This article provides troubleshooting steps to assist with identifying the root cause of system lock ups.
If your computer suddenly stops responding while in Windows, you may be experiencing a system lock up issue. For system lock ups, there are steps you can take to attempt to discover the root cause.
A piece of hardware may be causing the lock up. Try unplugging all devices from your computer, including:
For troubleshooting purposes on desktop systems, the only items that need to be connected to the system are a keyboard, mouse and monitor.
If you are unable to identify the issue by reverting recent changes or unplugging external devices, you can troubleshoot using the steps listed below.
To determine if your computer is experiencing a hardware problem, run the Dell Preboot System Assessment (PSA) Diagnostics. For information on how to run Diagnostics, and to determine the issue, refer to Dell Knowledge Base Article:
If the onboard diagnostics and other troubleshooting have not identified the root cause of the lock ups, you may wish to consider running the Quick Test or Full Scan at Dell PC Diagnostics. You can locate these diagnostics at the link below:
Blocked air vents can cause performance issues, as the system may not be receiving the proper air flow and the processor may overheat. To protect itself from overheating, the processor will slow itself down and this performance decrease can be interpreted as a lock up. To ensure that this is not the root cause of the lock up issue, please complete the following steps:
Safe mode prevents non-crucial applications and drivers from loading. This allows us to eliminate the software as a possible root cause of the lock ups or freezes.
To boot into safe mode, please follow the instructions below:
For instructions on booting into Safe Mode in Windows 8/8.1, reference the following article at Dell's Support Website: How to boot into Safe Mode on Windows 8 on your Dell PC.
Open applications and test the computer in safe mode. If the symptoms exist in safe mode, please continue the troubleshooting steps in this article. If the symptoms do not exist in safe mode, the issue is likely related to a driver or software and you may wish to complete steps 6 and 7 to see if you are able to resolve the lock ups or freezing.
Malware (Virus, Spyware, etc.) can definitely cause a Windows system to lock up or appear to hang. To check for malware on your system and to ensure that your computer is up to date on security software, visit Dell Knowledge Base Article:
A program or application may be interfering with the normal processes of Windows. Microsoft has created a detailed process for isolating a startup program that is causing potential issues. Click the link below to begin the troubleshooting process:
In many cases slow performance can be caused by outdated drivers or BIOS settings. Be sure to regularly update your drivers to take full advantage of your hardware and software. Generally speaking, you should update your drivers and BIOS in the following order:
Try updating each of these drivers individually and then retest the system to see if the problem continues.
Be sure that your computer is running with the latest updates for Windows. Visit the Windows Update website to be sure your computer is fully updated.
If your computer is hanging while using a particular application, try uninstalling the application completely from the computer, then reinstall it and visit the software vendor's website to update the software to the latest version.
Be sure to regularly run maintenance tasks on your computer to keep it at peak performance. Refer to Dell's Optimization and Maintenance of Microsoft Windows articles for more information - VISTA, XP, WIN 7 or WIN 8/8.1 (Microsoft link)
Also, use the System File Checker to verify the system files and folders on your computer.
To run System File Checker:
Additionally, you can use Check Disk (Chkdsk) to scan your hard disk for errors to be corrected.
You can locate instructions on how to use this feature by using the Dell KB article below:
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8/8.1 contain a feature known as System Restore to roll back changes to the computer based on "restore points" that are commonly scheduled by Windows.
Note: The System Restore feature is enabled in Windows by default; however, please know that this feature may have been disabled by your IT department during system configuration.
To access and use this feature, refer to the link below and select the System Restore option:
If you are still experiencing lockups in Windows, and the troubleshooting steps above have not resolved the problem, there is likely an underlying issue with the operating system.
To restore Microsoft Windows to the original factory configuration, refer to Dell Knowledge Base Article:
Article ID: SLN265689
Last Date Modified: 07/31/2017 03:58 PM