Knowledge Base

The Computer Freezes or Locks Up in Microsoft Windows XP


What is a Computer Freeze or Lockup?

A computer freeze or lockup occurs when all activity on the screen stops. There are two basic types of freezes or lock ups:
  • All programs are frozen (including the keyboard and mouse) or
  • A single program is frozen




How Do I Troubleshoot a Computer Freeze or Lockup in Microsoft® Windows®?


Try to move the mouse (pointer) across the screen.
  • The Mouse Moves
    Most likely the freeze or lockup is confined to a single program. For troubleshooting assistance, refer to the Dell KB Article: "A Program Stops Responding or Hangs" Article ID: 317983.

  • The Mouse Does Not Move
    If the mouse does not move at all across the screen, press the <Alt> key once and then press the <Down Arrow> a few times.
    • If there is no movement on the screen, then the system is probably frozen meaning that all programs are locked up. Press and hold the computer's power button for 5 seconds until the computer shuts off, and then start the computer.
      Notice:
      You may lose any unsaved data. It is recommended that you only utilize this shutdown method only when absolutely necessary to minimize any data loss.


      Note:
      If the problem persists even after restarting the computer, Dell recommends using the Operating System Troubleshooting Wizard:
      1. Just click the following link "Problems with Microsoft® Windows® XP" Wizard ID: 291569.
      2. On the drop down menus, select your
        • Operating System and
        • Computer Type
      3. Follow the Wizard's troubleshooting instructions.

    • If there is any movement on the screen, then only the mouse may be faulty. Check the mouse connection, or try a different mouse.

  • Note:
    A specific type of lockup can occur if you are running more than one antivirus program. If your computer is locking up and you are running more than one antivirus program, refer to the Dell KB Article: "System Locks With Multiple Anti-Virus Programs" Article ID: 286481




 


Article ID: SLN116099

Last Date Modified: 10/30/2012 12:00 AM


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