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  • Information
    Important Print Security Update

    HP was recently made aware of a vulnerability in certain inkjet printers by a third-party researcher. HP has updates available for download to address the vulnerability. Details and more information are available in the Security Bulletin

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HP PCs - Computer Locks Up or Freezes (Windows 7)

This document is for HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
This document helps you find and troubleshoot problems that cause the computer to stop responding, hang, or freeze.
Symptoms include:
  • Windows stops responding and nothing moves on the computer display.
  • 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.
If it is only an application or program that stops responding, see the section below, Uninstalling software associated with an unresponsive computer to remove virus scanning software that you do not need, older versions of a software program, and software updates that were installed when Windows stopped responding, or programs that are unresponsive.
Before you begin
Before troubleshooting, check the following items for a better solution to specific symptoms:
  • If a blue screen error opens and you cannot continue, see HP Guided Solution - No Power or No Boot Troubleshooting for more information.
  • If the computer stops responding at random times or shortly after turning on the computer, a hardware component might be failing.
    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 the computer is unresponsive most frequently in Windows. For more information, see HP PCs - Testing for Hardware Failures.
  • If the computer stops responding 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 HP PCs - Troubleshooting sleep and hibernate issues (Windows 7).
Step 1: Unlock the unresponsive computer
Use the steps in this section when the computer stops responding try to close the blue screen error or frozen software program and to help find the cause of the freeze:
  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.
    • If Windows becomes active again, clean, repair or replace the disc. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the problem persists, continue troubleshooting.
  3. While holding down the Alt key on the keyboard, press the F4 key to close the software program.
    • 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 be unresponsive. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the error persists, continue troubleshooting.
  4. Press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys to open Task Manager.
  5. Write down the names of the software programs that have stopped responding from the Applications tab of Task Manager.
    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 type 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.
  8. 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 software programs that stopped responding. Update or remove software programs that continue to be unresponsive. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the computer stops responding, continue troubleshooting.
  9. Look for processes that might be causing the computer to stop responding.
    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.
      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 confirm 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 an unresponsive computer.
  10. 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 be unresponsive, update or remove software programs that are associated with the Image Names. See the section to Uninstall software associated with an unresponsive computer for more information.
    • If the problem persists, continue to the next section to restore the computer.
Step 2: Update any available device drivers
As a part of troubleshooting, update drivers and software for your computer using Windows Update. For more information and detailed instructions, see Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update (Windows 10, 8, 7).
Step 3: Update the BIOS
If the computer is still unresponsive, update the BIOS. HP releases BIOS updates that can resolve problems related to an unresponsive computer. Go to the HP Customer Support - Software and Driver Downloads page to see if a BIOS update is available. If a Let's identify your product to get started page displays, select your computer type, type the model name of your computer, and then click Submit. The product support page opens.
If a BIOS update is available, download and install the update according to the instructions on the download page. For more information about updating the BIOS, go to HP Desktop PCs - Updating the BIOS or HP Notebook PCs - Updating the BIOS.
For more information about downloading software, see Downloading or Updating Software and Drivers for HP Computers.
If a BIOS update is not available or does not resolve the problem, continue to the next step.
Step 4: Check and clean air vents to prevent overheating
Because overheating can cause the computer to stop responding, use compressed air to keep the air passages in the system clean and free of dust and dirt. This promotes good airflow and reduce heat in the computer. For more information, see HP Desktop PCs - Computer Overheating Prevention or HP Notebook PCs - Reducing Heat Inside the Laptop to Prevent Overheating.
Step 5: Scan for and remove viruses and malware
Viruses and malware can cause the computer to stop responding. See this document, HP PCs - Computer Might Be Infected by a Virus or Malware (Windows 7, Vista, XP) to learn about viruses and how to remove them.
Step 6: Uninstall software associated with an unresponsive computer
To remove virus scanning software that you do not need, older versions of a software program, and software updates that were installed when Windows stopped responding:
  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 then 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 computer to stop responding, and then click Uninstall. View the date the software program was installed to help find software. If a software program was installed the same day the problem started to occur, that program might be contributing to the problem.
     Uninstall or change a program window with a software program selected
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the software program.
  9. Continue to uninstall software in this manner until all the software associated with the problem is removed.
  10. Restart the computer normally into Windows 7.
  11. If the problem persists, even after uninstalling suspect software programs and updates, continue to the next step and find more information about software problems.
Step 7: Find more information about the software problem
If software you want to use is consistently causing the computer to stop responding, check the software manufacturer's website. 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. Open the application manufacturer's website and search for known solutions, include searching customer service and support forums on that page.
  3. If the manufacturer's website does not offer a solution, search the Internet. There may be manufacturer independent user forums and communities with information about a solution.
If the problem still occurs, continue to the next step.
Step 8: Use Microsoft System Restore in Safe Mode
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 displays 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 then click Next.
     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 computer stopped responding.
     System Restore window with a date selected
  8. Click Next.
    The Confirm your restore point window displays.
  9. Click Finish, and then click Yes.
The computer restarts automatically after the restoration completes.
After completing System Restore, the problem should be resolved. If the problem persists, try a different, earlier restore point.
If the problem continues, go to the next step.
  note:
The computer might stop responding again if the problem was caused by an automatic software update, such as software delivered through Windows Update or HP Update. If the computer stops responding 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 website.
Step 9: Hard reset the computer
When your computer is unresponsive, performing a hard reset might allow the computer to start and Windows to open. Use one of the following documents, depending on your type of computer:
Step 10: Perform an HP System Recovery
If troubleshooting fails to resolve the problem, recover all software on the computer back to its original configuration using HP System Recovery. For more information, see Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 7).

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