Sometimes the simple approaches to troubleshooting an ailing PC just don’t work.
But numerous free tools — including some that are built into Windows — can usually lead to a solution.
Unable to find the cause of frustrating freezes
Suffering from random PC freezes, reader Bill Wilson tried a technique described in a previous LangaList Plus column. Unfortunately, he’s still looking for the source — and a solution — to what’s bogging down his system.
- “Your [Aug. 23] article, ‘Apps temporarily — and randomly — freeze,’ suggests using the program ‘What’s my computer doing?’ [free; site] to diagnose the problem. Apparently, the guy who wrote to you had used it successfully.
“But when my computer freezes, I don’t get a response until the freeze goes away. I tried using What’s my computer doing?, but clicking its taskbar icon does nothing during the freeze.
“My freezes don’t happen very often — maybe twice a month. [But when the system stops,] it won’t respond to anything (including Ctrl+Alt+Del) for several minutes. Sometimes the hard-drive light will be continuously on; other times it will be off and doesn’t even blink. It’s scary to see the hard-drive light constantly on when there’s no network traffic and I’m not using the keyboard!
“When the hard-drive light is constantly on and the PC won’t respond, I’ve tried forcing a shutdown. But when the system comes back up, it continues in its frozen state — I have no control.