From my experience, which includes working over 10 years in the computer field, and the research I have gathered from my web readers is that the number one reason that causes a laptop to freeze is directly linked to video.
Here are some of the more common scenarios:
- Watching/streaming a video/movie online such as Youtube
- Watching a DVD
- Playing an installed game or an online game (Facebook game)
- Adobe Flash crashes while playing a video or game
Here are the exact steps I would take in troubleshooting this type of problem.
Step 1 – Update the Drivers
The most important thing you can do for a graphics card is making sure it has the most recent drivers installed. This is the one piece of hardware that must have its drivers kept up to date.
For Major Brand Computers
If you have a computer such as a Dell or HP then you want to make sure you download the latest video drivers from their website.
Just go under the ‘Support’ section of their website and they typically have a search box where you type in the model of your computer which returns a list of the latest drivers for you to download.
For Custom Built Computers
Go to the graphics card manufacturer website to download the latest drivers. ATI/AMD and Nvidia are the most common.
Driver Scanner 2012 is software that will scan your computer and make sure your computer’s drivers are kept up to date. It’s made by Uniblue, a very reputable company and actually performs up to standard.
Step 2 – CPU or GPU (Graphics Card) Overheating
This is a step you won’t find on too many other websites.When you are watching a video online or playing a high-end game on your laptop it is very taxing on both the CPU and graphics card.If either one overheats it could cause your laptop to freeze or even just shut down without notification.
Step 3 – RAM & Graphics Card Memory
This step is mainly for those who are having problems with freezing while playing a game such as Call of Duty or Word of Warcraft.
Does Your Laptop & Video Card Meet Minimum Requirements
Gamers will often try to play games on their laptop when they do not meet the minimum requirements of the game.
Your best option here is to lower the resolution at which you play the game. It may not look as good, but it might allow you to play without your laptop freezing up.
Most laptops do make it easy to upgrade the RAM. There is typically an access panel to the memory chips on the bottom of the laptop.
Depending on the make and model of your laptop and the operating system you are running, you want to make sure you are running an optimal amount of RAM.
Here are some basic guidelines:
- Windows XP – 4GB minimum (you really shouldn’t be gaming on this laptop if it’s still running XP)
- Windows 7 32bit – 4GB minimum (still not very optimal for gaming)
- Windows 7 64bit – 6GB minimum or 8GB optimal
Step 4 – Update Adobe Flash
Many websites such as Youtube and Facebook utilize Adobe Flash to deliver videos or games to users. Adobe Flash is a great but it can be very problematic. It seems to ‘break’ very easily and constantly wants to update.
Visit Adobe’s website and make sure your Flash is up to date.