Random hangs are often due to damage to the Windows configuration, faulty hardware, or malware. However, because this behavior is random, it can be especially difficult to identify the proper cause. Please review the steps below to help identify the cause and determine the next course of action:
If the system is hanging randomly, it could be caused by damaged system files, software compatibility, or damaged registry files. Try each of the following steps to check if the hang is caused by one of these possibilities.
Damaged system files
Corrupt system files can cause Windows Explorer to stop responding. You can repair corrupted system files by running the System Update Readiness tool, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool, or the System File Checker (SFC).For Windows 7
, we recommend first running the System Update Readiness tool by following the steps listed in the Knowledge Base article: 947821
Fix Windows corruption errors by using the DISM or System Update Readiness toolFor Windows 8 and Windows 8.1
, we recommend first running the Dism.exe command by following the steps listed in the Knowledge Base article: 947821
Fix Windows corruption errors by using the DISM or System Update Readiness tool
If those steps fail to resolve the problem, try running the System File Checker on Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 by following the steps in the Knowledge Base article:929833
Use the System File Checker tool to repair missing or corrupted system files
Even if damaged Windows system files are discovered using these procedures, you should also try the steps listed below under "Due to Hardware Issues". Faulty hardware could be the reason that Windows system files were improperly written to disk, or decayed over time.
Application compatibility or other software problem
If you have recently installed an app or driver and find that Windows is now hanging randomly, try removing the recently installed software. If you have a restore point saved before you installed the software, try running System Restore to return the system to a working state:Windows 7
:System RestoreWindows 8 or Windows 8.1
: How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC
If you could not uninstall the program or driver via System Restore, you may be able to identify the faulty software by performing the clean boot troubleshooting steps listed in the following Knowledge Base article:929135
How to perform a clean boot in Windows
Damaged Registry configuration
Registry cleaning tools can damage the Windows registry and cause a range of symptoms include random system hangs. For more information, please see the following Knowledge Base:2563254
Microsoft support policy for the use of registry cleaning utilities
If the registry becomes damaged, it is recommended that you restore Windows to a working state using either System Restore, or Refresh. In the event that these tools do not resolve the issue, you may need to reinstall Windows.
Windows 7: System Restore
Windows 8 or Windows 8.1: How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC
To Reinstall Windows 8 or Windows 8.1: How to perform a clean installation of Windows
runs while starting Windows, it could be a sign of a hard disk failure. For more information, see the following Knowledge Base article:2854570
Check disk (Chkdsk) runs when you start Windows 8 or Windows 7
Please note that Chkdsk
can take a very long time to run. On large hard drives, it can even take a day or more.
finds and fixes a problem, this may be a sign that the drive is failing. If so, you may continue to experience problems in the future. If problems are repeatedly found or can't be fixed, consider replacing the hard drive. Contact your PC manufacturer for assistance, if needed.
Random hangs can also be caused by other faulty hardware. Consult with your PC manufacturer to run available hardware diagnostics. This could include:
- PC diagnostics that test the integrity of the core PC devices, such as the processor fans and cooling system
- Video and display diagnostics
- Additional hard drive diagnostics
If any of these diagnostic tests show a problem, follow up with your PC manufacturer.
Malicious software may also cause random hangs and other performance problems in Windows. See this article for information about finding and removing viruses: How do I find and remove a virus?
It is also recommended that you run one or more online detection tools from reputable antivirus software providers if you suspect a malware infection. One such example is the Microsoft Safety Scanner
Antivirus software can sometimes contribute to performance problems in Windows. This is particularly common if your antivirus software is out of date, or if you are running more than one antivirus software on your PC at the same time. If you have multiple antivirus solutions installed, uninstall all but one. Check for and install updates for your antivirus software. For more information, see these articles:How do I uninstall antivirus or antispyware programs?What to do if your antivirus software stops working