What to do when your computer freezes

April 1, 2021 | Blog
woman frustrated over computer

We’ve all been there. You’re mid-sentence on a long document when your computer freezes. Panic sets in. When did I last hit save? Did I lose everything? Frustration doesn’t explain the unsettling feeling that sets in. 

There are simple troubleshooting tweaks you can perform on your PC or Mac to avoid expensive repairs or shelling out money for a new computer. Let’s help fix the problem you’re dealing with. 

Initial Troubleshooting

This sounds obvious, but the first thing you want to do is to check your mouse. A wired mouse may have become unplugged. If you’re using a wireless mouse, check your pairing connection and battery level.

If you can still move the mouse, wait a few minutes and give the computer some time to catch up with itself. The computer may appear frozen, but it might just need a few minutes to catch up to what it’s doing. Often, these easy fixes can do the trick. 

How to Unfreeze a Computer

The next course of action is to force-quit the frozen application if the computer hasn’t figured itself out after it’s had a few minutes to think.

On a PC

  1. Press and hold CTRL + ALT + DEL at the same time and choose Task Manager from the menu. The Windows Task Manager lists everything that’s running, including the application not responding.
  2. Select the frozen application
  3. Click End Task to quit the program.
  4. An alternative option is to hit ALT + F4. That will close the window you last used.


On a Mac

  1. Press and hold Command + Option + Escape at the same time. A Force Quit Applications box will appear with a list of running programs.
  2. Select the unresponsive program and click Force Quit.

Perform A Hard Reboot

If none of the above methods work, the only way to revive your computer is a hard restart. Hold your machine’s power button down until the screen goes black. Give it a minute and press the power button again to turn the computer back on. 

What Happens To Unsaved Work?

Force quits and hard restarts may cause a loss of some, if not all, of your work. In some situations, programs autosave your work every few minutes. If the program you are using performs this action, you can recover the work up to the last autosave. Save what you can and transfer contents to a new file.

Easy Tips To Curb Computer Freezes

There are some things you can do to help prevent future computer freezes.

Clear Storage Space

Extensive files such as movies, photos and music take up significant memory on a computer’s hard drive. Move those files to an external drive designed for storing years’ worth of valuable content. Check out our helpful tips on how to free up storage space, whether on a Mac or a PC.


Delete Old Files

Remove files you don’t need and drag them to your computer’s trash bin. Deleted files still take up space on your hard drive if you don’t empty the trash bin. It’s easy to forget, so a helpful tip is to empty your computer’s trash bin at the same time you put out your weekly curbside trash. 


Prevent Overheating

Just as someone can overexert themselves during a run, a computer also overheats from working too hard. Check for blocked air vents and keep the computer on a flat surface. Keep the machine away from direct sunlight, especially if your desk is by a window. A laptop isn’t meant for your lap, even though the name says otherwise. Use a hardcover to prevent both the computer and your legs from overheating.


A computer freezing too often is a sign of a larger problem you don’t want to wait to fix. Contact our team and we’ll pair you with one of our expert technicians who’ll have you and your computer back in harmony. 

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