How to Unfreeze a Frozen Windows PC
There are a myriad of ways that you can unfreeze your PC. Sometimes, all you have to do is wait and the PC will unfreeze on its own. If an app, say a game freezes and you can’t quit it, press Alt+F4 to close the app if the game happens to be having graphical issues, but if the app is totally frozen it won’t work.
Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to see if the computer is responding, then click on Task Manager to close every running application or you can log out or restart the PC. If the screen doesn’t appear, you may not be able to recover your PC without having to reboot.
If you are able to open the Task Manager, you could recover the freeze. You can also open the Task Manager with Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
Click on the “Processes” tab, if you don’t see it, click “More Details”. Locate any processes that is making use of more CPU, this you can do by clicking the “CPU” to sort by use of CPU which app or program is using more CPU.
Select a process by clicking on it, and then click “End Task” to end the program. If you have not saved any of your work, you might lose it, but if there’s a crash you won’t be able to recover any unsaved work anyway.
Sometimes your Windows desktop with the taskbar and Start menu might freeze. Restart Windows Explorer to fix the issue, locate “Windows Explorer” in the list of Processes on the Task Manager, click it and then “Restart”.
If you don’t have any unsaved work click the power button icon at the bottom-right corner after you select Ctrl+Alt+Delete screen and select “Restart”. When your computer reboots, it should work well.
You could press Windows+L to lock your screen and go back to sign-in and then restart your PC. If Ctrl+Alt+Delete didn’t work, this may not work as well.
If none of the above methods work, press Windows+Ctrl+Shift+B, this will restart your PC’s graphics drivers, if they are the cause of the problem, it may unfreeze the system.
If none of the methods work, the only thing left to do is to shut down completely. Long press your PC’s power button and it will shut down the PC. After that, wait for some time and then turn it on.
This is not an advisable way to shut down your PC but if the onscreen options are not functional, there isn’t much of a choice.
If your system has blue-screened (a case where the desktop only shows a blue screen), the only way to shut it down is to press the power button. Usually when a system blue screens, it reboots automatically but if you see a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and the PC is not rebooting, you may have disabled automatic reboots. Write down the error message and then long press the power button.
How to Stop Your PC From Freezing in the Future
Sometimes PCs freeze, it may be a one-time thing or a continuous occurrence – if it’s one time, there’s no need to worry, but if it continues, there’s a problem be it software or hardware. The Reliability Monitor and BlueScreenView might show you the problem.
If the freezing only started of late and you updated you PC recently or installed a new software, run System Restore. On Windows 10, head to Control Panel > System and Security > System > System Protection > System Restore.
You could run an anti-malware scan to be sure that the reason for your PC’s problems is not as a result of malware. On Windows 10, scan with Defender antivirus already built into the software and try a free Malwarebytes scan. You could also try other anti-malware tools (you will find them online).
Hardware issues are more difficult to ascertain, a lot of things could be faltering say, system overheating, faulty RAM. If there’s a frequent freezing while you’re playing games, your GPU may be failing.
Make sure your PC is dusted regularly, properly cooled, and run RAM tests. Determining hardware problems can be difficult. You may have to swap one component for another and see if the issue will be fixed. If the PC is still under warranty, send it back to the manufacturer to handle the issue (besides you already paid for that).
To remove the risk of software bugs, reinstall Windows. On Windows 10, use “Reset” to get your PC back to a new-like state, this will remove all the programs you installed. You can try installing a new Windows 10 which will not have the utilities that the PC manufacturer installed.
If you installed an update of the Windows software within the past 10 days, try rolling your system back to the former version you were using.
If your PC should freeze during the process of Reset, try making a Windows 10 installation media on another computer. Insert the media into the frozen PC, boot from the installation media and then reinstall the Windows software. If your computer freezes while Windows is being installed, you know you have a hardware issue.