My Computer Is Frozen and Control Alt Delete Not Working[Fixed]

Having a frozen computer with Ctrl+Alt+Del not working can be incredibly frustrating. I know this all too well, as it’s happened to me countless times before. But don’t worry; with some troubleshooting, you can easily solve the problem and help your computer get back up and running!

I will provide detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do exactly that so you can say goodbye to those desperate moments of rage when everything seems stuck! With comprehensive coverage of the technical issues behind why computers freeze, plus all the preventive measures you need for future problems–this blog post has got you covered.

14 Ways to Fix a Frozen Computer

To troubleshoot a frozen computer, it is important to determine whether the issue is related to hardware or software. Several methods can be used to identify the source of the problem and take corrective action accordingly.

1. Restarting the Computer

Often, the easiest fix for a frozen computer is restarting it. This basic troubleshooting step can help clear temporary files and processes on the system that may be causing conflicts or errors which could lead to freezing.

When you restart a computer, all unsaved data and changes made before the shutdown are lost, but sometimes this can be necessary if other troubleshooting methods fail. Additionally, restarting can resolve software issues that are preventing control+alt+delete from working properly by refreshing its functionality.

To ensure maximum benefit from rebooting your computer and restoring control alt delete command functionality most effectively, it’s best to completely shut down and shut off power to the machine rather than using quick-restart options like hibernation or sleep mode.

2. Using Task Manager to End Unresponsive Processes

One of the methods is to use Task Manager. It allows you to view currently running applications and processes which can help users identify if an unresponsive process is causing the problem. It also allows them to end any unresponsive process so that they can troubleshoot the freezing issues on their computers.



  1. Press Ctrl+Shift +Esc together at once from your keyboard to open up the Windows Task Manager window. Alternatively, go through ‘Start Menu’> ‘Task Manager’ then it will launch its window for you
  2. In the Windows task manager page, click the ‘Processes’ tab and check out all the live processes instantiated in the background there for the current user session

3. Updating or Uninstalling Problematic Software

Hardware or software issues may be to blame, but in many cases, it is related to programs that users have installed. The good news is that updating or uninstalling problematic software can help mitigate this problem, and this can easily be done through a few simple steps.

4. Scanning for Viruses or Malware

This is an important step in troubleshooting a frozen or crashing computer. It can help to identify any malicious software that may be responsible for the freezing issue. To scan for viruses and malware, it is recommended that users install and regularly update their antivirus software to provide effective protection against virus threats.

We always use Malwarebytes to scan our clients PCs.

5. Checking Computer Resources

When troubleshooting a frozen computer, it is important to check the resources on your system. This includes CPU usagememory usage, and disk usage. Too much strain on these resources can cause the computer to become unresponsive and freeze.

To check this information, use Task Manager on Windows systems (Ctrl + Shift + Esc). On the Performance tab, you will see an overview of each resource so you can identify where there may be issues.


You can also monitor specific processes by going into the Processes tab and deciding which ones need more attention or should have their activity stopped to free up space for other tasks.

6. Reinstalling or Updating Device Drivers

Updating or reinstalling device drivers is an important part of keeping a computer running efficiently and avoiding software conflicts, hardware issues, or other freezing problems. Outdated or corrupt drivers can cause system instability, and they need to be updated regularly to prevent freezes and other performance issues. To update the keyboard driver on your PC, access the Device Manager through Windows settings.

This will allow you to check for any outdated drivers that may be causing the issue and enable you to completely uninstall them before downloading compatible replacements directly from Microsoft’s website. Reinstalling outdated or corrupt device drivers can also resolve many software compatibility issues that could lead to unexpected freezes and glitches while using the computer both with regular applications as well as gaming options like Steam for example. By actively maintaining all of your peripheral devices (e.g., printers, keyboards, etc.) it is possible greatly reduce computer freezing episodes due to incompatibility issues linked to faulty components

7. Use Ctrl + Shift + Esc Key Combination

This is an important combination of key commands that can be used when troubleshooting a frozen computer. It allows users to open the Task Manager and end unresponsive programs or processes, which may result in the system returning to normal functioning.

To use this key combination, press and hold down the “Ctrl” and “Shift” keys simultaneously while pressing the “Esc” key once.

