Why does a Windows Program Stop Responding?
On any Windows Operating System such as XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, Programs can seem to ‘freeze’ and stop responding, forcing you to either wait it out, shut-down the offending Program or shut-down your computer.
“You will see the “not responding” text in the titlebar of your Program whenever Windows does not get an immediate response from the Program.”
The reasons for a Program “not responding”:
- lack of sufficient system resources (if you are using a number of Programs that are resource-intensive)
- a CPU-intensive action taking longer than normal (more common in multimedia and graphics Programs)
- Drivers or Software bug
- problems with associated hardware (the Program trying to access this hardware will then ‘Freeze’)
- Virus or Malware issues
What to do when a Windows Program Stops Responding
Depending on which of the above issues caused your “not responding” error (if you are not sure, just take remedial actions in the order listed below)
- If you think the Program may be just slow in responding (graphics or other CPU-intensive task), then wait it out. Usually a few minutes should be enough but it may take longer, if you have unsaved work you will have to work out how long you are willing to wait in order to potentially save this work. There is no maximum length of time you should wait for, sometimes a Program may start responding after 30 or 40 minutes, just when you were starting to give up all hope!
- If you have another Program open that you think may be hogging system resources, then close that program and see if this helps
- If the above don’t work, and you are unable to shut-down the Program in the normal manner, you will have to access the Task Manager using the ctrl+Alt+del combination (control, Alt and Delete keys pressed simultaneously). When the Task Manager appears, select the unresponsive Program, and click ‘End Task’.
How to prevent Programs from Freezing or “Not Responding”
You should always:
- Keep Windows updated. The best way to do this is to enable ‘Automatic Updates’, this can be accessed via Control Panel > Windows Update
- Keep all your Software Drivers up-to-date, you can use a driver update tool or you can manually update the Drivers yourself (you will need to do this for all relevant devices)
- Keep your AntiVirus and Anti-Malware tools updated (click here to download an anti-virus tool)