Why does my computer freeze when I wake it up?

It can be frustrating when you wake your computer up from sleep mode, only to have it freeze or be unresponsive. There are a few potential causes for this common problem. In this article, we’ll explore the most likely reasons your computer freezes after waking and provide some troubleshooting tips to help get your PC running smoothly again.

Common Causes

There are a few main culprits that tend to be behind frozen wake-up screens:

  • Outdated drivers
  • Software conflicts
  • Hard drive errors
  • Too many startup programs
  • Heat issues
  • Fast Startup problems

Outdated Drivers

One of the most common reasons for a frozen wake-up screen is having outdated drivers on your computer. Device drivers are software programs that allow your operating system to communicate with hardware components like your video card, network adapter, printer, etc.

Over time, bugs and incompatibilities can develop with drivers, and computer and hardware makers release updated driver versions to fix these issues. If you haven’t updated your drivers in a while, they may have problems interacting properly when waking from sleep and cause your computer to hang.

Software Conflicts

Sometimes two or more programs on your computer conflict with each other in a way that only manifests when waking from sleep. This can stem from several issues like:

  • Two apps trying to access the same system resources
  • One program making changes that inadvertently breaks another
  • Security software blocking actions from another app

When your computer enters sleep, it saves its current state to disk and performs a fresh restart when waking up. This can reveal software clashes that don’t occur during normal uptime.

Hard Drive Errors

Over time, errors can develop on your hard drive due to bad sectors, corruption, or physical damage. Your computer stores its sleep image file on the hard drive, so if this image file becomes corrupted or is unable to be accessed properly, it may cause freezing when trying to resume from sleep.

Hard drive problems like imminent failure can also lead to sleep/wake bugs, as the drive may struggle to save and retrieve sleep image files reliably.

Too Many Startup Programs

Having too many programs configured to auto-start when your computer boots or resumes from sleep can overload your system resources and cause lock ups. This problem tends to worsen over time as more applications get installed and set themselves to run at startup.

Too many autostarting programs can choke bandwidth, take up RAM that other apps need, and create software clashes resulting in a frozen wake state.

Heat Issues

Excess heat can definitely cause stability problems and system hangs. When entering sleep, your computer remains lightly powered and will continue dissipating some heat.

If your laptop or PC is already running hot before sleeping, or if air flow is blocked during sleep, components may heat up to the extent that functionality is impacted when trying to resume operation. Thermal shutdown protection can kick in and freeze your system on wake up before any damage occurs.

Fast Startup Problems

Windows 10 has a feature called Fast Startup that stores your computer’s state to disk on shutdown, then uses this disk image to resume quickly when powered back on. If this feature malfunctions, it can sometimes cause freezing when waking from sleep or starting up.

Troubleshooting Steps

If your computer frequently hangs when waking from sleep, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to identify and fix the underlying issue:

Check for Updates

As a first step, check for operating system, driver, and firmware updates which may resolve software bugs contributing to your computer hanging on wake.

Manually update any critical drivers like your chipset, video card, storage controllers, etc. Updating BIOS/UEFI firmware can also help resolve potential sleep/wake issues.

Look for Conflicts

Review your startup items and scheduled tasks to pare down unnecessary programs loading at boot time. Also check for conflicts with security tools, remote monitoring/management utilities, and known problematic software that could be interfering with sleep.

Use a tool like Autoruns to analyze everything set to run automatically on your system. Disable or remove problem apps and services one by one until you isolate any conflicts.

Scan Hardware

Run diagnostics to check for potential hardware faults like bad RAM, failing hard drives, and other defective components which can impede entering/resuming from sleep properly.

Test your memory using Window’s Memory Diagnostic tool. Check hard drives using CHKDSK and hard drive maker utilities like SeaTools or Data Lifeguard. Monitor system temperatures to ensure adequate cooling.

Analyze Sleep Performance

Use command line tools like “powercfg /sleepstudy” to generate a report of your system’s recent sleep sessions, highlighting any errors, long delays, or other anomalies.

Review Event Viewer system logs around the times your computer failed to resume, looking for crash events and error messages that can hint at the cause.

Test Without Fast Startup

If you suspect Windows Fast Startup may be the culprit, disable this feature completely and test if your system still freezes on wake. Fast Startup stores the previous boot state and uses it to quick resume, which could be problematic.

Try a Clean Boot

Perform a clean boot in Windows, which loads a bare minimum set of drivers and services. If your computer stops freezing on wake under a clean boot, you know some other software is causing the conflict. Reenable groups of startup items incrementally until you isolate the problematic program.

Check Power Settings

Dive into your Windows power options to see if any advanced settings may be contributing to the problem. Look for bugs with networked wake, PCI power management, USB selective suspend, hybrid sleep, hibernate modes, lid close actions, etc.

Advanced Troubleshooting

If you’ve worked through all the basic troubleshooting steps but your computer still freezes intermittently when waking from sleep, there are some more advanced tactics to try:

Update BIOS/UEFI Firmware

While you may have already checked for system firmware updates, also look for new releases from your PC or motherboard manufacturer. Newer firmware revisions can resolve rare bugs that may disrupt smooth sleep/wake functionality.

Test with Clean User Account

Create a brand new user account in Windows and log into it to see if sleep/wake problems persist. This determines if the issues are isolated to your main user profile or if they occur system-wide.

Run Hardware Diagnostics

If you haven’t already, run extended diagnostics on your RAM using MemTest86 to check for memory issues. Also test your storage drives using tools from the manufacturer to scan for bad sectors or mechanical problems.

Check Event Viewer Logs

Dig deeper into critical errors, warning events, and bugcheck crash logs around the times your computer failed to resume from sleep. Google error codes and messages to uncover known driver, firmware, or hardware incompatibilities.

Disable USB Wake

Some USB devices can emit signals that accidentally wake your computer from sleep. Disable the option “Allow this device to wake the computer” for each USB device in Device Manager to prevent this.

Reinstall Problem Drivers

If you’ve isolated a faulty driver via troubleshooting, reinstall or upgrade it from the manufacturer’s website. Don’t just roll back – download the latest driver available to hopefully resolve bugs.

Preventing Freezes

Once you’ve resolved your existing computer freeze on wake issue, there are some steps you can take to help prevent it in the future:

  • Keep your drivers, Windows, and programs updated
  • Periodically scan your computer for malware
  • Clean out startup programs, scheduled tasks, and services
  • Keep vents and fans clear of dust buildup
  • Don’t let your hard drives fill up too much
  • Upgrade failing/outdated hardware components

Proactively maintaining both software and hardware will minimize the chances of your computer hanging when resuming from sleep.


Freezing on wake from sleep is a fairly common annoyance. By methodically applying the right troubleshooting techniques, you should be able to uncover what’s wrong and implement an effective solution.

The most prevalent culprits are outdated drivers, software conflicts, too many startup items, heat issues, and buggy sleep features like Fast Startup. With some diligence and patience investigating potential causes, you can get your PC smoothly waking from sleep again.

Combining the troubleshooting steps outlined here with solid preventive computer maintenance will keep sleep/wake problems at bay and get you back to uninterrupted computing.