Windows 8 freezes? Here is a fix

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 23, 2012
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
Tutorials, Windows 8

When I started to work on my Windows 8 PC today I noticed a strange behavior after updating some apps in the store. The system would freeze occasionally, so that some controls simply were not functioning anymore. I first though this was a desktop freeze, as standard desktop controls like the clicking on buttons, closing of windows or scrolling in the task manager did not work anymore, but it quickly turned out to be more complicated than this. While I was able to switch between the desktop and the start screen of Windows 8, I could not launch start screen applications either.

I first assumed that it had something to do with the store updates, even though I found that hard to believe. Still, after several restarts I decided to run a system restore first, only to find out that the issue was not resolved by it. Strange as it was, I had other options in my arsenal. Below are the things that I tried to fix the freezes that I experienced.

1. System Restore

System Restore basically restores a previous system state which should resolve any issues caused by software or system updates. To run a system restore in Windows 8 do the following:

  • Use Windows-C to open the Charms bar on the desktop and select Settings > Control Panel from the options.
  • Select System and Security there, and then System again
  • Select Advanced system settings on the right and switch to System Protection in the window that opens up
  • Click on System Restore and select one of the available restore points to restore a previous system state.
  • Note that the PC needs to be rebooted as part of the process.

2. Enable Hyper-V

I read that his fixed freezes for some users and decided that it was worth a try. To enable Hyper-V do the following:

  • Use Windows-C to open the Charms bar on the desktop and select Settings > Control Panel from the options.
  • Select Uninstall a Program here.
  • Select Turn Windows features on or off on the left sidebar and check the Hyper-V box on the Windows Features window that opens up.
  • A restart is required to complete the installation.

3. Update your video card

This one should be quite obvious. If a video card update is available try and install the update on the system to see if it resolves the issues that you are experiencing. You may also want to try and experiment with installing a previous version of the video card drive to make sure it is not an issue of the latest driver version.

4. Verify your system files to make sure none are corrupt

To verify all system files do the following:

  • Press the Windows key to go to the start screen if you are not already there
  • Enter cmd
  • Right-click the Command Prompt listing there and select Run as administrator from the bottom toolbar.
  • Accept the UAC prompt
  • Enter sfc /scannow and wait for the results.

5. Sign out and in

This is the step that resolved the issue for me. I know, it sounds really strange. To do that do the following:

  • Press the Windows key to open the start screen
  • Right-click your account name and profile picture and select sign out
  • Select the account again on the sign in page and log in again

windows sign-out

The funny thing is, this is almost the same step that resolved issues that I had when I tried to install Windows Store apps. I also tried the Microsoft Accounts Troubleshooter to see if there was an underlying problem with the account, but that was not fruitful either.


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  1. monk said on March 29, 2017 at 4:45 am

    I think Hyper-V is only available in Pro and Enterprise versions.

  2. hhu778g said on March 19, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    It could be down to a multitude of reasons. Try everything. Try your system in safe mode
    If you have a graphics card or any other external cards, if you can, make sure they are up to date by checking out the manufacturers homepages for the latest drivers. If that doesn’t help (always restart after installing or removing drivers to test) then try your system without any additional unnecessary cards to see if the freezing stops, or check your device drivers to make sure there are no device manager,scan for hardware changes. Problematic drivers for graphics cards seem to be a common cause of freezing.

    Scan for malware and make sure you are clean. Temporarily remove programs you believe may be causing the freezing or lock-down. Think back to when it started to freeze, and what you had installed at that time. Uninstall it. As with the above I had Comodo/Avast on my windows system, and they caused freezes on the desktop, even during system updates. I had to remove these security programs completely until the system was more up to date. I switched to something light, such as windows firewall control and bitdefender.
    You could try choosing an earlier windows restore point if you have any saved, but if your system contantly freezes, it may not be a good idea since you run the risk of a freeze during a restore, and possibly losing files.

