How to Find out Why Your PC Crashed or Froze

Smashing and freezing is an almost inevitable part of owning a PC or laptop. Nearly everyone will experience some unresponsive screens, while the infamous blue screen of death always seems to be around.

Once you’ve finally rebooted your device, it’s important to know what really caused the problem in the first place. This helps you prevent something similar from happening in the future.

There are two tools we recommend to find out why your PC hangs or crashes, both free and easy to use.

Check reliability history

All recent versions of Windows have a reliability monitor built directly into the Operating System that helps identify any recent issues on your device.

To launch it, just type ‘reliability’ in the search bar next to the Start Menu and click on the first option. From here, you’ll see an overview of ‘events’ over the past few days, like the screenshot below:

Windows 10 Reliability Monitor

The big difference if your device is frozen is that you will see a red X, although they work the same way here. Click on either icon type and you’ll see a summary in the table below that icon.

You have two options here. If you think it’s a specific error, click ‘View Specifications’. To go through all recent issues to try and identify the guilty party, click ‘View all issue reports’.

Windows 10 Reliability Monitor

The former will show details about that particular issue, while the latter shows a list for you to find related issues. If the problem is caused by the driver, there may be an option to fix it there and then. If not, you should copy the description and search for the solution on Google.

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Windows 10 Problem Details

Check memory files from blue screen problem

When your PC gets the so-called ‘blue screen of death’ it moves all active memory files to local storage. Checking this can be a helpful way to find out what’s causing the problem.

There is a way to do this natively, but for ease of use you should download BlueScreenView. Although the design of the program is a bit old, it provides a great overview of the files that were destroyed when your device crashed.

The ‘Error Check Chain’ and ‘Error Checking Code’ tabs will prove particularly useful, as they display the same information as would be displayed on your PC during a Blue Screen problem. We can’t reproduce the blue screen issue for the purposes of this guide, but the screenshot below shows you what can happen.

BlueScreenView App
Image: NirSoft

It’s important to note that these are precautionary measures and won’t help if you’re having problems right now. The most common solution for unresponsive error is to reboot manually via power button, while for blue screen error you should check our fixes article.

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