Freezing - Time To Warm Up Your PC

Freezing is also known as crashing or hanging. It's frustrating. The computer locks up and the mouse and keyboard do not respond. You may lose data and you certainly lose time and patience. Typically, you need to press Ctrl+Alt+Del to see the programs that are running and to try to close the program that is not responding, or you need to force a restart. So why does your computer freeze up?

Common causes of freezing:

  • Low memory

  • Low disk space

  • Fragmented disk

  • Too many programs open simultaneously

  • Low CPU speed

  • Corrupt files

  • Software bugs

  • Overheating - random lockups that start several minutes after you start up the PC are often the result of the processor cooling fan not working properly

  • Some non-standard applications are suspect with freezing problems

  • Memory chip problems

  • Virus infection

Steps you can take to minimize freezing:

There are many things that you can do to help your computer do what you want without testing your patience...

  • Do a disk cleanup (cache, temp files, old or unused files, recycle bin) .. click here for instructions.

  • Do not run any more applications at one time than you need to.

  • If the freezing happens consistently with one application, uninstall and reinstall it - files associated with the application may have become corrupted. Always use Control Panel/ Add Remove programs, or the uninstall program belonging to the program to uninstall a program.

  • If the freezing has been occurring since you installed a new program, uninstall it.

  • Uninstall any programs that you may have downloaded and installed in the past, but no longer use.

  • Get the latest Windows update at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

  • Get any available patches for your software - go to the manufacturer's websites to check for patches or updates to your programs.

  • Free up resources - click on Run and type "msconfig" in the dialog box. Next, click on the "Startup" tab. All the programs listed here with check marks are running in the system memory. To free resources Windows 98 users may uncheck everything except "System Tray" . Windows ME users can uncheck everything except ScanRegistry, PCHealth, *StateMgr and System Tray. Leave your anti-virus software in the startup as well. You must restart the computer for these changes to take effect.

  • Run ScanDisk (or Check Disk in Windows XP)

  • Defragment your disk. Click here for instructions.

  • If you have an older computer and are trying to run multiple applications, you may need to upgrade your computer... check the system specifications recommended for the applications you are running to see if your system is capable of doing what you are asking.

  • Obtain the latest drivers for your hardware - go to the web sites of the hardware manufacturers and get the latest drivers for your video card, sound card etc

  • Redetect your devices - remove the components from the Control Panel, System, Device Management screen. Reboot the system and let Windows redetect and add only those devices which are actually on your system.

  • Make sure that you have anti-virus software installed. Set it to automatically update virus definitions, to scan all incoming files, and to do a full system check at regular intervals.

Disk Cleanup :

For Windows 98 & 2000

You have probably been downloading programs, creating and deleting files, and installing new software without thinking about the effect this has on your disk space. It's probably time to have a clean-up. Windows 98 and 2000 have a feature that cleans up your disks for you. It removes temporary files, the recycle bin and other files - giving you the option to delete or not to delete. It is simple to run.

Do this clean-up as follows:

Start: Programs: Accessories: System Tools: Disk Clean Up

When it opens up, select the C: Drive and start it. It will pop up and show you about four types of files, each with a check box. Check the boxes for files you would like deleted and proceed. It should run through pretty quickly and then you will have more space on your computer.

For Win 95

Windows Temporary Files

Firstly, get rid of your Windows Temporary files.

Go to Start> Find> Files & Folders. Then search for "*.tmp" (minus the quotes). The * allows you to look for any file that has a temporary file type. If you have done it right, only files that have a .tmp after them should appear in the search results. Now just click on the first one, hold shift, use the scroll bar to go all the way to the bottom, then click on the last one, and press delete.

Secondly, get rid of your Temporary Internet files

Go to the Temporary Internet Files folder in the Windows directory. It should be next to the Temp folder. There shouldn't be anything in here that can't be deleted, so you can go ahead and delete the files in this folder.

Thirdly, empty your recycle bin. Right click on the Recycle Bin icon, select Empty Recycle Bin. Many people have hundreds of files they "deleted" but they are still taking up space in the Recycle Bin.

Run the Disk Defragmenter

Editing and deleting files as you work leaves gaps on data storage media. Instead of each file being stored in one continuous block, it ends up in several locations, resulting in inefficient retrieval of your data. As you add more data to your hard drive, the gaps left by previous deletions are filled. Your file becomes split, or fragmented. This will slow down your system ? when you try to retrieve a file, the process is slower than if it was stored in one block. To make your disk storage more efficient, a process called "defragmenting" is used.

Windows has a built in defragmenter, which is located at:

Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter

It is a good idea to run this program once a month. When you run the defragmenter, close all programs including your screensaver. If programs are running it can cause data on your hard drive to be changed which makes the defragmenter start from the beginning... and never finish!

The more frequently you use defrag, the faster it will become.

About The Author

Deborah Anderson is a computer consultant who offers free email based computer troubleshooting through her website at http://www.it-solve.com. To benefit from information, advice and tips on using your computer, get a free subscription to SolveIT's newsletter today. To subscribe, send a blank email to [email protected].

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