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Troubleshoot Cause of Unresponsive Computer


Computer unresponsiveness can be caused by any software or system process that is not working properly. Even web browsers tend to eat up system memory and resources if not configured and used properly. Take an example of your favorite web browser: Mozilla Firefox. Firefox uses extensions and plugins some of which can be quite memory consuming that can stress the system on being faulty. Generally we tend to open our favorite programs as soon as computers starts up. If you notice that computer is being unresponsive and slow then here is what you need to know to sort out the unresponsiveness of computer.

First of all, leave the keyboard alone for few seconds. Let the computer decide what to do with the unresponsiveness. If computer is in the middle of something, it will try to finish the process or generate an error in case the process can not be completed. Further key strokes while the computer is held, will do no good and PC will become more unresponsive.

Second thing to notice is, opened software. What programs were launched before computer went unresponsive? What programs are opened in the task bar, in the system tray and what processes are running in the computer’s background. An easy way to find out the cause is, to see processes in the task manager.


Disconnect computer from internet. Sometimes programs try to fetch information from third party or try to connect to their source but due to some kind of internal error, infinite loop is started that causes the PC to held or go slow.

Hit Ctrl+Alt+Del from keyboard and select ‘Task Manager’ to open. Alternatively type taskmgr command in Run (Windows+R) or Start and hit Enter. See in the Applications window, if there is any program with Not Responding status. If there is one, select it and hit End Task. This should close the ‘not responding’ application.

Often, few programs will still not close with the ‘End Task’. The solution is to click the Processes tab from Task Manager. Scroll down and search for the program name or name that is similar to the ‘not responding’ program. Select the name and click on ‘End Process‘.

Hint: An unresponsive or not responding program will be using a lot of CPU power. An ideal way is to look at the CPU column and scroll down for row that has more CPU usage indication than others. That is the process behind the unresponsiveness. You should end that process.

Furthermore type msconfig in Run (Windows+R) command prompt or Start of computer. Look in the tabs of Services and Startup. If you find that program or its service there, disable it. This change will be effective on computer restart. By disabling running service you will make sure that it never runs again unless changed and by disabling it from startup will ensure that it does not start automatically on next startup of Microsoft windows.

First you have to launch the Task Manager and end the process that is consuming more CPU power and/or end the task and then search for it in running Services and Startup via msconfig command. After you have stopped the program or service that was causing unresponsiveness, you can proceed to the next step of investigating the actual problem in the software that made the computer unresponsive.

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