The Task Manager window will appear on your screen and allow you access to all misbehaving programs or processes currently running on your computer. You can then select each process by clicking them one at a time, then ending each process with either the End Task button (Windows 7) or End Process button (Windows XP).

By doing so, you should be able to free up memory resources needed for other tasks as well as begin resolving any underlying issues that cause the freezing of your system in the first place.

8. Update the Keyboard Driver

Updating the keyboard driver can prove to be a fix for your frozen computer. When your keyboard drivers are outdated or corrupt, this function will fail to work properly.

To check if it is the cause of your issue, try connecting a different keyboard in another system or using an alternate in yours. 

9. Check Your Keyboard

Another reason may be due to a faulty keyboard.

The first thing to do is to connect the keyboard directly to another system or try using a different keyboard on your system.

This can help you determine if there’s something wrong with your peripheral itself.

If the issue persists when using a different or new keyboard, then other possibilities such as outdated driversmalware infectionthird-party software conflicts, etc. should also be considered.

It’s important to keep in mind that an external device like a faulty keyboard can cause the Control Alt Delete function to not work properly on Windows 10/11 machines leading to further complications like freeze-ups or crashes of programs.

10. Perform a Clean Boot

A clean boot helps in disabling all startup programs and third-party services temporarily while troubleshooting the issue.

  1. Open the Run dialog by pressing Windows + R keys.
  2. Type msconfig and hit Enter.
  3. Go to the services tab.
  4. Checkmark the Hide all Microsoft services option located at the bottom left.
  5. Hit the Disable all button and press OK.
  6. Go to the Startup tab.
  7. Right-click on each app and select disable. 
  8. Restart Your PC.
  9. Check if the shortcut keys work.


11. Check for System Files

When troubleshooting a frozen computer, it is important to check for system files. Corrupted or missing system files can lead to issues like Freeze and other computer problems.

  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Type cmd and right-click ‘Run-as Administrator’
  3. Type ‘sfc /scannow’
  4. Hit Enter

12. Check for Windows Updates

Checking for Windows Updates is necessary to ensure your computer always has the latest updates, security patches, and bug fixes.

To check for available Windows updates on a computer running Microsoft Windows 10, click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Check for Updates. I

f there are pending updates available, click Install Now to download and install them, or select Advanced Options if you want to customize the installation process. Another way to check for available updates is by pressing the Win+I keys simultaneously. This will open the Windows Settings dialog box from where you can access Update & Security options.

It’s important to keep your system updated as this will help address potential issues related to the performance, compatibility, and security of your machine. Additionally, many software vendors require recent versions of their products to be installed to provide full functionality so keeping up with current operating system patches may be crucial in using certain programs properly

13. Perform a System Restore

Performing a system restore is an effective solution to fix a frozen computer. A system restore helps users take their system back to the state when it was functioning properly and thus can be used to revert any undesirable changes or incorrect configurations that cause laptop freezing or stop working.

  1. Open “System Properties” using either the Run prompt (Windows + R) or by searching it on the Windows Search bar located at the bottom left corner of your screen.
  2. Click on the System Protection tab from the System Properties window and then click on the System Restore button under the System Protection tab
  3. On the next dialog box titled “System Restore” click the Next button
  4. Choose the appropriate Restore Option from the list provided by clicking the radio buttons next to each option text
  5. Finally hit Next once again followed by the Finish button after which restarting your computer is highly recommended

14. Using Safe Mode to Troubleshoot

In many cases, using Safe Mode to troubleshoot when a computer is frozen can help resolve the situation.

  1. To start the system with Safe Mode, first turn off the computer and reboot it. As soon as you see the manufacturer logo, press F8 a couple of times to access Advanced Boot Options.
  2. Select Start Windows in Safe Mode on the Choose An Option screen that appears after rebooting.
  3. On the next screen, select either Safe Mode or Networking if you would like to access the internet while running Safe Mode.
  4. Once you are in Safe Mode, use it to diagnose and solve any problem areas with your computer that may be causing it to freeze or affect the control alt delete function not working.
  5. Try running anti-virus scansuninstalling problem programs, and drivers, and performing other tasks that will help detect any viruses, malware, or programs that are preventing your computer from functioning properly.
  6. You should also check in the device manager for corrupted drivers or software updates that may be required for the proper functioning of your system components like printer or audio devices etc., if available update them as well as uninstall any unused hardware device which could lead problems like freezing computer from time to time
  7. Finally, restart your computer normally by selecting Restart Windows Normally in the Advanced Boot Options menu; this should allow your computer to run without freezing due to potential issues identified and resolved during safe mode bootup now works normally with Control Alt Delete functionality included this time at least!

