Troubleshooting freezes

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Update drivers

Be sure to update drivers before trying anything else here.

Rule out obvious causes

Freezes can be quite difficult to pinpoint. Let's start with the obvious.

Software causes

Freezes are typically caused by hardware but they can also be caused by certain software.

Anti-virus

The first thing to do is disable your anti-virus software to rule out interference with the game.
Try adding the World of Warcraft folder to the exceptions list in the scanner if this is the cause of the freeze.

Firewall

Some firewall software can deadlock the system or cause other issues (mainly errors).
If you have no other protection, enable the Windows Firewall when disabling other firewall software.

DVD/Blu-ray

Some DVD and Blu-ray software can lock up the system which can be a bummer if you like to watch movies and play WoW at the same time.

Hardware causes

Overheating or power problems

Overheating is probably the most common cause of computers freezing.
  1. Run HWMonitor.
  2. Check the value for your CPU temperature in Celsius.
    If the value is above 53C and the CPU isn't an Intel Core 2 or AMD Phenom it might be too high.
    If the value is 80C or higher and the computer isn't a laptop, it's definitely too high.
  3. Check the +12V reading if it is available.
    If it is below 11.8, the computer may freeze under heavy load. It is preferred that this be as close to 12 as possible.

Intel video

If you have an Intel graphics card/chip, see CVar fixedFunction.

GeForce MX 4000

This card is the bare minimum supported card. If it is possible, get a new card.

GeForce 6100 / 6150 / nForce 430 / 405

This is the same as a GeForce MX 4000. If the mainboard has a PCI-e slot, install a PCI-e card.

GeForce 70XX / 9100

These integrated chips are prone to overheating. If the mainboard has a PCI-e slot, install a PCI-e card.

GeForce GTX 560 Ti

Depending on how it is installed, this card may overheat after ten or about minutes of playing, crashing the computer. This is easy to recognize even without monitoring tools as fans start running loudly at full speed. Do that you can do to improve the cooling. If nothing helps, use MSI Afterburner or similar tool to underclock (slow down) the GPU.

ATI Radeon X1000 series (X1250 / X1600 / X1800)

Check for updated versions of these drivers on AMD's website.
If there are no updates available, try the Omega Drivers.

SoundBlaster Live!

This card used to be notorious for freezing on certain chipsets. If this is the cause of a freeze, try running WoW with -nosound. It may or may not help.

Video capture / TV card

If you have a video capture or TV card, try removing it from the system.

Advanced troubleshooting

The following should only be attempted with assistance unless you know what you're doing.

Forcing a blue screen crash on a frozen system

It is possible to cause a blue screen crash using the keyboard by enabling a feature in Windows' keyboard driver.

See this article for more information.

Forcing a blue screen crash using PsTools from another system

You can cause a blue screen crash on a frozen system from another system using PsTools.

You will need a user account with a password on the affected system. The Remote Registry service needs to be enabled for this to work. Windows Firewall may need to be disabled on the target system.

The command to crash the system is:

pskill \\<system name> -u <username> -p <password> winlogon

Please note that this can cause data loss if used on a system that is not frozen. Only do this on the frozen computer.

This command will cause blue screen error 0x0000021A.

You may be able to restart a frozen system with this:

psshutdown \\<system name> -u <username> -p <password> -r -t 1

If either of these methods work, the system may just appear to be frozen. The video driver may need to be updated or the card itself may need to be replaced.