Article Number: 000132224
Video (Youtube) - Fix System Freeze (Official Dell Tech Support)
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.Note: If the issue recently started, please note any recent hardware or software changes before beginning troubleshooting, as reversing those recent changes may quickly identify the issue.
A piece of hardware may be causing the lockup. Try unplugging all devices from your computer, including:
The only devices you should leave attached to your computer are your monitor, mouse and keyboard, if the computer is a desktop.
Once this is completed, unplug the computer from the wall, remove the laptop battery (if applicable) and hold the power button down for approximately 15 seconds. Then plug wall power back into the computer and attempt to restart.
If the mouse or keyboard is causing the lockup, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article, "Keyboard, touchpad, or mouse not working correctly".
If you are unable to identify the issue by reverting recent changes or unplugging external devices, you can troubleshoot using the steps listed below.Back to Top
Windows may display an error code associated with the shutdown, restart, lockup or error. The quickest way to find info on this is to use the search engine of your choice to look for your specific issue as Microsoft have detailed info for each :
For general information on types of error codes, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article, "Error Codes on Dell Commercial and Consumer products".
How to Fix Blue Screen of Death Windows 10 (Official Dell Tech Support) - (2:59) - English Only
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:
Be sure to regularly run maintenance tasks on your computer to keep it at peak performance. Select your operating system below to learn more about performance and maintenance of your computer.
Windows 10 has built-in system maintenance and performance tasks. No action is needed.
Also, use the System File Checker to verify the system files and folders on your computer. To run System File Checker, click Start.
For Windows XP click Run... and then type sfc /scannow in the box provided and press Enter.
For Windows Vista and Windows 7, type sfc /scannow in the Start Search box in the Start menu and press Enter.
For Windows 8, type "maintenance" at the Start Screen, then select Perform recommended maintenance tasks automatically.
In many cases, lockups 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.
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.Note: When using safe mode, the video resolution will be 800 X 600 and may make your icons and text appear larger than normal. Additionally, your desktop background will not be present in this mode. These are normal behaviors and will not require troubleshooting to repair, as they will return to normal when you log back into regular mode.
To boot into safe mode, please follow the instructions below:
For instructions on booting into Safe Mode, refer to the relevant link for your operating system: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.
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 locking up or 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.
The use of multiple anti-virus software programs may cause your system to lockup. Anti-virus programs come pre-installed on most Dell Computers, so customers sometimes install other anti-virus programs without realizing that there is already one installed. If you decide to install an alternate anti-virus software, it is important that you first uninstall any other anti-virus programs that may be running on your computer.
Choose only one anti-virus program and reinstall it. It is not recommended to have more than one anti-virus software program installed on your computer. Multiple anti-spyware packages that do not have an AV component do not conflict and can remain on the computer.
Malware (virus, spyware, etc.) can 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, "Protect Your Computer or Remove Malware in Microsoft Windows"
For anything virus, malware and security related we recommend the content and videos on our Security and Antivirus page on the Dell Support Site.
If your computer will not wake from sleep or hibernate, visit Dell Knowledge Base Article, "Computer Does Not Wake Up or Resume from Suspend / Hibernate Mode".
Microsoft Windows contains a feature known as System Restore to roll back changes to the computer based on "restore points" that are commonly scheduled by Windows. 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:
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16 Feb 2021