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HP PCs - Computer Locks Up or Freezes (Windows 10, 8)

This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 10 or Windows 8.
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
Before troubleshooting lockup or freeze problems on your computer, check the following items for a better solution to specific 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 application installed can cause lockups. Restart the computer and uninstall all but one virus scanning application.
  • If the computer locks up at random times or shortly after turning on the computer, the computer might 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, refer to Reducing Heat Inside the PC to Prevent Overheating for desktop computers, or Reducing Heat Inside the PC to Prevent Overheating for notebook computers.
    For more information about testing for a failing component, refer to Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 10, 8) for desktop computers, or Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 10, 8) for notebook computers.
  • Lockups can occur when graphic drivers and hardware cannot handle certain display situations. If lockups 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. Refer to Downloading or Updating Software and Drivers for HP Computers page and follow the Hardware drivers section, and the BIOS updates section.
  • If lockups 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 lockups (this includes the USB ports on your computer). Power settings and returning from sleep mode might be related to the lockup and disabling power settings might help. For general help with USB devices that lock up, refer to Troubleshooting USB Connections (Windows 10, 8).
  • If lockups 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, refer to Resolving Problems with Sleep and Hibernate Modes (Windows 10, 8).
  • If an error message opens when the computer locks up, write down the error message exactly as it appears. Restart the computer and search HP Customer Support or the Internet using the exact text from the error message to find a solution.
  • For all other lockups or blue screens, continue to the next section.
Step 1: Unlocking the locked up or frozen computer
Use the steps in this section to help find the cause of the lockup:
  1. Unplug all network cables from the back of the computer.
  2. Remove any discs from the CD/DVD drives.
    • If Windows becomes active again, clean, repair or replace the disc. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the lockup persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
  3. While holding down the Alt key on the keyboard, press the F4 key to close the application.
    • If Windows becomes active again, the problem is related to an application. Save your work and restart the computer. Remember the name of the application that stopped responding or caused the error. Update or remove applications that continue to lock up. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the lockup persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
  4. Press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys to open Task Manager.
    • If Task Manager does not open, skip to Using System Restore.
    • If Task Manager opens, continue to the next step.
  5. Write down the names of the applications that have stopped responding.
  6. Select an application that is not responding, and then click End Task.
     note:
    If Explorer has stopped responding, click File, Run new task. Type Explorer into the field and click OK to restart File Explorer.
  7. Continue clicking End Task for applications that are not responding until all unresponsive applications are removed from the list.
    Click a window outside Task Manager.
    • If Windows becomes active again, the problem is related to software. Save your work and restart the computer. Remember the name of the applications that stopped responding. Update or remove applications that continue to lock up. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the lockup persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
  8. Look for processes that are causing the lockup.
    1. In Task Manager, click More details, then click the Processes tab.
    2. 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.
      Figure : Processes tab in Task Manager
      Processes tab in Task Manager
    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 app or process Name.
    4. 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 lockup.
  9. Click a window outside Task Manager.
    • 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 applications that are associated with the image names. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the lockup persists, continue to the next section.
Step 2: Using Microsoft System Restore to fix lockup or freeze problems
System Restore can return the computer to a state where the lockups do not happen.
Use the following steps to use System Restore:
  1. In Windows, search for and open System.
  2. Click System protection.
    Figure : System protection
    System protection
  3. On the System Protection tab of the System Properties window, click System Restore.
    Figure : System Restore
    System Restore selection in the System Properties
  4. In System Restore, click Next.
  5. Select a Date and Time from the list of restore points that matches a date and time before the lockups started to occur.
    Figure : Restore point selection
     Restore point selection in System Restore
  6. Click Next.
    The Confirm your restore point window displays.
  7. Click Finish, and then click Yes.
  8. The computer restarts automatically after the restoration completes.
After completing System Restore, the lockups should no longer continue. If lockups persist, try a different, earlier restore point. If the lockups still persist, continue to the next section.
 note:
Lockups might occur again if the lockup was caused by an automatic software update, such as software delivered through Windows Update or HP Support Assistant. If lockups occur again, continue to the next section to remove the most recently downloaded software update.
Step 3: Uninstalling software to fix lockup or freeze problems
Certain programs, such as virus scanning software that you do not need, old versions of software, and software updates that were installed when Windows started locking up, are associated with causing lockup problems on computers. Removing these programs will often stop lockup and freeze problems.
Use the following steps to remove software:
  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Click Power, and then hold the Shift key while you click Restart.
  3. On the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot, and then click Advanced options.
  4. Click Startup Settings, and then click Restart.
  5. 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.
  6. Press the Windows key.
  7. Click Control Panel.
  8. Click Programs and Features.
    The Programs and Features screen displays.
  9. Find the application causing the lockup and note the Installed On date. If another application was installed the same day the lockups started to occur, that program might be contributing to the lockup.
  10. Select the application that is causing the lockups and click Uninstall or Uninstall/Change.
    Figure : Programs and Features
    Programs and Features
  11. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the application.
  12. Continue uninstalling software in this manner until you have removed all the software associated with the lockups.
  13. Restart the computer normally.
  14. The lockups should no longer occur. If the computer continues to lock up, even after uninstalling suspect applications and updates, continue to the next step.
Step 4: Finding more information about the software problem
If an application consistently causes lockups, deleting the program will fix the problem. However, if you want or need to keep the program on your computer, you can check the software manufacturer's website. Other people have probably reported the same problem and the manufacturer might have found a solution.
To search for possible solutions, follow these steps:
  1. Connect any network cables that were disconnected earlier.
     caution:
    If antivirus software is disabled, do not connect to the Internet until an antivirus software solution is applied.
  2. Open the application manufacturer's website and search for known solutions.
  3. If the manufacturer's website does not offer a solution, search the Internet for known solutions.
  4. If the problem still occurs, continue to the next step to update the BIOS.
Step 5: Updating the BIOS
If lockups still occur, update the BIOS. HP releases BIOS updates that can resolve problems related to lockups. Refer to Updating the BIOS (Desktop PCs) or Updating the BIOS (Notebook PCs).
If a BIOS update is not available or does not resolve the lockups, recover your computer.
Step 6: Recovering the computer
If the troubleshooting steps did not resolve the issue, use a System Recovery as a last step. Performing System Recovery will recover all software on the computer back to its original configuration. For more information, refer to Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 10)or Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 8).

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