Fix for Windows 8 Hanging and Freezing

Over the weekend I installed Windows 8 RTM hoping to do some Metro Style app development. Unfortunately; this didn’t happen and I ended up spending the weekend debugging and fixing up my Windows 8 installation – not fun!

So here I would like to save all those who read my blog hours of debugging and scavenging the net to find an answer to why their system randomly freezes and hangs on them even though they’ve just did a clean fresh build/install of Windows 8.

It is not a software compatibility issue nor anything to do with third party applications. It’s to do with a new “feature” added to Windows 8 called “dynamic tick”. It’s a feature aimed to help increase your devices battery life by varying the speed of your device’s processor based on its workload. However, this feature does not seem to work very well with older processors and is still – what I call; experimental. And this is a known issue.

By default it is turned on in Windows 8 RTM. But you can turn it off following the instructions provided by Tripp Parks found here or my expanded version below.

My suggestion is: leave dynamic tick turned on until you experience a random crash. First time you experience a random crash – turn off dynamic tick. Otherwise you could end up in a similar situation as me with a corrupted Windows 8 partition/drive and would be a nightmare to fix.

Steps to turn off dynamic tick:

Step 1

On the start screen right click anywhere (just not on a tile). This will reveal the app bar as shown below. Next click on the ‘All apps‘ button to go into all apps view.

Figure 1. Metro start screen showing all programs button.

Step 2

Once in all apps view. Scroll over to the ‘Windows System’ group of applications. Right click on the ‘Command Prompt’ item to reveal the app bar. Next click the ‘Run as administrator‘ icon in the app bar.

Figure 2. Metro start screen all programs view.

Step 3

Once Command Prompt loads you should see ‘Administrator’ in the title bar. But just to be safe, type in the command ‘bcdedit‘ into the Command Prompt and hit the ‘enter’ key. If you get a response similar to the screenshot below – you’re good to go. If not, close Command Prompt and repeat steps 1 and 2 again.

Figure 3. Command Prompt running under Administrator mode.

Step 4

Enter the following command into the Command Prompt ‘bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes‘ on its own line and hit the ‘enter’ key. Once you get a response the operation is successful – close Command Prompt and restart your computer.

Figure 4. Screenshot showing command to enter into Command Prompt.

Step 5 (optional)

To confirm you have successfully disabled dynamic tick. After your computer has restarted. Repeat steps 1 through to 3. Now look at the response closely and you should see the entry ‘disabledynamictick Yes‘ at the end of the response. This tells you, you have successfully turned off dynamic ticks on your Windows 8 installation.

Figure 5. Screenshot of Command Prompt confirming changes has been applied.