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Nelson Asks Why Programs "Freeze"
I just wondered. Sometimes I download a program and it starts freezing my computer. How come the people that make programs don't test them before they allow us to download them?


Every software developer tests his/her programs before allowing others to download them. No software developer would want to release a poorly programmed application. It does happen, but it's rare.

The main cause of program freezes are not normally the software applications themselves. The number one cause of program freezes is low or not enough available system resources. While related to the amount of RAM you have installed it's not the same. Available system resources refers to the amount of computer memory you have available to use at any given time. Since you're using Windows XP, you shouldn't have the memory leakage problem so prevalent on Windows 9x computers (Windows 95/98/ME).

There are several things you can do to optimize the amount of available system resources. First, while Windows XP will run with 128MB of RAM it won't run well; 256MB of RAM is what we consider bare minimum. It is our recommendation that you have at least 528 MB of RAM installed. RAM is not expensive, and most computer stores will assist you with installing it. It takes less than 5 minutes to install more RAM in your computer and it's the single most important thing you can do to improve your computer's performance.

Second, you should make sure you don't have unnecessary programs starting with Windows. You can use Windows built-in Configuration utility (Click Start--->Run and type in MSCONFIG). When you open the configuration utility click the "Startup" tab at the top. You should disable any startup programs you don't need. There should be a very short list there. You don't need printer helpers, graphics programs, chat programs, email programs, or other non-essential programs starting up with Windows. You must allow your anti-virus and firewall to start with Windows, obviously, as you want to be protected the moment Windows starts up. You should also allow one of your anti-spyware programs to start with Windows, but never more than one. Let common sense be your guide. Anything that is not necessary you should disable. You can always re-enable any programs you disabled if you find it necessary. If you want a program to help you control your startup programs with an easier-to-use interface, that gives you more information about each program that is in your startup list, we recommend a free program called "Starter". To learn more about Starter and to download it if you wish, see

Among the other major causes of programs "freezing" are outdated drivers, spyware/malware/adware, and software conflicts.

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