What should I do when a computer freezes?

Frozen computer hard driveThis document contains recommendations on what to do if the computer freezes or dead locks. If your computer has stopped responding follow the steps below in attempting to get the computer to unfreeze.

Tip: If you are concerned about an important document that hasn't been saved the program you are using may have an Autosave feature, and you may be able to recover a recent version of the document after rebooting.

Give the computer some time

Wait. Give the computer a few minutes to process, sometimes a computer may appear to be froze but is really just slow or busy processing a complex task.

Is the computer dead locked?

Computer keyboard num lock LEDSee if the computer is able to respond to anything by pressing the Caps Lock key on the keyboard and watching the Caps Lock led (light) to see if it able to turn off and on. If the computer is able to turn on and off Caps Lock, continue to the next step. If nothing happens, the computer is dead locked, and you must reboot the computer.

End Task the not responding program

If the Caps Lock can turn off and on Windows is still working, but another program may not be responding and causing the computer to freeze. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to open the Windows Task Manager. If the Task Manager is able to open highlight the program not responding and choose End Task, which should unfreeze the computer.

Reboot a frozen computer

If none of the above steps helped, you must reboot the computer. To reboot a frozen computer press and hold down the power button until the computer turns off. Once the computer is off, wait a few seconds and then turn the computer back on and let it start as normal.

Additional information