If a program crashes and stops responding, what to do (Windows)

Crash app
The most popular question among users who use computers often is: why does a program crash every now and then? I don’t think even Bill Gates would be able to make a precise diagnosis and explain why a program crashes, freezes, or stops responding anymore.
Luckily there are some good tools we can use to understand why a program crashes or hangs (that is, it closes by itself) so that we can run for cover and get our program back up and running.
Let’s see together then how to fix errors and program crash problems on Windows, offering you concrete solutions that are easy to apply (although not as easy to understand!).

Why does a program freeze or crash?

Basically, when an application crashes, they are several reasons:

  • Program hangs on system-wide / Kernel / API call; this means that the request that the program makes to the operating system to do something (such as opening or reading a file), does not receive a response from the system and therefore causes the block (such as when you do not know what to answer during an exam).
  • The program hangs in an infinite loop with recursive calls that never end.
  • The program is not tested on our operating system, resulting in incompatible (partially or totally).
  • The computer can’t read data fast enough or because the memory is full and can’t do anything else.
  • A specific application crashes regularly and doesn’t work because there is a bug or conflict with other software.

You can theoretically and practically solve almost any problem, but let’s not expect miracles: if a bug blocks the start of the program, only the developer can fix it!

Use reliability monitoring

One of the tools built into Windows for understanding why a program is crashing or not responding is Reliability monitoring, which can be called up from the Start menu at the bottom left by typing “reliability” and opening the respective item.
Activity monitoring

With this monitor, we will be able to evaluate in real-time which process caused the problem on our program, so that we can intervene on it to solve. We have talked about this powerful tool in depth in our guide Finding what’s causing problems in Windows 10 7 and 8 (reliability monitor).

Use Windows compatibility

If the program is old or not yet perfectly compatible with the latest version of Windows 10 we are using, we can also use the Windows compatibility tool, so as to force the program to start with some compatibility features (making them believe they are running on Windows 7 for example).
To use this tool we first identify the program’s executable .exe file that freezes or crashes by opening File Explorer from the Start menu or using a powerful search program like Everything; after identifying the .exe file, click on it with the right mouse button, click on Property and press on the card Compatibility.
Compatibility tool

In the new screen, we can launch the automatic compatibility tool by pressing on Run the Compatibility Troubleshooter or by acting manually, placing the checkmark on Run the program in compatibility mode for and choosing Windows 7 or Windows 8 (based on the age of the software that freezes or crashes). This should fix most of the problems with old apps crashing or not working properly on Windows 10.

READ ALSO: Make all programs work in Windows 10

Other ways to fix errors and crash problems

If the tools integrated into Windows 10 have not solved the problem with the program in freezing or perpetually crashing, we will have to use some free tools to try every way.

The first tool we can use is WhatIsHang is a tool for experts Nirsoft branded (famous for making many useful tools) that lets you find out why a program is not responding in Windows.

The software is portable, requires no installation, and tries to detect programs and processes that are currently unresponsive and get stuck and stuck.
Information about such applications is displayed in the program interface with the following data: the title or name of the blocked process or window, the process ID, and the full path to the executable program. The information provided by WhatIsHang can be well understood only by an expert systems engineer, however, whoever has a little familiarity and a “geek” culture could at least guess, in some cases, the cause of the problem. A search on the Internet on the basis of the report provided will certainly provide support for any data displayed.
WhatIsHang is very similar to another Nirsoft tool already reported in the past and always for experts: AppCrashView to understand why a program closes and ends in error.

A normal and less experienced user might use the Windows event log to fix errors, but interpreting it is not within everyone’s reach. To make it easier to understand the errors in the Windows event log we can use the MyEvent Viewer tool, also from Nirsoft, so as to be able to interpret any type of error.
MyEvent Viewer

By adequately filtering all the results and looking for those related to the program itself, so as to understand if the problem is related to other processes not immediately visible during the crash or freeze (for example the video card drivers or any other device).

Conclusions

As we have seen, the tools to solve errors and crash problems on Windows 10 are not lacking, but the collected data can hardly be analyzed and understood by novice users: it is better to collect all possible information and bring everything to a computer expert, who will surely know where to act.

If the problem is with our outdated or underpowered hardware, we can always read our guides Improve your PC by changing a single piece, and upgrading the hardware is How to upgrade your old PC and resurrect any computer.
If the program crashes and you don’t want to close, please read our article on how instead of Force quit an unresponsive program on Windows.

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