    Another test to make sure it is not a fault with your hardware would be to run an up to date ‘live’ operating system (one that can run from direct from a disc or usb). If it doesn’t freeze, then it’s -probably- a windows issue and not your hardware. You may need to download and burn the live ‘iso’ file to disc using another computer if yours keep freezing, but make sure you choose to run the operating system in ‘live’ mode. I believe linux mint, knoppix and many other popular linux distros can run ‘live’. As long as you select a live session and do not click on any install option when you get to the desktop, you can use it to see if your computer still freezes. If your system freezes badly in windows, you could use the live cd to move your windows documents across within a live system to a connected external hard drive. It may come in handy to recover files on a problematic windows system due to malware. There are Live windows discs out there also such as VistaPE, and more technical repair discs for older systems such as Ultimate Boot CD and Hiiren’s Boot CD too, although I have not tested them.

    A live session using a cd or dvd will be very slow, but usable. The only thing you have to watch is that ‘deleting’ a file in some linux OS may delete your files outright and not move anything into a recycle bin (check the recycle bin settings to change). Unless you have specified a writable area before writing a live disc to dvd or usb, you will lose everything that is present on a live disc after you shutdown. If you wish to install linux as a permanent secondary system, you would need to create a new partition by shrinking the size of your current one.There is a chance of losing the windows partition if not set up right (to run on a new partition of the same drive), although some OS make the process relatively easy to follow. I prefer to just run live sessions as temporary recovery tools.

  3. Ghost said on March 14, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Ok guys I hope someone still checks this thread lol – I did a system restore last night and my windows 8 Dell now runs like –SNAIL SLOW before it FREEZES — sometimes it only partially freezes , like icons will highlight but not open when I click on them , or my keyboard will start typing different letters then I’m typing, It took me like 2 hours of resetting my laptop before I finally mde it to factory reset option without crashing, Since last night I have run the factory reset 3 X and am still frezzing up and having all kinds of different problems , I checked the harddrive in command line status OK ; and Have ran several other diagnostics any ideas??

  4. Hero Navirna said on September 1, 2016 at 10:42 am

    my HP desktop freezes, sometimes the colors will be all messed up and I can’t see a thing neither does the mouse and keys work either.
    I have tried every software fix but the problem persisted, so I opted for the obvious, to install a new copy of windows 8 and start afresh. and yea I couldn’t backup the system either but I figured to use a recovery software to get my data after installing the new copy of windows 8.
    but now I can’t even install the windows because after formating the hard disk to start the installation, the freezing started again. I can’t continue the installation and I can’t reboot to the previous OS because its been formated.
    Please if U know something I don’t help me out.
    Thanks in Advance

    1. bootcd said on September 2, 2016 at 4:33 am

      I don’t think I can help, but does it freeze both through installing every time, and whilst running? If freezing whilst running, it could be an issue with your antivirus or firewall. This is quite common in both 8 and 10, and could be interface related. If your security software did not come with windows, remove them to test your system temporarily (with the internet off, of course). How old is the computer? How many times have you been able to successfully install? If the system is older than around 2006 then I would probably not bother installing 8, but perhaps the formatting did not work correctly on the drive or partition, the windows iso or download is corrupt,the disc is scratched,dvd drive is slightly worn,or its laser needs cleaning. The official Windows 8 or 8.1 disc (might) have recovery options, you could try it if you know your registration key and can burn it using another system, but if you do install on the same drive, youll have less chance to recover your personal files.

      If you didn’t make a Windows 8 recovery disc, then to get to any personal files, you could have tried a disc such as Hirens Boot cd (google it for the website). Its old but it runs on boot and lists software such as recuva, although I have not tried it. If you want to just browse your 8 files and folders, from this cd you can also run ‘mini XP’ or ‘gParted linux’. These operating systems run ‘live’ without installing to your drive (they run in ram), and you may be able to browse your windows 8 hard drive folders to recover personal data to another drive that way, or using a tool.
      Some non-windows systems such as linux mint also allow you to ‘try them’ live, straight from disc before installing, and can be handy if you wish to browse folders and files from a connected unbootable windows drive.

