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Common Reasons Why Your Computer May Be Freezing

Computers freezing or locking up is a common complaint for many people, typically meaning that you have to wait for your webpage or the program you’re using to respond before you can move on with the task at hand.

This can be down to a number of reasons, some may be due to software and some could be due to hardware.

Old or Slow Hard Drive

One common cause of unexplained pauses is that the hard drive is tied up with other activities. Windows has a lot of processes running all the time and only a few of them might be directly related to the task you’re performing. These processes include a lot of administrative processes like writing log files, keeping track of processes like printing, and making sure there’s no unauthorised access to your files.

A lot of computers out there are still running an older style of hard drive known as spindle drives. These drives have served us well for a long time now but they’ve always been a speed bottle neck in the computer, as they have moving parts that slow down over time.

What might be happening is that your click on a web link or button to reply to an email is queued up behind one of these other tasks, and the hard drive is not handling all the tasks as fast as it used to.

A good friend of mine used the supermarket checkout analogy to explain this, where you might only have a litre of milk and a carton of eggs in your basket but you’re behind someone with 2 full trollies buying up big for a 3 day feast with 15 hungry friends. This is ‘First In, First Out’ or FIFO, and until those trolleys are priced and bagged you’re not going anywhere. Best thing you can do in this situation is make the checkout attendant run 10 times faster so you can clear that job in front and get home cause it’s cold out  get on with your web browsing or email.

That’s where Solid State Drives, or SSDs come in. SSDs can be 10 times faster than spindle drives, and that’s not really taking the age of the drive into account. With SSD’s the ‘First In’ is ‘First Out’ before there’s even a queue. 

The good news is that Channel Tech Support can swap out a spindle drive for an SSD without having to replace the whole computer, or even having to reinstall Windows, meaning that all your files and shortcuts/bookmarks will be in the same spot but quicker to respond. The cost of SSD’s have come down considerably over the last few years and it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to give your existing computer a speed boost and as a result more time to get on with what you want to do.

Software: Startup Programs

Another factor that could be impacting your computer can be software. A lot of programs set themselves to start with Windows these days, so they’re running all the time even if you don’t use them often, or ever. These can be programs legitimate programs like Skype and Zoom that you may have installed for a video chat with family or friends but don’t exactly use every day. It could also be manufacturer preinstalled programs often referred to as ‘bloatware’, or there might be more malicious programs that offer to speed up your computer or backup files that don’t deliver on those promises. If a program is in start-up then even when you reboot for a clean start these will start back up again. Best practice for computer performance and security is to remove them from start-up and even uninstall the programs you’re not using. 

Channel Tech Support can help out with a computer clean up and make sure that you’re not waiting in line behind programs that don’t need to be running in the first place.

Windows Updates

One more thing that can cause computer slowness is Windows updates. With Windows 10, updates are run automatically and without much in the way of notification. These updates are important for security and functionality and should always be installed, but one thing that can happen is that power settings may be set to put the computer to sleep a little too fast and updates might not be completing properly, as a result the process goes on for days and days. It’s one thing we’ll always check on if your computer is running poorly and it can be good to make sure that the process completes before the computer is shutdown or goes to sleep. It can help to change the sleep settings to a slightly longer time frame or even just monitoring the process for a short time.

These are just a few of the things that can contribute to poor performance of a computer. If you’re dealing with your computer freezing in Hobart or Kingston, or just want to know more about possible causes, free to call Channel Tech Support on 03 6231 0499 or email contact@channeltechsupport.com.au