There are many reasons why a computer may suddenly decide to freeze, most of which depend on what applications are running in the background, especially if any of these are malicious in nature, i.e. viruses and spyware.
Hardware problems can also cause this behaviour, primarily faulty RAM (memory) chips or other physical components. It may also simply be the case that there are too many applications running at the same time on your machine.
If this is the case, you will either need to close some of them down or upgrade your computer so that it can handle that level of activity.
In addition to this, it is important to make sure that your machine is not running an operating system (OS) that is over 5 years old, as this is an insecure setup in itself, due to the fact that an OS that old is unlikely to still be supported properly by the original software developers.
The best way to prevent your computer from locking up at random is to make sure that you have up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software installed. These two protective elements can be installed as one piece of software, depending on which antivirus software company you trust to protect your machine.
It is widely considered good practice to set such programs to update automatically so that your machine is protected should you forget to manually run this procedure.
Also, even the best protective software in the world cannot be guaranteed to be foolproof, meaning that you should backup your data on a regular basis, especially if you use your computer for any sort of business purposes.
However, should the worst happen, here is a quick guide to what you should do next, in order to prevent any further problems as well as fix the existing ones:
(Please note that this guide assumes the computer is running Windows)
- Disconnect your computer from the Internet
- Restart your computer and select the Safe Mode option
- Run your antivirus and anti-spyware program on a complete scan and follow the instructions to remove malicious software.
- Restart your computer in normal mode and update your protective software.
- Run another scan to confirm that your machine is back to normal.
Finally, as well as following the advice given above, some common sense is needed to ensure safe computer usage, a prime example of this being that you should only open email attachments that you are expecting to receive.
By John A Courtenay