      To add an iso to sd usb stick as a backup system, you need a tool such as ‘universal usb installer pendrive’. Some modern computers cannot boot from a usb stick though, so it’s probably easier to burn to dvd. Never copy anything over to any live folders permanently, as after you exit these live cds or accidentally hit install, all data on the live os whether run from dvd or sd, is obviously lost. You may need to change settings on your pc bios menu to boot from sd and cd. At switch on, holding F2 (sometimes also F1,F4 or DEL), usually gets most systems into the bios (my password was ‘admin’). From there you can change the UEFI and secure settings off, then at boot again, hold F11 to select the option to boot from cd or sd usb.

      I found out the right click delay and menu quitting some people mention in windows 8 and 10 is a shell extention windows problem, which can be often solved with ccleaner. theres an option in it to remove all associated shell extentions from installed software

  5. 123 said on April 9, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    though hyper v is diabled its hanging! what to do?

  6. xuno said on February 12, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    It’s the same as the right click delay, make sure your graphics drivers are installed straight from the graphics or computer manufacturer website, and not from windows update. That solved it for me. It could well be a bios or windows issue in both cases, but you will have to wait until there is a major update for your system. There is a temporary fix for the right click delay. Some suggest either turning bluetooth on (?) or googling for ‘ShellEx’ and using that to disable any display’s ‘context menu’, then choosing options>refresh explorer, but that only works as a temporary fix (try youtube for a guide) as your control panel may no longer be accessible unless you have created a previous shortcut.

  7. tracy monson said on February 6, 2015 at 3:48 am

    you guys are great and sometimes i don’t know what i would do without you.

  8. aargh said on September 8, 2014 at 2:33 am

    I havent tried hibernation yet, but sleep mode on my acer laptop is now working (it used to freeze in both modes). To me it sounds like my graphics drivers on the acer (my laptop manufacturer) were the main issue for random freezes. As for my last post (malwarebytes and spywareblaster also freezing) they seem to have fixed themselves.. in my opinion I believe the two companies developing those programs have simply now bothered to update their software to ensure 100 percent compatibility, but in many cases I am sure you are right in your post above, as lots of sites report a bios issue with many Acer systems. I don’t think enabling/disabling hyper-v made any difference when I tried enabling it to fix the freezing initially, but of course for some people this might be a fix. I would just say to make sure your system is fully updated to 8.1 with all updated drivers before attempting to play around with any OS settings.

    One site I read a while back noted that whilst we all like to blame the operating system straight off, we should not forget that windows is released differently, eg apple macs for instance are built with a specific limited range of hardware in mind. They are arguably easier to test and fix issues for the masses, but there just too many hardware manufacturers releasing their own computers with a windows OS on board, which gives a far wider collaboration of motherboard brand and model,graphics,sound,network card etc, making far more potentially different reasons for someone even experiencing the very same problem.

    Windows 8.1 is working fine for me now, no issues and good compatibility with most old software, about the same as 7. The only freezing is due to abobe flash player in firefox.. but that has been happening to me since I first installed windows xp back in 2002. Flash is out of date and needs to be gotten rid of. As for windows apps, its the same old-no policing on there (just like the Google Play store) so only a select few companies will likely offer bug free or at least reliably regularly updated software :(

  9. GA said on September 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    A BIOS update fixed my Acer V5 random freezing – after a complete reload of Win 8.1 didn’t.

  10. John Black said on October 17, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Well, I think none of you have mentioned about PC Refresh utility which is an inherent part of Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. You might have to refresh your PC, i.e. to rollback factory settings, uninstall externally installed applications and keep only Windows Store apps. This way your constant crashes will be fixed.

