Why do Windows programs stop responding

Microsoft WindowsA computer, operating system, software program or driver may stop responding or cause other programs to stop responding because of several possible reasons, such as a confliction of software or hardware resources between two programs, lack of system resources, or a bug in the software or drivers.

To recover from a program that has stopped responding, press the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys on his or her keyboards to open the "Close Program" or "Task Manager" window, highlight the program, and click the "End Task" button to terminate the program. If another window opens, click the "End Task" button again to confirm stopping that program.

Note: It is important to realize that when a program stops responding any work that has not been saved will be lost when end tasking a program.

If you continue to experience programs locking the computer or stop responding we recommend you review our General Troubleshooting page for recommendations on steps that can be performed to help stop this issue from occurring.

Additional information

  • See our End Task and Task Manager definitions for further information and related links on this term.