Print the Lockup Tracking Sheet. This should be used to document lockups or error messages, to assist with troubleshooting intermittent issues.
During the normal operation of the computer, memory and software conflicts can potentially cause the computer to stop responding. When this occurs, you lose control of the program running. The keyboard and mouse may become non-responsive. You can also loose any unsaved information.
How to Get the Computer Running Properly After it Stops Responding
If the computer stops responding, the normal procedure is to close the offending program. To do this, press and hold down the CTRL, the ALT, and the DELETE keys (CTRL+ALT+DELETE), and then release them simultaneously.
- If the computer is in a soft lockup, CTRL+ALT+DELETE opens the Close Program dialog box. Sometimes it takes several seconds for the Close Program dialog box to appear.
- If the computer is in a hard lockup, CTRL+ALT+DELETE does not have an affect. The power button must be pressed and held until the computer turns off.
If the Close Program dialog box appears, on the list find an item that says "Not responding" after it.
- If there is not an item that states "Not responding" after it, click Cancel, and then press CTRL+ALT+DELETE again. Sometimes, items do not immediately report that they are "Not responding".
- If there is an item that states "Not responding" after it, select it, and then click End Task. After several seconds, an End Task dialog box may appear. Click End Task to finish closing the problematic program. This process may need to be repeated several times, and sometimes it is better to restart the computer than to end task numerouse items.
If the computer was shut down improperly because of the lockup, there is a possibility that the file allocation table on the hard disk drive is corrupted. Run ScanDisk to correct any potential disk issues caused by restarting the computer.
Common Causes for Lockups
When the computer stops responding, it does not mean that it is broken. The issue may have occurred after an unusual key sequence or an unfortunate circumstance. In these situations, the issue does not occur very often, if ever again. Another possibility, and a more likely scenario, is that the physical hardware in the computer works properly but there is something wrong with the software installed on the computer. The software may be a program or even the operating system itself.
Some reasons why a computer may stop responding:
- Too many programs running at the same time.
- Not enough memory to support the running programs.
- A virus has infected the computer.
- Information is too scattered or fragmented on the hard disk drive
- Corrupt or misconfigured software
- Corrupt or failing hardware device driver file
- Power management or a screen saver if the computer has been idle for a period of time
- Improper operating temperatures and humidity levels
Trying to Fix a Lockup
It is difficult to determine when, where, or how often a lockup may occur. The first step to fix a lockup is to know more about it. Ask yourself these questions:
- When did the issue start?
- Does it happen only in one program or in any program?
- In what program does it occur?
- Does it only occur when performing a certain function within the program?
- How often does it occur?
- Are there any error messages that are displayed before the computer stops responding?
When you know more about the issue, you can narrow the causes. Here are some things that you can try:
If the issue is not resolved, you can contact us by one of the following alternative methods:
Chat with a Tech Service can help you resolve technical issues online through an interactive chat session with a live Gateway technical support expert.
- Chat with Gateway CoPilot
CoPilot uses remote screen-sharing technology to allow our expert representatives to see your desktop - live and in real time.
- Gateway.com Advanced Troubleshooting Documents
After the issue has been better identified and actions have been taken to resolve it, the computer needs be tested for the lockup again. Save your work frequently to reduce the amount of data loss that occurs if it stops responding. It is also good to do some maintenance on the computer. Your car needs an oil change and a regular checkup. This helps keep the car running well and prolongs its life. Just like the car, the computer needs maintenance to help keep it running well and to prolong its life.
Here are some things to help maintain the computer:
Note: The Guide to Maintaining Windows also offers more instruction.
End Task - Option found in the Close Program dialog box and used to stop programss or processes from running.
Hard lockup - The computer stops responding. The mouse or the keyboard probably do not function properly. Pressing the NUM LOCK, CAPS LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK keys does not switch the indicator status LEDs on the keyboard. After pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE, nothing happens. Pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE repeatedly may cause the computer to restart. If the computer does not restart, the computer must be turned off by pressing and holding the power button. After the computer is turned back on, it functions normally.
Soft lockup - The computer stops responding, but the mouse or the keyboard probably function properly. After pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE, the Close Program dialog box appears. From this dialog box, you can end a specific program or process that is not responding by clicking End Task. After you have ended the program or process, the computer functions normally.