    More guidelines and diagnostic solutions are here:

  11. Maurizio said on September 15, 2013 at 11:41 am
  12. mionhi said on August 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    The real issue no one seems to be able to fix is with windows 8 being stuck in hibernation or sleep mode. Some systems cannot get out of it, the fans still whir, but key or mouse presses do nothing. Other than the above fixes for freezes, some proglems could still be 64bit related and down to program incompatibities from a system still in its infancy. Even 64 bit windows 8 has a 32-bit installation environment due to the majority of programs still being in 32bit, eg ‘C:Programs Files x86’.. so some third party companies just may not be putting enough effort into supporting 64 bit yet, and even though many companies will state that their 32 bit software is 64 bit compatible, that doesnt mean everything will always run smoothly. 32 bit programs being incompatible with one another on a 64 bit system was one common problem initially (especially when it came to internet software from differing companies running together).

  13. Marcel said on August 14, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Better fix is to stay on Windows 7..

  14. aargh said on July 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    I replaced the graphics drivers that were pre-installed for the generic ones on intel’s own website relating to the correct laptop hardware (built in graphics). No log-screen freezes yet, so that may be part of the problem solved. Its a brand new acer system, so it looks like they dont test their systems fully very often, lol.

  15. Clearscreen said on July 24, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Logging in and out so far appears to have worked for me! I did update one last driver after that but so far no lockups in 24 hours – a new record!

  16. aargh said on July 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Freezing at the moment is common on windows 8 (possibly the windows system in general, software incompatibilities, or software not 100 percent compatibility with 64 bit), and until the developers sort the issue, there is little else that can be done.
    So far, I have found Spywareblaster to cause freezing with explorer (right clicking on a file gives the wait symbol, and you are therefore stuck), and aside from that, I have had logon screen freezes (some believe its an issue with Malwarebytes on the microsoft forums) and screensaver freezes (keyboard cannot take me back to windows-possibly a graphics driver problem). These freezes are the only thing that makes me want to have to resort to going back to windows 7, which is essentially just the same system but without metro or any bugs. Ho hum :(

  17. sigurd said on June 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    After a day of frantic troubleshooting i found the cause of my win8 freezes.

    While some of the solutions you offered gave me, in my case, a temporary fix, they didn’t solve the cause of the problem. Depending on what I install next, the problem can re-emerge.

    Apparently the recent Nvidia drivers (314.22 and 320.18) are hell for win8 systems. People with Nvidia GPU’s should downgrade their driver to 314.07, wich can be found on their website.

    I pretty sure this won’t solve all win8 freezes, but it will solve it for a lot of people with nvidia hardware in their system.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      I know that troubleshooting can be frustrating. Great that you found a solution to the freeze issues you were experiencing and thanks for sharing it with us.

    2. sigurd said on June 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      damn my spelling errors! long stressfull day…

  18. Kevin said on May 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    What worked for me is stating in bios and enabling “Intel Virtual Technology” (Vanderpool Technology). After i did that everything just works I will still do all the normal stuff like /sfc but its weird that that would fix the issue.

  19. Tro said on April 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thank you so much! the Hyper-v method worked for me!

  20. Ohmniox said on March 26, 2013 at 3:24 am

    I also very serious windows explorer freezing problem. I googled out the problem and found out many fixes such as dynamic tick , hyper v ,updating drivers, reinstalling the os[which was already clean installed ] etc but nothing worked.
    While i was surfing i found that intel rapid storage technolgy RAID helps it, i tried it and restart ed my lapi but when i clicked on file explorer it again frooze for 2-3 second. But after 10-15 minutes the freezing problem was just disappeared. Below is the link ! ( 5MB )

    Download your required x64,x86 drivers and install it . IT may solve your problem.!

  21. Rahul Khanna said on March 11, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Nothing of this worked for me. The trick that worked was Tune up utilities which automatically cleared my registry and help in any possible way. enabling HYPER-V was the second main reason which help. Hope it helps for You also.

  22. Anonymous said on February 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I had the same problem. Some apps freezing. But my situation is worse. I can’t get to the Windows screen. My PC doesn’t go past the Dell logo. Help!!!!!!!!

    I can get into the boot and setup utilities.

