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Desktop PC Freezes

My desktop PC freezes as does the mouse. There are no recovery disks and it will operate in only in safe mode with networking. It is running Windows XP Pro.

Celeste Stewart


Troubleshooting Desktop PC Freezes

Computer viruses, corrupt system files, bad device drivers are among the many potential culprits. Any of these can cause a computer to freeze and become virtually unusable. Fortunately, your computer can function in Safe Mode with Networking which will allow you to troubleshoot and hopefully solve the problem. Since Safe Mode loads only the most basic of system files and device drivers, this is a good place to start. However, before we do anything, let's first see if System Restore is an option.


System Restore

System Restore is a neat utility that can rollback your system to a state in time when it previously worked. However, it won't do any good if "System Protection" wasn't turned on and no restore points created. Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore. A screen will appear listing the available restore points (if any). Choose a restore point that represents a time when your PC was not freezing and then follow the prompts to rollback your system. Note that this does not affect your data but it will uninstall any recently added programs and updates that were installed after that particular date.  


Update Device Driver

If System Restore doesn't work or is not an option, the next step involves checking device drivers. Go to Start > Control Panel > Device Manager. Look in the list of devices to see if any have a yellow warning label indicating a problem. If so, right-click the device and choose Properties. You should see a message indicating what's wrong with the device along with possible solutions. Try following the instructions and see if that solves the problem. If not, click on the Driver tab and try updating the device driver. Since you can use Safe Mode with Networking, your computer should be able to download appropriate device drivers.  


System File Checker

Windows also comes with a built-in utility that can check for damaged or missing system files and replace them with good copies – the System File Checker. To run this tool, go to Start > Run and type in sfc /scannow (make sure that there's a space in between "sfc" and "/scannow"


Virus Scans

Because computer viruses are notorious for freezing computers, it's not a bad idea to run a complete virus scan on your computer using the most current virus definitions possible. Use a reputable antivirus program and allow it to perform a complete system scan.


These are a few initial steps that may resolve the problem. If not, you may need to take the PC in for additional troubleshooting.


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