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

This document is for 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 to mouse and keyboard input.
  • Nothing moves on the computer display.
  • Mouse cursor is in constant busy mode.

Before you begin troubleshooting

Before troubleshooting lockup or freeze problems on your computer, check these items for a better solution to specific symptoms:

Step 1: Unlock the unresponsive computer

Use the steps in this section to help find the cause of the lockup.
  1. Disconnect all devices from the PC except for the keyboard and mouse and/or monitor required for minimal use.
  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, 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. In Windows, search for and open Task Manager.
  5. Review the list of applications and processes under Processes to locate any that are not responding. Make a note of the names of those applications or processes that are not responding.
    note:
    Some applications or processes might display a Green Leaf icon in the Status column. These applications or processes are currently suspended by the system to help increase computer performance. They do not need to be turned off.
  6. Select an application or process that is not responding, and then click End Task.
  7. Continue clicking End Task for additional applications or processes that are not responding until all are removed from the list.
  8. Without closing Task Manager, click a window outside of Task Manager.
    If Windows becomes active again, the problem is related to software. Save your work and restart the computer.
    • Applications: Remember the names of the applications that stopped responding. Update or remove applications that continue to cause lockups, and then skip to the step to Uninstall software to fix lockup or freeze problems.
    • Processes: Remember the process names that stopped responding. If Windows continues to lock up, update or remove applications that are associated with the process names.
    If the lockup persists, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Update 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 (Window 10, 8, 7).

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 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. Go to HP Desktop PCs - Updating the BIOS or HP Notebook PCs - Updating the BIOS for more information.
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

If the computer locks up at random times or shortly after turning it on, dusty or dirty air passages or vents might be causing the computer to overheat.
Because overheating can cause lockups, use compressed air to keep the air passages in the system clean and free of dust and dirt. This promotes good airflow and reduces heat in the computer. Go to Computer Overheating Prevention (Desktop Computers) or Reducing Heat Inside the Laptop to Prevent Overheating (Notebook Computers) for more information.

Step 5: Scan for and remove viruses and malware

Viruses and malware can cause the computer to lock up. 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. Go to Computer Might Be Infected by a Virus or Malware (Windows 10, 8) for more information.

Step 6: Uninstall software to fix lockup or freeze problems

Removing programs that appear to cause lockups, as well as, old versions of software, and software updates installed when Windows started locking up can often stop lockup and freeze problems.
note:
It is advisable to use only one virus scanning software. Others can be removed as a troubleshooting step to make sure they are not causing the computer to become unresponsive.
  caution:
Do not uninstall Windows Updates.
If the computer became unresponsive (locked up or frozen) after installing a specific program or application, remove that program.
  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 displays in the four corners of the screen.
  6. Press the Windows key , and then:
    • Windows 10: Click Windows System to expand the menu, and then select Control Panel.
    • Windows 8: Click Control Panel.
  7. Click Programs and Features.
    The Programs and Features screen displays.
  8. 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.
  9. Select the application that is causing the lockups and then click Uninstall or Uninstall/Change.
    The Uninstall or change a program screen
  10. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the application.
  11. Continue uninstalling software in this manner until you have removed all the software associated with the lockups.
  12. Restart the computer normally.
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 7: Find more information about the software problem

If an application consistently causes lockups, uninstalling the program might fix the problem. However, if you want or need to keep the program on your computer, you can check the software manufacturer's website. It is possible that 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 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, including searching customer service and support forums on that page.
  3. If the manufacturer's website does not offer a solution, search the Internet. There might be manufacturer independent user forums and communities with information about a solution.
If the lockups persist, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Use Microsoft System Restore

System Restore can restore your computer back to an earlier state in time when the lockups were not happening.
  1. In Windows, search for and open System.
  2. Click System protection.
    System protection
  3. On the System Protection tab of the System Properties window, click 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.
     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 an earlier restore point. If the lockups still persist, continue to the next step.
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 step to remove the most recently downloaded software update.

Step 9: Reset the computer

If none of the above actions resolved the error condition, back up your personal data, then reset your computer by reinstalling the operating system. Depending on your version of Windows, choose one of the following documents for more information:

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