world. But may of us still have and rely on spinning hard drives for capacity. A spinning drive can cause both heat and mechanical failures that will cause your computer to run slow or freeze up, altogether.
If your hard drive has bad sectors, you can try scanning it with Microsoft’s built-in utility called CHKDSK. To run it, right-click the C: drive in My Computer and select Properties. Under the Tools tab, select Error Checking and click Check Now. Tick the options to fix errors automatically. Make sure you select a thorough scan, as this will check the entire surface of the disk for errors and move data off that sector to a different place on the drive.
CPU is Overheating
The most common cause for a computer to freeze up is overheating. If you have confirmed all fans are clean and airflow is not restricted, you should look into checking the temperature of the CPU and case. You BIOS will probably have these tools built in, or you may decide to download a program to monitor your computer’s temperature. There are numerous free applications on the internet that will do this. If your PC is exceeding 60c, you are probably going to have issues with heat.