If your laptop is experiencing a slowdown or freezing during crucial tasks, it can greatly impact your productivity and professional image, especially in important meetings or while completing critical work. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to invest in a new laptop. It simply indicates that your current laptop requires some attention.
Whether you own a Dell, HP, or Lenovo laptop, one of the most common queries from laptop users is, “Why does my laptop keep hanging?” or “What should I do when my laptop freezes?” These issues are commonly encountered across various laptop brands, including those running Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, or macOS.
In this article, we will discuss the most frequent reasons behind laptop hang-ups and freezing, along with effective solutions to address these common laptop issues. Our focus in this article is limited to laptops operating on Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
Resolve Hanging Issues with These 5 Common Solutions
a) Close Unwanted Apps & Background Services
When your laptop hangs, start by checking and closing unnecessary programs and services running in the background. To access the Windows Task Manager, simultaneously press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys. The Task Manager window will appear, allowing you to identify programs that are consuming excessive CPU and RAM resources. If you find any unwanted programs causing a resource drain, click on them and select the “End Task” button.
Once you have closed all unwanted programs and background processes, your laptop should resume normal operation. If the issue persists, you may need to force shut down your device by holding the ‘Power’ button for a few seconds, then restart it. Ensure that you save any critical documents before shutting down to avoid data loss.
b) Install the Latest Windows Updates
Failure to install operating system updates in a timely manner can result in suboptimal laptop performance. It is recommended to use a licensed copy of Microsoft Windows to enable automatic updates. For Windows 10 users, the update option is typically enabled by default. In most cases, automatic updates and the latest drivers are available online.
To update your software through Windows, follow these steps:
- For Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:
- Open the Control Panel.
- Click on “System and Security” and select “Windows Update.”
- Windows Update will check for available updates, and you can choose to install the important updates first.
- For Windows 10:
- Open Settings.
- Click on “Update & Security.”
- Select “Windows Update.”
- Click the “Check for updates” button.
- After downloading the updates, restart your device by clicking the “Restart Now” button.
c) Utilize a Cooling Pad to Prevent Overheating
Laptops can experience reduced performance when their processors operate at suboptimal clock speeds, which can happen due to overheating. Performance throttling occurs when a laptop’s processor lowers its clock speed to maintain safe operating temperatures. Overheating is often indicated by the laptop’s fans running at full speed and generating unusually loud sounds. These signs suggest that your laptop is overheating.
To prevent performance throttling, ensure that your laptop efficiently dissipates heat generated internally. Additionally, check for any dust accumulation that may obstruct the exhausts and air vents, hindering the expulsion of hot air. Clogged air vents can lead to significant problems.
Using a cooling pad is an effective way to prevent laptop overheating. Laptop coolers are designed to provide additional cooling by drawing hot air from the laptop’s exhaust vents and expelling it outside. This helps maintain optimal laptop temperature. Additionally, always place your laptop on a hard or flat surface to facilitate the easy exit of hot air. Uneven or soft surfaces like blankets, pillows, or laps can impede the laptop’s airflow.
d) Consider Reapplying Thermal Paste and Upgrading RAM
Sometimes, laptops struggle to dissipate heat efficiently due to worn-off thermal paste (also known as thermal compound). Thermal paste facilitates heat transfer from the CPU or GPU to the heat sink. If you suspect that the thermal paste has deteriorated, consult an authorized or trusted laptop service engineer to reapply a high-quality thermal paste.
Insufficient RAM can also cause freezing issues, particularly when multitasking. It is crucial to have enough RAM to ensure smooth system operation, allowing concurrent loading of multiple applications.
If you frequently run resource-intensive applications or open numerous large files simultaneously, your laptop may freeze if it lacks sufficient RAM to accommodate these tasks. In such cases, consider upgrading to a laptop with higher RAM capacity or augmenting your current laptop’s RAM if it supports RAM upgrades.
To determine if your laptop has a RAM issue, observe the following scenario: when you first turn on your device, it runs smoothly, but after a few hours, it begins to slow down, files take longer to open, and websites load slowly. This may indicate insufficient RAM. Additionally, if your laptop frequently restarts, it could be a clear sign of faulty RAM.
e) Address Potential Issues with the Hard Drive
Many modern mid-range and high-end laptops utilize Solid State Drives (SSDs), but older laptops and some entry-level models still rely on Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). If your laptop operates on an HDD and you notice unusual clicking sounds upon startup, it indicates a problem with the hard drive. Do not ignore this warning.
A malfunctioning hard drive can lead to data loss. To safeguard your important documents and files, it is advisable to save them on an external hard drive. Regularly backing up critical files is a good practice to prevent irreversible data loss.
To check if your hard drive is functioning properly, follow these steps using File Explorer on your laptop:
- Click the Windows button at the bottom left and search for “File Explorer.”
- Right-click on the drive you wish to check.
- Go to “Properties.”
In the Properties window, navigate to the “Tools” tab and click on “Check” in Windows. If the hard drive is causing the issue, you will receive a notification here.
You can also use SpeedFan to check for potential hard drive issues. If your hard drive is faulty, seek assistance from the brand’s authorized service centre for a replacement such as Gigabyte Computer Solutions.
If you plan to purchase a new laptop, we recommend considering Gigabyte Computer Solutions Ilorin.
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