FIX: Programs not responding in Windows 10 & 11

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Many users complained that the programs are not responding on their Windows 10 and 11 PCs.
  • This issue is often caused by the apps themselves which are malfunctioning because of corrupt files. 
  • Another possible problem is that your computer is running too many apps while out of resources. 
programs not responding in Windows

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Do you have programs that are not responding on your computer? This can be quite an annoying issue, especially if you’re working on an important project.

However, there’s a way to fix the problem and today we’ll show you how to do that on Windows 10. You’ll also find guidance below in case of using a Windows 11 PC.

Why are the programs not responding?

Since it’s probably one of the oldest recorded issues in Windows operating systems that still occurs today, almost every user has dealt with it at some point.

What do you do if programs are not responding? Well, it’s not an easy question to answer because there can be a lot of factors causing the problem.

The reasons for this issue are ranging from a faulty system and bad drivers to malicious software and more. Since there’s no universal cause to this problem, it all depends.

Because of that, we’ll try to list as many solutions as possible to cover as many scenarios as possible.

So, if you’re not sure what actually caused your programs to go unresponsive, review each of the solutions presented and see what works for you!

What can I do if Windows 10 & 11 programs aren’t responding?

1. Restart your computer

Obviously, the first and the simplest thing you should do is restart your computer, especially if the issue occurred recently.

Before you move on to more advanced solutions, choose that Restart option and see if the program is still unresponsive after the restart.

2. End task the program

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Task Manager from the list.
  2. Now you can either right-click the app that’s not responding and select End task from the menu or just click the app and hit the End task button from the lower right corner.

3. Update your app

  1. Type microsoft store in the Windows Search tab and click on the app from the results.
  2. Select the Library icon from the bottom-left corner, then you can hit the Update button for each app that has an update available, or you can just click the Update all button to update all of them in a single shot.
  3. Restart your PC and check if your app works fine.

This is how you can update the apps you got from Microsoft Store but if the unresponsive app is from another source, you will need to check its menu for this option.

In the unlikely situation where the app doesn’t have an update feature, head over to the developer’s website and get the latest version.

Check our guide on what to do if Microsoft Store doesn’t work in Windows 10 and repair it quickly with just a few steps.

4. Reinstall the program

  1. Click the Start button and select Settings.
  2. Choose Apps from the menu.
  3. Now scroll down in the right pane, click on the app you want to eliminate and select Uninstall.
  4. Next, reinstall the app and see if it works after that.

Updating an outdated program in Windows isn’t always a piece of cake. So, sometimes, your best bet is to uninstall it and install the latest version.

Reinstallation is also useful if your program gets corrupted as it deletes all damaged files and replaces them with healthy ones.

If none of the solutions from above managed to solve the problem, uninstall the program, and install the latest version of it.

Assuming that you want to completely remove an application, we strongly advise you to use uninstaller software that deletes all leftover files that might cause problems in the future.

By using a dedicated uninstaller application, you’ll completely remove all files related to the problematic software.

Once the software is completely removed, install it again and the issue should be resolved.

5. Perform a full antivirus scan

  1. Type security in the Search tab and click on Windows Security from the results.
  2. Select Virus & threat protection.
  3. If you don’t have a third-party antivirus, you can now select the Full scan or the Offline scan option and click on the Scan now button.
  4. If not, you can click on Open app to go to your antivirus and perform a full scan from its options.
  5. For instance, in Bitdefender, the System Scan option is accessible right from the dashboard but if you have a different antivirus that might be different.

Since we’re talking about antiviruses, you might as well check if your system is infected with malicious software.

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Open your antivirus or Windows Defender and perform a full scan. If there is any malicious software on your computer, your antivirus solution will remove them.

After that, restart your computer and run the program once again. If the problem persists, move on to another solution.

6. Disable your antivirus

  1. Click on the Search tab, type security, and select Windows Security from the results.
  2. Choose Virus & threat protection.
  3. If you don’t have a third-party antivirus, you should be able to toggle off the protection from this menu. If you do, click on Open app to go to your antivirus and disable it from the security menu.

Windows 10 is infamous for preventing updates within certain apps and software. What we want to do is check if your current antivirus solution conflicts with some of your programs.

The easiest way to check this is to turn off your antivirus for a couple of minutes and run the program again.

If the program launches without any problems, it’s definitely interfering with your antivirus. In that case, you’ll want to whitelist that program and exclude it from further scans.

But be careful, and make sure that the program is completely safe to use and virus-free before you exclude it.

Another solution is to change your antivirus or even completely switch to ESET NOD32 Antivirus, a comprehensive tool that communicates very well with Windows PCs.

If Windows Defender does not operate well in this case, we strongly recommend that you install this third-party antivirus program that can run deeper checks for hidden threats and notify you what is the exact issue.

7. Perform SFC and DISM scans

7.1 Run a SFC scan

  1. Search for cmd and click on Run as administrator to open Command Prompt with full privileges.
  2. Type the following command, and press Enter:sfc /scannow
  3. The scanning process will take a little bit of time, so don’t interfere with it while it repairs your system.

If you’re unable to perform this step, check what you can do if you can’t access Command Prompt as administrator and fix this problem right away.

7.2 Run a DISM scan

  1. Type cmd in the Search tab, and select Run as administrator.
  2. Paste the following command and press Enter to run it: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  3. As the SFC scan, this process will also take a while, so make sure you don’t interrupt it.

Certain registry errors might also cause unresponsiveness because everything your program does goes into the registry. So, in the case of any disruptions, you might end up with an unresponsive program.

The SFC and DISM scans will check for system problems, including your registry so after these scans, the problems should start working normally.

You may also check our list with the best registry cleaner tools for Windows 10 that will help you solve any possible problems.

8. Reinstall your system

  1. Click Start and open Settings.
  2. Open the Update & Security section.
  3. Choose Recovery from the left pane and click Get Started under the Reset this PC.
  4. Choose Keep my files.
  5. After the procedure is finished, install your programs once again, and they should work without any problems.

And finally, your last resort and the most time-consuming solution is to completely reinstall your system. You should do this only if you can’t find any other solution.

Keep in mind that once you do that, you’ll have to install all your programs and apps once again, which can be painful. Also, don’t forget to create a backup of your data and files to keep them safe from deletion.

What can I do if programs are not responding in Windows 11?

This problem is so old that we’ve been confronted with it since the early versions of Windows so obviously, the latest OS didn’t escape this conundrum.

Luckily, Windows 11 is not so different than its older counterpart so all of the solutions we proposed for Windows 10 above will work just fine, with just minor differences in the graphics and positions of the menus.

For instance, to uninstall the problematic apps, you will have to click on the Installed apps from the Settings to get to the list of programs.

The rest of the solutions are almost identical so you can go ahead and apply them to fix the problem for non-responsive apps in Windows 11.

We hope at least one of these solutions helped you resolve the problem with the programs in Windows. You should also learn what to do if the application is not responding.

Once again, since this is a widespread issue, we can’t know for certain what caused it for you. If you have any questions or suggestions, place them in the comments below.

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