Seeking Professional Help if Necessary

Troubleshooting a frozen computer can be an uphill task that requires technical knowledge. If all efforts fail after trying varied methods, then professional help may be the only solution left.

Professional IT experts know how to figure out the underlying root causes for such problems very quickly and provide potential solutions accordingly. Relying on them will save you tons of time and energy as they can quickly identify system configuration issues or hardware/software malfunctions causing the issue with their expertise.

Furthermore, getting help from professionals eliminates any risks of further damage caused by tinkering with complicated settings or running suspicious programs on your system without proper guidance.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Future Freezing Issues

Taking on preventative measures such as keeping the computer up to date, avoiding the installation of malicious and incompatible software, and regularly cleaning up files for storage can help avoid similar issues in the future.

Keeping the Computer Updated

It is important to regularly update your computer or laptop to help protect it against the latest bugs, viruses, and other security threats.

Updated devices can ensure smoother performance, new feature updates, increased compatibility with other software and hardware, and a stronger overall security profile.

Some of the most effective measures to keep your computer running optimally and securely include enabling automatic updates, checking for software updates regularly, installing antivirus and antimalware programs, and regularly scanning your machine for potential threats. Keeping your device up-to-date can also help maintain a healthy balance between power usage and performance.

Not updating your computer can open it up to security risks, including potential malware infections. Furthermore, outdated drivers may not function as intended, which can lead to system instability or errors that may cause data loss or risk of exploitation by malicious actors. For these reasons, it is important to take steps to keep your computer updated.

Avoiding Installing Malicious or Incompatible Software

It’s important to be mindful when downloading and installing new software as malicious or incompatible software can introduce major issues into your system. Malicious code such as viruses, ransomware, trojan horses, and spyware are created to cause harm by stealing personal data, disrupting operations on the computer, or simply causing chaos. Incompatible programs may conflict with existing installed applications generating error messages or running very slowly resulting in a frozen computer.

  1. Ensure you perform regular maintenance tasks – keep your operating systems up-to-date with the latest patches and install antivirus protection to detect any potential malware infection.
  2. Download only from trusted sources – some websites provide downloads of free apps that can include hidden malicious payloads so check reviews associated with untrusted sites before downloading anything onto your device.
  3. Uncheck all addons during the installation process – many downloadable file bundles contain extra hidden items which could either slow down performance on a machine or include signatureless malware which is harder to detect than traditional virus signatures if it does get through security measures taken within an organization’s networked environment.
  4. Check permissions upon installation – analyze each app closely for permission requests before agreeing to move ahead; unnecessary access should never be granted without careful consideration about how this could impact system stability and security across other connected computers in the same physical office locations

Regularly Cleaning Up Computer Files and Storage

Removing unnecessary files from your computer can help optimize system performance and free up disk space. Corrupted or outdated files, as well as temporary files generated by programs, can take up space on the hard drive and slow down a computer’s operation. Keeping an organized storage setup is important for easy access to saved data since it prevents file overlap which consumes extra memory usage. Furthermore, tidying up desktop folders regularly reduces the chances of mistakenly deleting essential documents while attempting to erase junk items.


Computer freezing and the unresponsiveness of the Control Alt Delete key combination are unfortunately common issues. To solve it, you should first do basic troubleshooting to check for hardware issues or software conflicts.

You can also try restarting your computerperforming virus scans and regular maintenance tasks, reinstalling outdated drivers, using task manager to end processes consuming too much CPU resources, uninstalling problematic third-party software, or updating Windows system files.

Users must stay aware of potential sources of their computer problems and take preventative measures such as regularly updating their operating systems with important patches, avoiding the installation of malicious programs, and cleaning up temporary files on time to minimize the chances of experiencing frequent freezing issues in the future.

Without taking these proactive steps a user may be frequently confronted with a frozen computer making all operations temporarily unavailable which can lead to additional time wasted trying to resolve this issue again later.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...