Computer Keeps Freezing Every Few Seconds – What To Do
Short freezes are referred to a micro stutters and can be incredibly annoying. They mainly occur in Windows and can have multiple causes. It doesn’t matter how fast your computer is, whether you use SSD or HDD, have water cooling or what processor you use, the causes are many. There are ways to fix it though and this tutorial is going to show you some things to try if your computer keeps freezing every few seconds.
Micro stutters can be caused by hardware, software, operating system, temperature or something completely different. The first thing to do is to figure out if the stuttering occurs when you’re performing a particular task on a computer or whether it is truly random.
If it’s while performing a particular task, that gives you an idea of where to start looking. If it is random, we’re going to have to dig deeper.
Stop your computer freezing
We should first check Windows Event Viewer to see if there are system errors that could be causing the stuttering. This could tell us right away what’s causing your problems.
- Type ‘event’ into the Windows search box and select Event Viewer.
- Open Event Viewer, select Windows Logs and then System from the left menu.
- Look for periodic red or yellow warnings and troubleshoot them.
Yellow warnings are not usually errors that cause stuttering but if you don’t have any reds, try addressing some of those. It is impossible to list all the possible errors here, but read the error description in the lower pane, Google the error code or description and go from there.
Check your hard drives
Hard drives are a common cause of micro stuttering, especially if you’re still using HDD. We can check their state with a neat free app called CrystalDiskInfo. Download it and let it check your drives for errors. Excessive errors could be a warning of imminent failure or show a requirement for a full (not quick) format.
If you see errors, consider backing up your data and formatting the drive. If it’s your Windows drive, right click it in Windows Explorer, select Properties, Tools and select Error Checking. Let the tool check the drive for errors and fix them. Don’t worry about SFC /Scannow as we’ll try that in a minute.
Check all of your drivers to make sure they are up to date. Check your graphics drivers, audio drivers, printer, peripherals and especially check your motherboard drivers. Use Device Manager or download each driver from the manufacturer website. It is quite common for older or corrupt drivers to cause Windows to stutter so updating them all is good practice.
Even if there is no newer driver for your audio or motherboard, it is worth downloading a fresh copy from the manufacturer and reinstalling it anyway.
Most graphics drivers can overwrite older drivers. Otherwise using DDU is the correct way to properly remove an old driver ready for a new one. The tool is free to use and is what I use all the time when troubleshooting graphics drivers or performing a clean install of them.
Check Windows for errors
You could also use System File Checker. It’s an integrated tool that scans your Windows installation for errors and automatically fixes them. If you have already checked your drives for errors, you can use this tool to check Windows.
- Right click the Windows Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin).
- Type ‘sfc /scannow’ and hit Enter. Wait for the check to complete.
- Type ‘dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth’ and hit Enter.
In the SFC check, you will see a progress meter run as the scan progresses. The tool will automatically fix any errors it finds and will tell you what went on afterwards. Let it finish and then type the DISM command. Deployment Image Servicing and Management will check Windows further for errors, including Windows Store and Windows Update.
Another key cause of some micro stuttering was Microsoft’s patches to address the Meltdown and Spectre exploits. These patches slowed down most computers and even caused my i7 system to slow down to a crawl and micro stutter. Upgrading to the new Windows 10 May Update fixed it for me, it might fix it for you.
- Navigate to the Windows 10 May Update page and select Update Now.
- Allow Windows to download the update and install it onto your computer.
This will take around an hour so only do it when you have the time to sit around and wait. If the update doesn’t work, go back to the page and select Download Tool Now. Use the tool to create USB installation media for another computer. You will need at least a 12GB USB stick to install it on and then perform a fresh install of Windows. Back up all your data first though.
If updating Windows doesn’t fix it, the other main culprit is RAM.
Check your RAM
Your system RAM is a crucial component in your computer as it controls everything your process gets to see. Any issues with the timing or accessing your memory can cause micro stuttering. I use MemTest86+ to check RAM. It is much better than the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool at finding faults. You will need an empty USB drive for this to work.
- Download MemTest86+ and copy it to your USB drive.
- Reboot your computer with the USB drive installed.
- Set your computer to boot from the USB, either by selecting it at boot or pressing F8 as soon as your keyboard lights come on and selecting it from there.
- Set the tool to scan using the keyboard shortcuts.
MemTest86+ takes a while and I tend to run it overnight. Set it to perform 6-8 passes and leave the tool to it. If you see excessive errors, you know to troubleshoot memory by changing it or swapping RAM slots on your motherboard.
Those are some key ways to stop your computer freezing every few seconds. There are lots of others but these will fix the majority of them. Got any other suggestions for stopping Windows 10 from freezing? Tell us about them below if you do!