  23. w0ut said on January 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I have the same issue. Chrome freezes up, I can close it but when starting Chrome again nothing happens. No new window is opening. Some applications can still be started (office apps) other apps have the same behaviour as the Chrome app. You click the icon and nothing happens. I’m not able to start task manager. Windows 8 x64nit. Clean install (no upgrade)

    No solution yet. :(

  24. Paresh Savla said on January 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I also have freezing issue on Windows 8 enterprise. My hardware Lenovo 3254T3Q E430 , 4GB RAM 500GB Harddisk , Intel HD Graphics 4000.
    Installed latest graphics drivers.
    When viewing any movies or clips from youtube, it freezes and restarts or have to restart manually. It happens on both IE and chrome.
    I am really frustated

  25. Gustavo said on January 6, 2013 at 2:47 am

    I tried the 5 steps mentioned above, but I could not solve the problem. I initially upgrade a Win Vista to Win 8 pro as I want to keep my files. After a few minutes it was frozen. Turning On/OFF could not fix it. Then, I format the disk and re-installed the win 8 pro from scratch. It was working pretty fine until I installed Chrome and an free statistical software. I tried the 5 stes above, but control panel did not open. Command prompt opened, but it was not able to scan : – ( Do not know what else to do? I am strongly considering to move to another OS, Mac or Linux. I hope that MS releases a solution soon. It is sad to have a nice PC already out of the business.

  26. Randy said on December 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Its not just upgrading from window 7 to windows 8…i just bought a hp computer brand new and it came with window 8 and this be freezing more than anything else..i cant even scroll down at times

  27. Muhammad Ikram Ul Haq Jadoon said on December 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I have windows 8 enterprise in my intel core i3 desktop pc (DH55HC MB installed). I have experienced the freezing screen problems and I’m much worry about. Even I have uninstalled my windows and tried to go a head by installing Windows 8 Enterprise N and Windows 8 Professional but in vain. In my opinion I agree that Microsoft must resolve this serious issue.

  28. Edgar said on December 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I had the same issues, i desabled automatic updates in the Windows Start Stcreen > Store, go to Configuration on the context menu and open App updates (or whatever it says on English, mine is in PT BR), then unable automatic update, it’s working for me.

  29. Mickey said on December 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I have 3 Windows 8 systems, 2 64bit desktops and the Surface with Windows RT. Both my primary desktop and my Surface start screens froze, charms bar inoperative, can get to desktop after 10 minutes and the systems were virtually useless. I had so many critical errors in Event viewer I would have spent forevr trying to fix them. Both systems went ad at the same time, with the same problems after Windows updates.

    I fixed the desktop by installing Windows 7 Ultimate. I blew way the Surface with a clean install. I have not started my secondary Window 8 desktop or installed the updates that killed my other two systems and won’t until I read about a fix. Likewise I will not connect my Surface to Wi-Fi until I see a fix.

    That said, I liked Windows 8 and hope a fix comes soon.

  30. Terry said on December 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Started out with one system on windows 8. Freeze problems. Now need to buy two more systems and am seriously considering windows 7. I need a business solutions that works. Know why they did the tablet design but not functional in a full office envrionment.

  31. Steve F said on November 21, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Windows 8 has some freezing problems where the disk goes 100% utilization for short periods of time even though not much is happening. I see this on my system for about 60-120 seconds and i have everything like system restore, indexing etc turned off. . It worked fine under windows 7 . Something is leaking memory somewhere. maybe ?

    There is a lot of do this/ do that out there (why do people suggest an 8 hours re-install process when its a Microsoft problem ?) Microsoft need to fix this as its mentioned now in many places on the web. Expect a service patch soon and don’t upgrade yet if you haven’t started ..

    1. Mark said on December 6, 2012 at 2:54 am

      Yeah, this definitely needs a Microsoft update as it seems to be an issue across different hardware. Seems to mainly happen for me when using a web browser. Not a browser issue as tried Chrome, IE, Firefox all with same issue. When I check Task Manager system processes seem to be using a lot of disk. If they don’t fix this soon Windows 8 could become another Vista. I’m already thinking of moving back, however my laptop came pre-installed with 8 with no disk so guess I will have to create a full backup disk for when I want to move back to 8 eventually.

