How to fix a Dell Inspiron laptop that freezes or becomes unresponsive when left idle (easy steps)

Wondering why your Dell Inspiron laptop freezes when left idle? This post might be able to help you out. Read on and get some aid.

Constant lags, sluggishness, freezes, and system crashes are common symptoms of performance degradation, problematic hard drive, or memory-related issues like insufficient memory storage space on the computer. If you are fond of downloading complex files and applications on your computer, any of these symptoms is likely to occur earlier. If by any chance, you’ve landed into this page while searching for possible solutions to a similar issue on your Dell Inspiron laptop, then this post is for you.

Freezes or system lock ups usually transpire when something goes wrong with a certain application or operating system on your computer. It can happen at any time, while in the middle of using certain apps or whenever it is triggered by the root cause. The following solutions are applicable to deal with system lock up or freezing issue that occurs when your laptop is left idle for some time. Read on to learn how to troubleshoot a Dell Inspiron laptop that is constantly freezing or becomes unresponsive when left idle for a certain period of time.

Now, before we proceed, if you found this post while finding a solution to a different problem, then visit our Dell Inspiron troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this machine. If you can’t find something useful, then fill up our computer issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

What to do when your Dell Inspiron laptop is not responding or gets frozen when the screen is idle?

Below is a rundown of standard (generic) solutions and applicable workarounds to deal with freezing issues on your Dell laptop. If the first method fails to address the problem, try the next applicable solution(s) until the problem is gone. If none of these will work, then your next option would be to escalate the problem to Dell Support and seek further assistance and recommendations.

Before you begin, care to check your laptop’s memory status and make sure that your laptop has ample of storage space left to carry out more requests and processes. If necessary, remove unwanted and unused contents and programs to free up some space. If you need more space, then you can move some of your files and important data to a computer or other storage media for backups. If the problem persists even if your laptop has sufficient memory space available, then you may now start troubleshooting the problem with any of the following methods.

First method: Quit the offending application.

If your laptop freezes when the screen gets idle while using certain application or program, it is possible that the currently opened application is to blame. It might have get crashed and caused the operating system to halt. In this case, open the Task Manager then close the erratic program.

  1. To launch the Task Manager on Windows OS, press the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Alternatively, you can do a faster way which is by pressing the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keys on your laptop’s keyboard.

After you quit the problematic programs, restart your computer then see if that fixes the problem.


Second method: Scan your computer for some bugs or malware.

Freezes or system lock ups can also be triggered by some bugs or malware (malicious software) that has infiltrated your laptop’s operating system or a particular application. So if you have installed some security suite or antivirus software on your Dell Inspiron laptop, now is the time to for them to serve their purpose. Open and run your antivirus software then scan for virus and malware. Use your antivirus software or virus scanner/remover application to eliminate any found viruses and malware in your computer system. To do so, just open your virus scanner or remover program then follow the onscreen instructions to scan for and remove all scanned viruses and system bugs.

Third method: Uninstall, reinstall and update software.

If your laptop started to freeze when the screen is idle after installing a software update, then that update must be the culprit. It is possible that the new update is corrupted or has some bugs that might have caused the system to stop when the display is idle for a certain period. Unsuccessful updates can also be considered among the possible triggers as they can likewise cause the file to become corrupted or broken. Opening or running a corrupted file like videos or other programs may affect the system’s normal functions.

Fourth method: Update/restore operating system.

If your laptop is running on Windows 8 or earlier version, you can use its System Restore function to roll back changes to the computer according to restore points that are usually scheduled by Windows OS. By default, System Restore is enabled in Windows but can also be disabled during system configuration. Follow these steps to access then update or restore Windows OS on your Dell Inspiron laptop:

  1. Click the Search web and Windows box.
  2. Type Control Panel.
  3. Type in to search for Control Panel for Recovery.
  4. Select Recovery.
  5. Then tap Open System Restore.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Select the restore point you want.
  8. Click Next then Finish.

Fifth method: Reformat and reinstall operating system.

The last option for you to fix your Dell Inspiron laptop frozen when idle is a complete system restore. At this point, you may try to reformat and reinstall Windows on your laptop. Doing so will wipe all the data stored in your computer’s memory thus giving your device a clean fresh start. Aside from your data, an OS reformat can likewise eradicate complex bugs that may have resided in your computer’s operating system. Some bugs are just tough enough to withstand the prior procedures but not with a complete OS reformat.

Should you wish to give a shot, backup all your critical data then follow the given steps to reformat OS on your Dell Inspiron laptop. You will need to reinstall the operating system afterwards. The process may vary depending on the operating system version you are using on your laptop. The following steps are applicable to windows 10. Here’s how to perform system reset on your Dell Inspiron:

  • Click on Search the web and Windows box then type RESET.
  • Select the option to Reset this PC (System Setting).
  • Click Get Started.
  • Select the option to Remove everything.
  • If prompted, select the option to Just remove my files or Remove files and clean the drive.
    • Choose the first option if you want to keep your data in the computer after the system restore. Otherwise, go for the latter option.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the reset process.

Your laptop is now reset and restored to its factory defaults. See if that has fixed the system lock ups or Dell Inspiron freezing problem on your Dell Inspiron laptop.

To format the hard drive and remove all data, create a backup of your files then follow these steps:

  • Insert the recovery media into a USB port or DVD drive based on the format you used to the create the recovery media.
  • Turn off your laptop.
  • After 30 seconds, turn the laptop back on.
  • When you see the Dell logo screen, press the F12 key several times until you see Preparing one time boot menu.
  • Select the device under UEFI BOOT that matches your media type.
  • Select your language for use on the keyboard.
  • When you see the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
  • Click Recover from a drive.

Follow the onscreen-instructions to complete the reset and reformat. It could take a while depending on the number of files stored in your laptop drives. Once the reset is complete, your laptop restarts. See if that fixes the problem.

Other options to consider if the problem continues after an OS reformat

  • Replace the HDD. The HDD might be defective and needs replacement. If you have the tools and capable of dismantling your laptop, then you may go ahead and try replacing the HDD with a new or alternative SSD drive compatible with your Windows OS version in use. If you don’t have to guts to dismantle your laptop, then have a computer technician do the job instead to prevent causing more damage.
  • Call technical support. So you’ve tried every possible solution but to no avail? Unfortunately at this point, you may have run out of options to fix the problem on your end. That being said, you need more help as the problem already requires more advanced solutions and tools. You may contact either Microsoft Support or Dell Support for this matter.
  • Repair/Service. If calling technical support is not your option, then you can just take your laptop to a Dell service center nearby instead. The fact that none of the suggested workarounds is able to fix the freezing or system lock up issue on your Dell Inspiron laptop already denotes a possible hardware damage. If so, then tech service would be necessary.

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