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

This document is for HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
The computer screen freezes, and the computer does not respond to input from the mouse or keyboard. Before you begin the steps in this document, check for a solution to specific symptoms:

Step 1: Exit current programs

Disconnect the computer, remove any discs, and close all software programs.
  1. Disconnect all network cables from the back of the computer.
  2. Remove any discs from the CD/DVD drives.
    If the computer responds, clean, repair, or replace the disc.
  3. Press and hold the Alt key on the keyboard, and then press the F4 key to close the software program you are using.
    If the computer responds, skip to the step to Uninstall software programs.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 2: End programs with Task Manager

Use Windows Task Manager to close programs that might be causing your computer to lock up.
  1. Press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys to open Task Manager.
    If Task Manager does not open, skip to the step to Use System Restore in Safe Mode.
  2. On the Applications tab, look for a task with a Not Responding status.
    Task Manager Applications window
  3. Write down the name of the software program that is not responding. You might need to uninstall the program later.
  4. In Task Manager, click the program, and then click End Task.
  5. Repeat the previous step for all tasks with a Not Responding status.
  6. Open a window outside Task Manager.
    • If the computer responds, one of the programs you ended is causing your computer to lock up. Save your work, restart the computer, and then skip to the step to Uninstall software.
    • If the computer does not respond, continue with these steps.
  7. In Task Manager, click the Processes tab.
  8. Select the Show processes from all users check box, and then look for processes with high CPU and Memory.
    • CPU: Look for numbers approaching 99.
    • Memory: Look for numbers that continually increase for ten seconds or more.
    Processes tab
  9. Write down the Image Name of any software programs with high CPU and Memory. You might need to uninstall the program later.
  10. In Task Manager, click any items that have high CPU or Memory numbers, and then click End Process.
  11. Close Task Manager.
    • If your computer responds, a software program is causing your computer to lock up. Save your work, restart the computer, and then skip to the section to Uninstall software programs.
    • If your computer does not respond, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Update any available device drivers

Use Windows Update to update the software and drivers for your computer. For more information, go to Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update (Windows 10, 8, 7).
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Update the BIOS

HP releases BIOS updates that can resolve problems related to an unresponsive computer.
  1. Go to HP Customer Support - Software and Driver Downloads to look for a BIOS update.
  2. 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.
  3. Follow the instructions to download any available BIOS updates. For more information, go to HP Desktop PCs - Updating the BIOS or HP Notebook PCs - Updating the BIOS.
If a BIOS update is not available or does not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Check and clean air vents to prevent overheating

Overheating can cause the computer to stop responding. Use compressed air to clean the air passages, and then wait for the computer to cool down. For more information, go to HP Desktop PCs - Reducing Heat Inside the Computer to Prevent Overheating or HP Notebook PCs - Reducing Heat Inside the Laptop to Prevent Overheating.
If cleaning the air vents does not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 6: Scan for and remove viruses and malware

Viruses and malware can cause the computer to stop responding. Go to HP PCs - Computer Might Be Infected by a Virus or Malware (Windows 7, Vista, XP) to learn about viruses and how to remove them.
If removing viruses and malware does not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 7: Uninstall software associated with an unresponsive computer

Remove virus scanning software that you do not need, older versions of software programs, 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, and then press the F8 key repeatedly.
  3. From the Windows Advanced Options Menu, select Safe Mode, and then press Enter.
    The Windows desktop opens and Safe Mode displays in four corners.
  4. Click Start , and then click Control Panel.
  5. Double-click Programs and Features.
      caution:
    Make sure you have the installation discs and installation keys for software programs that you want to keep.
  6. Look for the programs you wrote down in previous steps.
  7. Click the software program, and then click Uninstall.
     Uninstall or change a program window with a software program selected
  8. Follow the instructions to remove the software program.
  9. Repeat these steps with any other software programs you wrote down.
  10. Restart the computer normally.
    If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Find more information about the software problem

If software you use consistently locks up the computer, check the software manufacturer's website for a solution.
  1. Connect any network cables that were disconnected earlier.
      caution:
    Do not connect to the Internet unless you have active antivirus software.
  2. Go to the manufacturer's website, and then search for known solutions, such as those posted on forums or a customer service page.
If the manufacturer's website does not have a solution or the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 9: Use Microsoft System Restore in Safe Mode

Restore your computer to a time before the issue occurred.
  1. Press and hold the Power button on the computer until the computer shuts down (about 5 seconds).
  2. Turn on the computer, and then press the F8 key repeatedly.
  3. From the Windows Advanced Options Menu, select Safe Mode, and then press Enter.
    When the Windows desktop displays, Safe Mode displays in the four corners of the screen.
  4. Click Start , and type system restore in the Search box. In the search results, click System Restore, and then click OK if prompted.
    System Restore opens.
  5. Select Choose a different restore point, and then click Next.
     System Restore window with Choose a different restore point selected
  6. Select restore point with a date and time before the computer stopped responding.
     System Restore window with a date selected
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Finish, and then click Yes.
    The system restores, and then the computer restarts automatically.
If the issue persists, try an earlier restore point. If an earlier restore point does not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 9: Perform a hard reset

Performing a hard reset might fix issues such as Windows not responding or software freezing.

Step 10: Perform an HP System Recovery

If troubleshooting fails to resolve the problem, recover all software on the computer back to the original configuration using HP System Recovery. For more information, go to Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 7).

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