Surface Pro Keeps Freezing or is Frozen: Why & How to Fix It

If your Surface Pro keeps freezing or is frozen, it is often due to too many programs running, an outdated operating system, or issues with drivers. Software-related issues and the presence of malware can also lead to your device freezing up at times.

Dealing with a freezing Surface Pro or other device can not only be annoying, but can derail your work, homework, or fun. Over my years using various laptops and other devices daily, I have experienced my fair share of freezing-related issues.

Thankfully, there are some quick and easy fixes to try that can get your Surface Pro back up and running. Without any further ado, this guide is going to take you through some of the potential reasons your Surface Pro is freezing, and how to fix this common issue.

Key Takeaways

  • The freezing problems you are dealing with commonly occur when there are too many programs running, your OS is outdated, your drivers are damaged, there is malware on your device, or due to software-related issues.
  • The ways you can fix or deal with this freezing issue include closing unneeded programs, updating your OS and drivers, getting the malware off of your system, and uninstalling (and then reinstalling) the problematic software.
  • If you cannot identify the exact reason for the freezing, or just need a general way to fix the issue in the short-term, force restarting your Surface Pro can often be effective.

1. Too Many Programs Running

If your Surface Pro is running lots of different programs/apps at a time, or you have dozens of browser windows open, experiencing some freezing or lag is common. Your computer only has a finite amount of computing power, and overloading it can impact performance.

If you try to do too much at once, your Surface Pro is likely to operate at a snail’s pace and could freeze up entirely. Also, be aware that some programs may be running in the background, and can be using up valuable resources without you even knowing about it.

To deal with this, simply go into your Task Manager and close the programs that you don’t currently want or need at the moment. Always check and make sure what something is before closing it though, as some of the processes running are very important and should be left alone.

2. Operating System is Outdated

There is the possibility that a bug or glitch in an old Windows update is causing your device to freeze. Windows frequently sends out updates that address these issues, but your device might not install them automatically and you could have missed one.

The way to see if your Windows operating system is out of date is thankfully quite easy. Simply go to Settings > Update & Security > Check for updates. This will quickly and easily show you if you have an update available.

If you do, make the proper updates and see if they help stop the freezing. If you are all up to date and still experiencing your freezing-related issues, then the OS likely isn’t the source of your problem.

3. Outdated or Damaged Drivers

If it isn’t an outdated operating system that is causing problems, it could be outdated drivers. You generally don’t need to update or worry about drivers if your device is working as expected, but if it is experiencing issues and you can’t identify the source, it could certainly be the drivers.

Using a third-party driver updater tool is a quick and easy solution, just make sure to download and use one that is legitimate and trustworthy.

In addition to outdated drivers, there is a chance that your drivers being damaged could be causing the freezing, and updating them will often successfully deal with this issue too.

4. Issues With a Specific App, Program, or Piece of Software

If your Surface Pro seems to only freeze when you are doing a certain thing or using a certain piece of software, it could be that program that is actually causing the issue. Make sure to test it out a few times to find the specific app that is the likely culprit.

This issue could be due to some sort of incompatibility problem, the files could be corrupted, or the program might simply use too many of your available resources. The way to deal with this is to uninstall the program, and then reinstall it to see if the problem continues.

If this problem persists, then the app itself likely isn’t the issue and there is a deeper problem. Try the other fixes listed in this guide, but also consider reaching out to a professional if you are stumped.

5. Malware Being Present on Your Device

When malware has managed to infiltrate your Surface Pro, it could be the reason for your freezing. In addition to freezing, malware can cause your computer to shut down, run slowly, and can put your files, passwords, and other sensitive information at risk.

Malware can find its way onto your Surface Pro by accidentally downloading it, visiting a fraudulent website, opening a link, and through many other methods. If you want to deal with the malware, you need to run a virus scan that can identify and remove it.

To do this, begin by opening the Start menu and search for Windows Security. Once there, click on Virus & threat protection, and then Scan options. This will let you run a quick scan, a full scan, a custom scan and even a Microsoft Defender Offline scan.

Once the malware has been identified and removed, simply restart your computer and see if the issues you were experiencing have been rectified.


Here are a few common questions related to the issue of a frozen Surface Pro, along with their answers.

Why does my Surface Pro freeze after a period of activity?

If your Surface Pro seems to always freeze after you have left it idle for a while, there are a couple of things you can do. First, you should attempt the fixes above, and consider changing your power settings. 

If these don’t work, run the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit and see if that helps you deal with the issue. If not, you may want to consider resetting the device (don’t forget to make a backup). If that doesn’t help, the freezing is likely due to a problem with the hardware.

How to force restart your Surface Pro?

If your Surface Pro is completely frozen and you want to restart it, you will need to force a restart. The way to force restart your device depends on the model you have. 

If you have a Surface Pro 4 or older, you need to press and hold both the volume up and the power button at the same time for 15 seconds until the screen turns off, then release. After 10 seconds pass, you can turn the Surface Pro back on with the Power button.

But if you have a Surface Pro 5 or newer, you need to press and hold the Power button until the device shuts off and restarts, which is usually around 20 seconds or so, then release the button.

Final Thoughts

Whether the problem originates from damaged drivers, software issues, or too many programs using up your computing power, dealing with a frozen or laggy Surface Pro is never a fun experience.

We hope that this guide has been able to help you identify why your Surface Pro is freezing, and has helped you arrive at a fix that works for you.

How often does your Surface Pro freeze, and which fix generally works the best for you? Let us know in a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *