I previously wrote the “Complete Troubleshooting Guide for Windows 7 HomeGroup Issues” which many people found helpful. Today I’m going to write an in-depth guide to troubleshooting Windows 7 freezes. This includes Windows 7 freezing on startup / loading, freezing on logout, freezing on shutdown, freezing when installing programs, etc.
Even though Windows 7 is a big step up from Windows Vista, it still has problems. I had a lot of problems with Windows 7 freezing while doing routine tasks on my computer. I tried to collect as many solutions as possible, which I ended up using in this tutorial. Hopefully someone can solve their problem by looking here instead of the many websites.
I’ll try to make the guide easier to navigate by using the section headings to determine what type of freeze I’m trying to deal with. This way, you can just go to the part that you think might solve your problem. Feel free to comment on solutions / issues!
Freeze on Windows 7
Hangs while using Windows 7
If you are already logged into Windows and you are having problems with Windows 7 freezing when opening programs, clicking on dialog boxes, or right-clicking, etc., you should try the following procedures. This usually means that there is some kind of software installed on the computer that is causing problems with other aspects of Windows. It can be an antivirus or a regular program that you downloaded from the Internet. In any case, the best way to know if this is really the problem is to perform a clean boot.
Step 1. Log in to Windows 7 as an administrator, click the Start button and type MSCONFIG in the search box.
Step 2: Click the General tab and select Selective startup. Be sure to clear the Load Startup Items check box.
Now go to the Services tab and select the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox. Then click the Disable All button.
Click OK and then restart your computer. If you find that Windows no longer freezes, you can be 100% sure that this is a problem with a third-party program or service. There is no easy way to determine which startup item or service is causing the problem. Basically you need to manually figure it out by re-enabling half of the startup items and then restarting. If the problem returns, you know that the problematic item is in this list of checked items. Then you check half of them and reboot again. You will have to follow the same procedure with services if the problem is not with startup. At the end of the day, you will only have one item checked and that will freeze.
Once you know what the program is, uninstall it. Removing a program will also disable all services associated with that program. Then you can go back to the MSCONFIG utility and choose Normal Startup.
Windows 7 hangs on startup – Classpnp.sys
Windows 7 hangs at startup – Classpnp.sys
One of the more annoying problems with freezing Windows 7 is freezing during startup on the Windows Startup screen. I have encountered this issue with many clients and it could be a real problem because many of the recommended fixes (using System Restore or System Restore) don’t work!
If you try to start Windows 7 in Safe Mode, Classpnp.sys will fail. We have found that this problem can be due to several reasons. The first thing to try is a startup or system restore using DVD. You can read online how to boot from DVD and access these options. There are tons of tutorials out there, so I won’t repeat this information. Just remember to go into BIOS and set Boot from CD / DVD as 1st priority over hard drive.
If that doesn’t work, try restarting Windows in debug mode. You can restart your computer and press F8 for a list of boot options, which includes Safe Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, and so on. Sometimes Windows boots in debug mode, and then you can restart your computer and it will start normally. well.
Now the real problem is with people trying to use the DVD and it freezes when â€œdownloading files,â€ which means you can never even get to the system restore or restore options. This usually means that it is a hardware problem. Some people get stuck on the classpnp.sys part after performing a Windows update, which means it might be software related.
– In this case, you can try Last Known Good Configuration, or try booting into Safe Mode and then uninstalling all Windows updates by going to Control Panel – Programs dialog box. If you can enter safe mode, you can also try running chkdsk, sfc / scannow, or try to restore your system.
– If it is equipment related, you need to check how old your equipment is and if anything could be out of order. For example, a bad memory slot could be the cause of this problem. Remove memory chips one at a time and see if the problem goes away. Make sure the memory is properly inserted into the slot. Often times the memory doesn’t fill up completely, and this causes all kinds of crazy problems. Also try replacing the memory chips and see if that works. It’s amazing how many chips went bad.
– If you have this problem on your desktop, you need to open it and make sure that all cables and all cards are correctly inserted into their respective slots. Be sure to check the power supply and make sure the power to the motherboard is ok. If there is a lot of dust in the system, use some compressed air and clean it thoroughly. It might seem like overkill, but if you can’t even load the DVD without freezing it, you have a hardware problem, not a software problem.
– Then you need to enter BIOS and turn off all hardware including USB ports, sound card, floppy disk, 1394, media card, network card, etc. Try using an internal / integrated video card rather than a dedicated card. If you can’t disable something, try disabling it. For example, if you have DVD drives, disconnect them from the system internally. I had a client whose DVD drive was causing the system to freeze. Try booting now and see if you can get through the frozen screen. If so, then the problem is definitely hardware related.
– Another piece of hardware that should be checked is the multi-slot USB card reader. If it is plugged into the computer at boot time, sometimes it can try to use it as a boot device and fail. Now, unplug any peripherals connected to your computer.
– If you are using any KVM switch for multiple keyboards / mice, unplug it and connect your PS2 mouse / keyboard to your computer. Many of these KVM switches use USB and for some strange reason this can cause problems with the boot process on certain machines.
– Also others have had success by changing ACPI related hard drive settings. Try to enable or disable this feature and try restarting your computer. There are a lot of settings in BIOS and you can try going through one at a time and changing the setting, rebooting, and if that doesn’t work, put it back in and change another setting. It is impossible to tell which BIOS settings might cause the system to freeze, but many people have had success changing the settings there.
– Speaking of hard drives, you can also check if your hard drive is configured for RAID. If so, change it to IDE. This can allow you to boot from CD / DVD and hence run boot repair tools such as memory diagnostics. If you return to Windows, you can restore your system, etc.
– Some people also managed to reset the BIOS. You can reset the BIOS by clearing the CMOS. You can clear CMOS in several ways, including pressing a button on the motherboard, changing the jumper setting, etc. You will need to google for your specific machine to find out how to clear CMOS.
– If you are still gaining strength and trying to solve this problem, you can really apply your technical skills by trying to replace the classpnp.sys file with a copy from another computer. The file location is C: Windows system32 classpnp.sys. Of course, Windows won’t boot, so you can only do this with Linux, for example from the Ubuntu Live CD. You will need to google how to copy files using this, but it really isn’t that bad. This has worked for several people, so it’s worth giving it a try.
As a last resort, you can try to use spare parts, if you have them, and replace as many as possible: video card, sound card, hard drive, etc.
Windows 7 hangs on shutdown
Windows 7 freezes at shutdown
If you are having problems with Windows 7 freezing at shutdown, then you are in better luck than previous participants. This is because you can at least log into Windows, and usually it is just a software / program issue where Windows cannot unload or kill a certain process and all kinds of crazy repair tools.
Note that the first thing to try is restarting your computer in Safe Mode and then shutting down. If your computer freezes when shut down in Safe Mode, it could be a hardware issue. If the restart went well, the problem might be with the Windows software when it loads all normal drivers and processes.
Here are a few things you can try that should ultimately solve your problem:
– Go ahead and install the latest Windows updates. Microsoft has released several fixes that are specific to this issue and therefore may resolve your issue without any additional action.
– Next comes the hardware connected to your computer. Unplug all USB devices, power cords, FireWire, HDMI, etc., and then try restarting. If you’re lucky, things can be that simple.
– Also, it is best to update all drivers for any hardware on your computer including network cards, video cards, sound cards, card readers, etc., especially if you are running Windows 7 64-bit. If you don’t have compatible driver, it may cause shutdown problems.
– Then check the software on your computer. If you are using 64-bit Windows, you need to uninstall any third-party applications that might be causing conflicts. One client had 7-zip installed which caused Windows 7 to hang on shutdown. Another customer was using a Sticky Notes application written by Microsoft! After placing the note on the desktop, the computer started to freeze. Removing the note and attachment fixed the issue. Your best bet is to check all the free apps you may have downloaded and try to uninstall them. Other programs include anti-spyware or anti-virus applications, which can definitely cause this kind of problem.
– In addition to third-party applications, disable any additional programs that may run on the taskbar, such as graphics card monitoring software or printer management software. HP has some crappy printer monitoring programs that you don’t need and can cause shutdown issues. People have also reported that NVIDIA software is causing problems. You can quickly disable all of these apps by going to MSCONFIG and clicking Startup Items. Disable all startup items and see if your problem goes away. If so, re-enable the items one by one until you find the problematic startup item.
– If you still have problems, it might be a problem with the Windows service. This is a little tricky because it is difficult to know which service might be causing the problem. The best way to find out if this is a service problem is to go to MSCONFIG, click Services, check the box to hide all Microsoft services, and then uncheck whatever is left. These are all third party services. After that, you will have to kill the computer, but all services should be stopped when you log into Windows again. Then try shutting down as usual and see if you can do it. Then manually turn on one service at a time until you find the culprit.
If you follow the above steps carefully, you should be able to fix this problem. If you can’t, or need more help with certain instructions, leave a comment here and we’ll try to help!