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  • Information
    Information regarding recent vulnerabilities

    HP is aware of the recent vulnerabilities commonly referred to as "Spectre" and "Meltdown". HP has published a security bulletin with patches for these issues and a list of impacted systems. We will continue to update the bulletin as more information becomes available and encourage customers to check the bulletin frequently.

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

This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
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.
  • 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 is locked up, see the section below, Uninstalling software associated with lockups in Windows 7 to remove virus scanning software that you do not need, older versions of a software program, and software updates that were installed when Windows starting locking up, or programs that are locking up and being unresponsive.
Before you begin
Before troubleshooting lockup or freeze problems on your computer, check the following items for a better solution to specific symptoms:
Step 1: Unlock the unresponsive computer
Use the steps in this section when the lock-up occurs to try to close the blue screen error or frozen software program and to help find the cause of the lock-up:
  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.
    What happens?
    • If Windows becomes active again, clean, repair or replace the disc. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the lock-up or blue screen error persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
  3. While holding down the Alt key on the keyboard, press the F4 key to close the software program.
    What happens?
    • 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 lock up. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the lock-up or blue screen error persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
  4. Press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys to open Task Manager.
    What happens?
  5. Write down the names of the software programs that have stopped responding from the Applications tab of Task Manager.
    Figure : Windows Task Manager showing a software program (a website) that has stopped responding
    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 enter 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.
    Click a window outside Task Manager.
    What happens?
    • 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 lock up. Troubleshooting is complete.
    • If the lock-up persists, continue troubleshooting using these steps.
  8. Look for processes that are causing the lock-up.
    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.
      Figure : Processes tab
      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 verify 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 the lock-up.
  9. Click a window outside Task Manager.
    What happens?
    • 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 software programs that are associated with the Image Names. See Step 6: Uninstall software associated with lockups for more information.
    • If the lock-up 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 HP PCs - Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update (Window 7, Vista, XP).
Step 3: Update the BIOS
If lockups still occur, update the BIOS. HP releases BIOS updates that can resolve problems related to lockups. Go to the HP Software & Driver Download page for your computer model and look for a BIOS update. If a BIOS update is available, download and install the update according to the instructions on the download page.
If a BIOS update is not available or does not resolve the lockups, continue to the next step.
Step 4: Check and clean air vents to prevent overheating
Because overheating can cause lockups, use compressed air to keep the air passages in the system clean and free of dust and dirt. This will promote good airflow and reduce heat in the computer. For more information, see Reducing Heat Inside the PC (desktop computers) or Reducing Heat Inside the PC (notebook computers).
Step 5: Scan for and remove viruses and malware
Viruses and malware can cause the computer to lock up. See this document, HP PCs - Resolving and Preventing Viruses on Your Computer to learn about viruses and how to remove them.
Step 6: Uninstall software associated with lockups
Use the following steps to remove virus scanning software that you do not need, older versions of a software program, and software updates that were installed when Windows starting locking up:
  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.
    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 lockups and click Uninstall. View the date the software program was installed to help find software involved in the lock-up. If a software program was installed the same day the lockups started to occur, that program might be contributing to the lock-up.
    Figure : Uninstall or change a program window
     Uninstall or change a program window with a software program selected
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the software program.
  9. Continue uninstalling software in this manner until you have removed all the software associated with the lockups.
  10. Restart the computer normally into Windows 7.
  11. The lockups should no longer occur. If the computer continues to lock up, 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 having consistent lock-up problems, 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.
  4. If the problem still occurs, continue to the next step and update the BIOS.
Step 8: Use Microsoft System Restore in Safe Mode
Use the following steps 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 is displayed 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 click Next.
    Figure : System Restore: Choose a different restore point
     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 lockups started to occur.
    Figure : System Restore: Choosing a restore point
     System Restore window with a date selected
  8. Click Next.
    The Confirm your restore point window displays.
  9. Click Finish, and then click Yes.
  10. 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 step and uninstall software associated with lockups.
  note:
Lockups might occur again if the lock-up was caused by an automatic software update, such as software delivered through Windows Update or HP Update. If lockups occur 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 lock-up issues, recover all software on the computer back to its original configuration using HP System Recovery. For more information, see HP Guided Solution - Performing an HP System Recovery.

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