Why do Windows programs stop responding?

A computer that stops responding or freezes can be caused by many different problems. For example, a software or hardware conflict, lack of system resources, a bug, or a software or driver error can cause Windows to stop responding.

What to do when a program stops responding

To recover, press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys on your keyboard to open the Close Program or Task Manager window. Once open, highlight the program that is not responding and click the End Task button to terminate the program. If another window opens, click the End Task button again to confirm stopping that program.

Note: If the computer does not respond to Ctrl+Alt+Del, the computer may be deadlocked, and we suggest following the steps for what to do when the computer is completely frozen.

Note: It is important to realize that when a program stops responding, any work that has not been saved will be lost when end tasking a program.

After the program has been end tasked and no longer shows up in the Task Manager, you can try opening the program again to see if it works properly. If you continue to experience issues with that program, restart your computer and then open the program again to see if the issue is now resolved.

If after restarting your computer, the program continues to stop responding, check for available updates or patches for the program on the developer's website that may address the problem.

If no updates or patches are available for the program and the computer is only having problems with that one program, uninstall the program. After uninstallation is complete, restart the computer, and then install the program again. Test the program again to see if it works correctly now and no longer stops responding.

If the problems continue to be experienced for that one program, we suggest contacting the developer of the program to make sure there are no known issues with the program. If the computer is freezing in multiple programs, we suggest reviewing our general computer troubleshooting page for steps that can help stop this issue from occurring.

Tip: We also suggest trying to restore Windows to a previous date when the problem was not occurring.

Additional information