You need your computer for just about everything these days. A lot of people use them to work and organise their lives, and after a long day at work, it’s nice to kick back and watch some TV shows or play some video games… on your laptop. Unfortunately, everyone knows that uniquely frustrating feeling when your computer freezes up with no explanation and you’re left restarting, potentially losing work in the process.
If your computer does this a lot, it’s probably experiencing an issue which requires attention. Most freezing problems stem from the same sources – it’s just a matter of finding out which one. Here’s a handy guide to five of the most common reasons why your computer is locking up.
A bad software apple
Your computer is constantly running software, whether it’s foreground applications you are using actively, or background processes – many of which you won’t even be aware of. Both Windows and Mac operating systems have applications built-in which allow you look at all your currently active processes. Pressing Ctrl-Shift-Delete in Windows opens the Task Manager, while the Activity Monitor in your Mac can be opened through the Finder, Spotlight Search or LaunchPad. Using this will let you see what apps are open and how much of your CPU and memory they are using.
If one application is always open when your computer freezes or is constantly using a high percentage of your CPU, it might be the root of the problem. Quitting, uninstalling or updating problematic apps could be the solution.
All the hardware in your computer, from your mouse to your motherboard, is paired with a small application which allows it to communicate with your operating system – otherwise, you can’t use it. These applications are called device drivers, and if you have an old or incorrect driver installed it could be the cause of your freezing issues. Drivers are supposed to update automatically, but you can make sure they are by running a software update or visiting the hardware manufactures website and downloading the device driver directly.
You can run a manual update through the Control Panel in Windows, or simply by using the drop-down menu from the apple icon in the top left-hand corner of your Mac OS.
It’s getting hot in here, so…
It gets awfully hot inside a computer. That’s why they have fans inside to blow out all the hot air and keep your hardware cool. If your fans malfunction, your system can overheat and cause everything to lock up.
Simply putting your hands over the vents on your computer tower or laptop can tell you whether the fan is working. If it is, you should feel a strong, steady stream of hot air coming out. If the vent is blocked, you can try cleaning it out with compressed air. If your computer is really hot to the touch and you can’t figure out why, it’s a good idea to check out computer or laptop repair options to find out what the problem is.
Heal your infected system
It’s no secret: there are malicious people out there trying to infect others’ computers with harmful viruses which can cause your system to slow down and freeze. Viruses are small applications or bits of code which are standalone or can attach themselves to standard applications to replicate and spread themselves, much like how real viruses hijack your body’s cells. Protecting your computer against viruses requires antivirus software, and many free and effective programs are available online.
If your computer already has a virus, let the professionals sort it out – use a virus cleaning service to fix things before implementing protection so it doesn’t happen again.
Get rid of the baggage and tune it all up
Just like a car requires regular tune-ups to get everything functioning correctly together, your computer could be going slow because it’s filled with junk or has too many applications constantly running in the background, draining resources. It could also be that you need hardware changes, like adding extra RAM, or the operating system has become corrupt. Uninstalling a bunch of unused applications, changing hardware or even wiping your hard disk and starting again can improve your performance, but requires a bit of know-how.
For the non-experts, a computer upgrade service will check everything for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.
How do you figure out which problem is yours?
While some people can fix their cars themselves, most people must take theirs to a mechanic to ensure that repairs are done safely and correctly. Your computer is the same. Leave it up to the experts – that’s us here at Geeks on Wheels – to identify and fix your problem quickly, without costing you an arm and a leg. Contact us to find out more and leave the frustration of a frozen computer behind today.