Has your Windows 10 PC been freezing, lagging, or responding slowly? I totally get how frustrating that can be when you‘re trying to get things done. Don‘t worry though, in this guide I‘ll walk you through all the likely reasons why Windows 10 freezes and show you how to fix it.
What‘s Causing Windows 10 to Freeze?
There are a few common culprits for random Windows 10 freezes and slow performance:
Outdated or corrupt drivers – especially your graphics card drivers. These are software programs that help Windows communicate with hardware components, but bugs and glitches can develop over time.
Not enough RAM (memory) for all the apps and programs you have open. Windows has to juggle multiple things at once, and freezes when it doesn‘t have enough memory.
Too many things running that compete for resources – like dozens of browser tabs, background apps, video rendering. It overwhelms your RAM and CPU.
Overheating components like the CPU or graphics card due to dust buildup or poor airflow in the case. Excessive heat causes hardware failure and crashes.
Failing hardware like bad memory sticks, aging hard drives, faulty power supplies cause intermittent errors.
Fragmented hard drive struggling to read and write files due to disorganized data clusters.
Corrupted Windows system files critical for stability and performance.
Bad sectors develop on aging hard drives leading to read/write failures.
Those are the most common technical causes for annoying Windows 10 freezes. But why does it impact some PCs more than others?
Newer Games and Apps Are More Demanding
Modern games and apps take advantage of more powerful PC components to deliver cutting edge graphics, complex in-game physics, detailed 3D environments. The downside is they require beefier hardware to run smoothly.
For example, when comparing the system requirements for different versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator:
|32 MB DirectX 9
|2.0 GHz dual core
|128 MB DirectX 10
|Ryzen 3 1200 / i5-4460
|Radeon RX 470 / GTX 970
As you can see, the latest Flight Simulator needs a much more powerful PC just to meet minimum requirements compared to older versions.
The same goes for Windows itself. Windows 11 requires a relatively modern 64-bit dual core CPU with at least 4GB of RAM. Windows 10 can run on a decade old single core CPU with just 1GB of RAM.
So using outdated hardware inevitably leads to freezing and performance issues as you try to run newer software.
Fixes for Windows 10 Freezing Issues
If you notice Windows 10 random freezing or lagging during use, there are some troubleshooting steps you can take:
Keep all your device drivers fully updated through Windows Update or your manufacturer‘s website, especially graphics drivers. If issues persist, uninstall and reinstall the drivers to clear any corruption.
Adjust Power Settings
Properly managing your hard disk and PC power can prevent freezes. Go to Control Panel > Power Options > Change Plan Settings. Set hard disk timeout to "Never" and select Balanced or High Performance power plan.
Clean Up Hard Disk
Delete unneeded files and run Disk Defragmenter to optimize file storage. This prevents sluggish access from a badly fragmented drive.
Check System File Integrity
Use the System File Checker to scan Windows files for corruption and restore any damaged files. Open Command Prompt as admin and run "sfc /scannow".
Test RAM for Errors
Faulty memory can cause freezing so run the Windows Memory Diagnostic. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Windows Memory Diagnostic. Click "Restart now and check for problems".
Use Task Manager or Speccy to check CPU and GPU temperatures. Consistently high temperatures indicate an overheating issue that needs better cooling.
Roll Back Problematic Updates
If freezes started after a Windows Update, rolling back may help. Go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > View update history > Uninstall updates.
Reinstall Windows 10
For persistent freezing not resolved by above steps, doing a clean reinstall of Windows 10 can eliminate software issues. Back up data first, then go to Settings > Recovery > Reset this PC.
Tips to Prevent Freezing in the First Place
Here are some habits that will help avoid Windows 10 stability problems:
- Keep Windows updated regularly so you have the latest optimizations.
- Limit background apps and startup programs to the essentials to minimize resource usage.
- Monitor CPU and RAM usage in Task Manager. Close unused browser tabs and apps hogging resources.
- Make sure your PC case has adequate airflow and clean out dust buildup with compressed air.
- Replace aging components like hard drives that could be failing.
- Consider upgrading to Windows 11 if your PC meets system requirements, for better efficiency.
I know from experience how much a glitchy, freezing PC can disrupt your workflow and gaming. But with some targeted troubleshooting and preventive care, you can stop Windows 10 freezes in their tracks! Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips.