How do I fix my laptop not responding?

A laptop not responding or freezing up can be incredibly frustrating. When you need to get work done or access important files, system crashes and lockups can bring your productivity to a screeching halt.

The good news is, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take to get your laptop back up and running smoothly again. With some simple fixes, you can often resolve performance issues and unresponsive programs on your own without needing to take your computer to a repair shop.

Determine If It’s a Software or Hardware Problem

The first step in troubleshooting an unresponsive laptop is to try to identify whether the issue is being caused by a software or hardware problem. This will help guide you towards the right solution.

Software Issues

Most laptop performance and freezing issues can be attributed to some type of software problem. Some examples include:

  • Buggy app or program
  • Corrupted system files
  • Too many programs running
  • Outdated drivers
  • Virus or malware infection

If you suspect a software issue is the culprit, you’ll want to try things like closing background apps, updating drivers, running antivirus scans, or repairing system files.

Hardware Issues

While less common, sometimes laptop problems can be caused by failing hardware components. Potential culprits include:

  • Overheating CPU or GPU
  • Failing hard drive
  • Faulty memory module
  • Loose internal cables

Hardware issues will generally require component replacement or professional repair to fix. But often signs of overheating or a degraded hard drive will point to a hardware fault.

Troubleshoot Basic Software Issues

Before you conclude that your laptop woes stem from a hardware failure, there are a number of basic software troubleshooting steps you should take first:

Restart Your Computer

One quick fix that can clear up many laptop issues is simply restarting your computer. This clears out any memory leaks, ends unresponsive processes, and resets your laptop’s state. Always try restarting before proceeding with more advanced troubleshooting methods.

Check for Overheating Issues

Laptops that run too hot can experience all sorts of performance issues and lockups. Check for overheating problems by monitoring your CPU and GPU temperatures with a system utility. Also inspect fans, vents, and airflow paths for blockages and clean out any dust buildup.

Update Your Drivers

Outdated drivers are a common source of computer crashes and instability. Always keep your network adapter, GPU, chipset, and other key drivers updated to the latest versions offered by your device manufacturers. Updated drivers frequently fix bugs and performance issues.

Scan for Malware

Viruses, spyware, and other malware can wreak havoc on system stability. Run full antivirus scans to check for and remove any malicious programs. Also scan with dedicated anti-malware tools like Malwarebytes.

Check Task Manager

Open up Windows Task Manager and review what programs and processes are running on your computer. End any unnecessary or suspicious background tasks that could be hogging resources and slowing down your system.

Uninstall Problematic Apps

If a particular application always seems to freeze or crash your computer, try uninstalling and reinstalling it. This can fix corrupt program files. As an alternative, switch to an alternate app and see if problems persist.

Update Windows

Make sure Windows is up to date by running Windows Update. Microsoft constantly releases patches to fix bugs, vulnerabilities, and performance issues.

Disable Startup Programs

Too many programs starting up when you boot your laptop can lead to sluggish performance. Disable unnecessary apps from automatically starting in Task Manager’s Startup tab.

Try Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques

If you’ve tried all the basic software troubleshooting steps and your laptop still freezes regularly, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques.

Boot Into Safe Mode

Boot your laptop into Windows Safe Mode, which loads only the bare essential drivers and services. If issues disappear in Safe Mode, it indicates a problem app or startup program.

Check System File Integrity

Corrupted Windows system files can cause freezing and crashes. Run the System File Checker tool to scan for and restore corrupted files.

Clean Install Windows

As a last resort, you can reinstall Windows from scratch to wipe out any lingering software issues. Make sure to fully backup your data first.

Test and Replace Hardware

If you still have problems after exhausting all software fixes, it’s time to start testing hardware components. Replace any parts that fail diagnostic tests or exhibit obvious performance issues.