  32. AJ said on November 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I upgraded my PC from Win 7 to win 8 pro online. Everything was running ok for the past 3 weeks. Now it is freezing even after restart. The start screen opens, but none of the programs work. Also I cannot signout without pressing the cntrl+alt+del keys. Rebooted many times, but the screen gets frozen.

  33. marti said on November 7, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Hi, I also was having problems with Windows 8 freezing after upgrading from Windows 7. I did not have this problem with Windows 7.
    I tried the above solutions but it didn’t work for me.
    I found a article about upgrading my SSD firmware on a different forum and decided to give this a try.

    I have a Crucial 128 Gb SSD. I went to their website and downloaded and installed the firmware upgrade for Win7/Win 8 2 days ago and have not had any problems with freezing since then.

    Maybe this solution will helps others if the other fixes don’t help.

    1. tracy monson said on February 6, 2015 at 3:44 am

      I have a brand new compute and i am a dancing teacher. all my music is on this and it freezes at the most needed part. I have had to take the battery out to get it going again and this takes time.i need help.
      all my music

  34. Morten said on November 6, 2012 at 12:53 am


    I have had the same issues with freezing. Especially when I used Chrome. I did an upgrade from win 7 Pro 64 bit to Win 8 pro 64 bit.

    I did have som issues getting my Plextor 950SA to work as well. Finally I found a guy who had solved his issues by meesing around with SATA/IDE drivers etc. So I did download all drivers for win 7 64 bit (I´m running Win 8 Pro 64 bit, but my MOBO is so old that theres is no drivers for win 8). I installed one at a time and finally I found out that the driver for the GIGABYTE GBB36X Controller – it was not named that from the begiinning but I can not remember what name it did have before, but it is some kind af controller. After that my Plextor Blu Ray drive worked and win 8 is working as a charm. So maybe others with freeze issues should consider updating the drivers for controllers. I remember in the good old days, that issues often was related to bad video drivers or CD-rom/DVDs.


  35. TM Mathews said on October 26, 2012 at 4:23 am

    I thought finally with Windows 8 Microsoft will fix this computer freezeups and crashes problem permanently. If this article is to be believed, then I am waiting for the next Windows OS version.

  36. concerned reader said on October 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    These suggestions are in reverse order of priority. I find it shocking that you would recommend users perform a system restore just to fix a simple “some apps freeze occasionally” issue.

    I find it highly dubious that enabling Hyper-V fixes anything other than by nature of that fact that you have to reboot to finish installing it.

    There’s a reason tech support has you reboot your computer before trying to solve the issue. In my experience, rebooting or logging out/in is usually all it takes to fix common issues. There’s nothing “really strange” about that.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      I wanted to highlight the things I tried to fix the issue, but it should not be seen as a particular order that you need to follow. I did reboot several times and made sure it was a full reboot, not a hybrid boot. That did not fix the issue though and I tried the other fixes then afterwards. Sorry if I did not made that clear.

      I read about Hyper-V here:

      1. concerned reader said on October 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm

        Interesting. I wonder why enabling Hyper-V might fix that issue. It seems completely unintuitive. Hopefully MS releases an official fix to this issue soon.

  37. ilev said on October 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

    10 clicks to get to system restore in Windows 8 ?

    1. eins said on October 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      why bother clicking when you can just search “system restore”

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm

        Right, I totally forgot. You can enter system restore and select it from the start screen as well. Good point.

  38. Anonymous said on October 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

    The best way to fix Windows 7 or Windows 8 freezes is to check your motherboard and graphics card or cards, if your running an SLI system. I had an NVidia motherboard and graphics card that were both causing system lock ups. My son rebuilt my computer replacing the motherboard with an Intel motherboard an a new and different graphics card and no more lock ups. I have ran Windows 7 and now Windows 8 on my desktop pc, my entertainment pc and my laptop and no problems at all.

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