Kill the Offending Program
If Windows doesn't recover (or it starts freezing again after it recovers), it's time to break out old faithful: Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Strike this combo on your keyboard and choose the Task Manager option from the resulting screen to see a list of running programs.
windows task manager
If any of them are not responding, select them and click the End Task button. If you're dealing with an isolated incident, that should be all you need. Windows should snap back to attention as soon as you've closed the program, and you can restart the program to continue your work.
If your PC always seems to freeze when that program is running, though, you may need to uninstall it and find an alternative. You may even need to upgrade your hardware, if the program is so intensive that it's running out of resources.
Check Your Browser’s Task Manager
Sometimes, your computer is running fine, but your browser gets stuck on a certain page. And when so much of what we do on computers is confined to the browser, this feels like your whole computer is freezing, when it might just be the page you’re on. In those scenarios, Windows’ task manager might tell you your browser isn’t responding, but if you want more info on why, you might have to dig deeper.
In Chrome, press Shift+Esc to see Chrome’s own task manager. In Firefox, you can click the menu button and go to More > Task Manager. This will show you the different processes running within your browser, potentially giving you some information on what page or extension might be frozen, or using lots of CPU and memory.
You may also have a run-of-the-mill conflict with an extension—for example, I recently had issues with the Grammarly extension freezing Google Docs all the time—so try disabling some browser extensions to see if that solves the problem. Hopefully, the developers will issue a fix, as Grammarly seems to have done.
Reboot and Try Again
If Ctrl + Alt + Delete doesn't work, then your computer is truly locked up, and the only way to get it moving again is a hard reset. Press and hold down on the power button until your computer turns off, then press the power button again to boot back up from scratch.
If you were working on something important when the freeze happened, you may be able to recover it, depending on the program and how it handles unsaved documents. For example, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint auto-save backups as you work, and you can often recover them the next time you open the program.
Or navigate to File > Info > Manage Document(s) > Recover Unsaved Document. It won't necessarily work every time, but it's worth a shot—do some digging on whatever program crashed to see if it has a similar feature. If it doesn't, you might be unfortunately stuck doing some of that work over again.
I hope these methods will be helpful while your laptop gets freeze in the future.