Best Practices to Avoid Freezes

Implementing the following ongoing laptop maintenance practices can help minimize system crashes and keep your computer running fast:

  • Close unused browser tabs and apps
  • Disable startup programs
  • Keep drivers, Windows, and software updated
  • Regularly scan for malware
  • Clean out dust buildup
  • Don’t overload on resource-intensive programs
  • Allow proper airflow around laptop

When to Take Your Laptop to a Repair Shop

If you’ve exhausted all troubleshooting steps and your laptop still experiences major performance issues, freezing, or unresponsive behavior, it’s probably time to take it to a repair shop. A computer technician has specialized tools and parts to diagnose hardware faults and make fixes you can’t do at home.

Some signs it’s time for professional laptop repair include:

  • Hard drive completely failed
  • Need to solder motherboard components
  • Excessive overheating
  • Major component like RAM slot damaged
  • System randomly powers off
  • You spilled liquid on laptop

Most computer repair shops can recover data, test components, replace damaged parts, and get your laptop running good as new. Look for an experienced and trusted shop with solid customer reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my laptop keep freezing?

Common causes for laptop freezes include outdated drivers, malware infections, overheating, too many resource-intensive programs running, buggy software and operating system issues. Try troubleshooting by updating drivers, cleaning out vents, closing apps, scanning for malware and repairing system files.

How do I stop my laptop from freezing all the time?

To prevent laptop freezes, keep your drivers, Windows and software up to date, allow proper ventilation, don’t overload your system resources, clean the inside periodically, scan for malware, disable unnecessary startup apps and regularly restart your computer.

Why does my laptop keep freezing then crashing?

Frequent freezing followed by crashing often indicates a major software problem like corrupt system files or a misbehaving app. Try troubleshooting in Safe Mode, running a system file checker scan and checking for malware infections. If it continues, a clean reinstall of Windows may be needed.

Why does my laptop randomly freeze while gaming?

Gaming laptops are prone to freezing from overheating components, game crashes, insufficient resources and driver issues. Improve airflow, reduce game settings, update GPU drivers, close other apps and check for overheating to fix random gaming freezes.

Why does my Toshiba laptop keep freezing?

Common causes for a Toshiba laptop freezing include outdated, incompatible or corrupt drivers, malware attacks, hard drive failure, overheating components like the CPU or GPU, too many apps hogging RAM and buggy system file errors.

How do I reboot my laptop when frozen?

If your laptop is completely frozen, you can force a reboot by holding down the power button for 10-15 seconds until the computer turns off. Wait a minute or two, then turn it back on. This will forcibly power cycle the frozen system.

Why does my brand new laptop keep freezing?

Freezing issues on a new laptop are often caused by faulty drivers, incompatible apps, bloatware installed by manufacturer or malware contracted on initial use. Try updating drivers, uninstalling unnecessary apps, performing clean Windows reinstall and running thorough antivirus scans.

Why does my laptop randomly restart when freezing?

If a laptop freezes then randomly reboots, it’s likely due to overheating components or hardware instability. Check CPU and GPU temperatures, reapply thermal paste, update BIOS and drivers, test hardware with diagnostics and scan for malware causing high usage.

Why does my ASUS laptop keep freezing?

ASUS laptops commonly freeze due to wireless card problems, GPU issues, overheating from air flow blockages, buggy pre-installed software, incompatible drivers and OS corruption. ASUS also may require BIOS updates to fix stability bugs.


Laptop freezes and unresponsive behavior can stem from many root causes. But don’t panic – in most cases, you can troubleshoot the issue yourself with some guided trial and error using the software and hardware diagnostic tips covered here. Getting to the bottom of the problem just takes some patience and slowly eliminating possible culprits one by one.

With the right approach, you can get your laptop’s performance and stability back on track without needing expensive repairs. Just be sure to backup your critical data first when troubleshooting in case any fixes end up requiring reinstalling Windows.

If you’ve tried every troubleshooting step to no avail, then it’s time to seek out professional computer repair assistance. The right technician has the skills and experience to get even severely misbehaving laptops up and running again.