Article ID: 2681286 - View products that this article applies to.
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Summary

When your computer hangs, or freezes, it's disruptive and can slow you down. There are a few reasons your computer might hang, freeze or crash. Try the following common methods as your first step to fix the problem. If the methods in this article do not help, perform a search to get more help from Microsoft Support or Microsoft Community by using a more specific description to your problem.

Resolution

Select your operating system for the appropriate steps.

Windows 8.1 or Windows 8

My computer hangs or freezes at the Starting Windows screen

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Troubleshooting startup problems can be difficult because every PC is set up differently. Drivers, conflicts with other programs, malware, and memory can all cause startup problems. Startup repair can detect and fix problems that prevent your PC from starting.

Startup repair should automatically start on its own and try to fix the problem. If Startup Repair doesn't start on its own, here's how to open the System Recovery Options menu:
If you can start Windows
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  1. Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer; swipe from the right or press the Windows logo+C to open the Charms bar. Next, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Change PC Settings.
  2. Tap or click Update or recovery, and then select Recovery. Under Advanced startup, tap or click the Restart now button.
    Note If you are using Windows 8, select General. Under Advanced startup, tap or click the Restart now button.
  3. After your computer restarts, the "Choose an option" screen will appear. 
    Note If your computer has more than one operating system, use the arrow keys to highlight the operating system you want to repair, and then the "Choose an option" screen will appear.
  4. On the "Choose an option" screen, tap or click Troubleshoot, Advanced options, and then Automatic Repair.
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If you can't start Windows
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Note To complete these steps, you must have a Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista installation disc. If you do not have a disc, please contact your computer manufacturer or Microsoft Support to obtain one.
  1. Insert the Windows installation disc into the disc drive, and then start the computer.
  2. Press a key when the message Press any key to boot from CD or DVD appears.
    If your PC does not detect the media automatically
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    1. During the restart process, read the screen for any instructions that explain how to interrupt normal startup and enter the basic input/output system (BIOS) setup utility. Most PCs use the F2, F10, ESC, or DEL key to begin the BIOS Setup.
    2. Look for a tab in the BIOS Setup Utility that is labeled Boot Order, Boot Options, or Boot. Following the directions on the screen, use the arrow keys to go to the Boot Order, then press Enter.
    3. Locate the CD, DVD, or USB flash drive (this might be called Removable Device) in the Boot list. Following the directions on the screen, use the arrow keys to move the drive up so that it appears first in the Boot list. Press Enter. The boot order sequence is now changed to boot from the CD, DVD, or USB flash drive.
    4. Press F10 to save your changes and to exit the BIOS Setup Utility. Select Yes in the confirmation window. The PC will restart. Allow the PC to restart normally.
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  3. Select a language, a time and a currency, a keyboard or input method, and then click Next.
  4. Click Repair your computer.
  5. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, select the drive of your Windows installation, and then click Next.
  6. At the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Repair your computer.
  7. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
  8. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Startup Repair.
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If repairs aren't successful, you'll see a summary of the problems and links to contact support.
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My computer hangs or freezes randomly

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If you notice your PC slowing down or freezing you can update the drivers to improve performance.
  1. Swipe from the right or press the Windows + C key. Tap or click the Search charm, and then type Windows Update.
  2. Tap or click Settings, and then select Install optional updates.
  3. When the Windows Update control panel opens, click Check for Updates on the top left corner to receive a list of available updates for your PC.
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My computer hangs or freezes when browsing in Internet Explorer

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You can automatically diagnose and repair problems that make your browsing slow.
Automatically diagnose and repair problems that make Internet Explorer freeze or crash, by running the following Microsoft Fix it:

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The Fix Internet Explorer issues to make IE fast, safe and stable troubleshooter may automatically fix the problem described in this article.
This troubleshooter fixes many problems.learn morerun now
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Notes for Microsoft Fix it
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  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

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My computer hangs or freezes when it installs updates

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If your computer hangs when it installs updates, an automatic troubleshooter is available that can diagnose and repair the problem.

Automatically diagnose and repair problems with Windows Update, by running the following Microsoft Fix it:

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assets mats1
The Windows Update troubleshooter troubleshooter may automatically fix the problem described in this article.
This troubleshooter fixes many problems.learn morerun now
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Notes for Microsoft Fix it
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  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.
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Can a virus make my computer hang or freeze?

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When your computer hangs it doesn't mean you have a virus, but viruses can cause performance issues that can make your computer to freeze or crash. To check for viruses, run the Microsoft Safety Scanner.
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Windows 7

My computer hangs or freezes at the Starting Windows screen

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Troubleshooting startup problems can be difficult because every PC is set up differently. Drivers, conflicts with other programs, malware, and memory can all cause startup problems. Startup repair can detect and fix problems that prevent your PC from starting.

Startup repair should automatically start on its own and try to fix the problem. If Startup Repair doesn't start on its own, here's how to open the System Recovery Options menu: 
  1. Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer, and then restart your computer by using the computer's power button.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • If your computer has a single operating system, press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts. You need to press F8 before the Windows logo appears. If the Windows logo appears, you need to try again by waiting until the Windows logon prompt appears, and then shutting down and restarting your computer.
    • If your computer has more than one operating system, use the arrow keys to highlight the operating system you want to repair, and then press and hold F8.
  3. On the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight Repair your computer, and then press Enter. (If Repair your computer isn't listed as an option, then your computer doesn't include preinstalled recovery options or you network administrator has turned them off.)
  4. Select a keyboard layout, and then click Next.
  5. On the System Recovery Options menu, click Startup Repair.
If repairs aren't successful, you'll see a summary of the problems and links to contact support. 
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My computer hangs or freezes randomly

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If you notice your PC slowing down or freezing you can automatically diagnose and repair problems that slow you down.
Automatically speed up your PC by running the following Microsoft Fix it:

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assets mats1
The Fix Windows system performance problems on slow Windows computers troubleshooter may automatically fix the problem described in this article.
This troubleshooter fixes many problems.learn morerun now
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Notes for Microsoft Fix it
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  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

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assets folding end collapsed
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My computer hangs or freezes when browsing in Internet Explorer

Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed
You can automatically diagnose and repair problems that make your browsing slow.
Automatically diagnose and repair problems that make Internet Explorer freeze or crash, by running the following Microsoft Fix it:

Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets mats1
The Fix Internet Explorer issues to make IE fast, safe and stable troubleshooter may automatically fix the problem described in this article.
This troubleshooter fixes many problems.learn morerun now
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets mats2

Notes for Microsoft Fix it
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding end collapsed
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assets folding end collapsed

My computer hangs or freezes when it installs updates

Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed
If your computer hangs when it installs updates, an automatic troubleshooter is available that can diagnose and repair the problem.

Automatically diagnose and repair problems with Windows Update, by running the following Microsoft Fix it:

Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets mats1
The Microsoft Windows Update that is not working troubleshooter may automatically fix the problem described in this article.
This troubleshooter fixes many problems.learn morerun now
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets mats2

Notes for Microsoft Fix it
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

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assets folding end collapsed
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Can a virus make my computer hang or freeze?

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When your computer hangs it doesn't mean you have a virus, but viruses can cause performance issues that can make your computer to freeze or crash. To check for viruses, run the Microsoft Safety Scanner.
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Properties

Article ID: 2681286 - Last Review: November 29, 2013 - Revision: 11.0
Applies to
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows RT
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
Keywords: 
KB2681286

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