Nobody likes to see when their computer suddenly becomes non-responsive. Even if you don’t lose all your working progress, waiting for an app you have opened to become responsive can be frustrating and can pretty much reduce productivity. Worst of all, the computer always seems to randomly freeze whenever we are in a hurry and need to do something quickly.
The problem with situations like this is that the PC doesn’t show any error messages or display a blue error screen of death (BSOD). It simply “tells” you to wait until it recovers or until you press the PC reset button. There are a few common reasons why this happens. In the following text we will see what are those reasons, and is there any solution to fix them.
1. Lack of system resources
One of the main reasons why Windows 10 becomes unresponsive and why it gets “stuck” is the lack of computer resources. The two components that often cause performance bottlenecks are RAM (memory) and CPU. Your computer saves everything you do in RAM. It also stores there all data from active applications. If this data takes up all the memory, the computer starts writing the new data as a “page” file to a hard disk. This new file thus starts acting as RAM. However, this often causes downtimes and the computer finally gets “stuck”. If you have an SSD and good (newer) components, then you will be less likely to get into these situations. But if you have an HDD, then you know what we’re talking about.
The same thing is with the CPU. When it runs at 80-90 or more percent of usage, it’s only a matter of seconds before the computer jams. There is no solution here. You can only increase the RAM, but you cannot “increase” the CPU. If you start experiencing system hiccups more often, you’ll eventually have to replace your CPU with a newer and faster one, but this can be a relatively expensive upgrade.
2. Hardware incompatibilities
If a piece of your hardware is not fully compatible with the version of the Windows operating system you are using, you may experience operating system stability issues. Hardware problems typically cause Windows to crash and display blue screen of death because the operating system has no other option. An error can occur and the OS doesn’t know to react to it. However, sometimes, if Windows doesn’t crash, the computer can just become non-responsive, i.e. “freezes”. When this situation occurs, try to remember if you have installed any new piece of hardware into the computer recently. It can be a printer, mouse, keyboard, USB stick or some other external device. If so, try to remove it and see what happens. Also, if you have a device that is very old, try replacing it with a newer one and see if the computer will keep freezing or not. We know it’s not cheap, at least not always, but sometimes it’s the only solution.
3. Problems with drivers
Even if your incompatible hardware isn’t causing big problems right now, it could be its bad drivers. In case you didn’t know, a driver is a small piece of software that enables communication between your software and hardware, that is, provides an interface for Windows so that it could manage your hardware properly. Generic Microsoft drivers can also be used for basic devices such as mice and keyboards. The problem comes with more expensive peripherals that require their own specific drivers. Now, if you are installing old drivers or some which are incompatible with the version of the Windows OS you are currently using, a problem may occur. A general rule is “do not touch while everything is working well”. If it doesn’t work, then reinstall the drivers and see what you can do with them.
4. Problems with the Windows Registry
The Registry is a database where Windows stores a bunch of information it needs to work properly. Mostly it is information related to the system and various software configurations. When you install or remove an application, edit or change computer settings, all of that information is eventually stored into the Windows Registry. Most of the time, the Registry works quite good and you don’t have to touch it. We recommend that you avoid all those applications that clean your computer, and enable you to “clean” the Registry. At best, such tools are useless, and at worst – they can be dangerous.
If your computer reports errors or freezes due to the Registry, there is very likely no cure for it. That is, there is – reinstallation of the OS. Sometimes it happens by accident (something is accidentally deleted or the data is corrupted), sometimes the “cleaners” of the Registry delete something wrong, and sometimes the malware destroys the Registry because it was its intention.
5. Malware of any kind
Malware is an umbrella term that covers viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, all types and forms of malicious injections, as well as anything that can harm your operating system. Malicious code on your computer can be the reason why your computer freezes and programs become unresponsive. The problem is that malware and various rootkits can take a lot of computer resources, which then leave you with a small amount of system power for completing your tasks. That is why it is extremely important that you scan your computer every now and then and see if you have any malware or other “parasites” on your computer and that you remove them as soon as possible. Malwarebytes (free) is a great choice if you ask us.
6. Launching multiple AV applications simultaneously
Windows 10 comes with a relatively good antivirus software called “Windows Defender”. It is an AV program that is good enough for most users. It’s not the best, but it’s not bad, and it’s free. However, there are those who still want a little better protection, so they install an additional AV program, which can result in performance problems. If you have two of these programs that scan your computer, there can often be a conflict, which can lead to the computer freezing or sometimes resetting the system due to an error. Therefore, we recommend the use of “scan on-demand” applications. Don’t have more applications like this running in the background and let them constantly scan your computer in “real time”.
7. Application errors
Sometimes bad software can cause us problems. It could be an old app that isn’t fully compatible with the Windows we use, and it could be a resource-hungry Chrome extension. You may notice that your computer is always unresponsive when you have a particular application turned on. If this happens to you in Chrome, try disabling all extensions and see if this fixes the problem. If that doesn’t happen to you anymore, then it’s because of the extension. The same thing is with the other software you use. Try narrowing the selection to a couple of apps and then updating them to the latest versions. If that doesn’t help either, maybe it’s time to take some alternative program. If, for example, VLC creates a problem for you, you can always replace it with, say, MPC-HC or a similar application.
There is a good chance that your computer will freeze (a.k.a. become unresponsive) for one of the reasons we’ve mentioned above. Most of these problems have to be solved one way or another. You are neither the first nor the last to have these problems. Is it frustrating? Yes, but that’s another reason to try to solve this problem. Once you solve it, you will use the computer again without any problems and you will not think about whether it will freeze or not. In the worst case, you can always reset Windows 10 to factory settings and “start over.”