Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Control Panel Hangs/Freezes (Part 1 of 2)

[This is Part 1 of a two part problem.  You can see the description and solution for the second issue which was no audio during and after the part 1 solution was completed.  See Part 2 here.]

I ran into this issue a couple of weeks ago and eventually threw my hands up.  Today, I came across the exact same symptoms on another computer so I decided to dig further in and find the cause.  After successfully discovering the problem and applying the solution to the first problematic computer, I was able to fix the issue without reloading/refreshing the PCs.

I looked all over the web and was unable to find any mention of this problem with a valid resolution.  Most things I found suggested running SFC /SCANNOW which refused to run.  I also tried some other repair tools, most of which failed or wouldn’t complete.

In determining the problem and discovering a solution, one of the PCs actually had a 2nd problem with a similar solution regarding audio on the computer.  No audio due to “Audio Service not started”.  The service fails to start and an error is logged in event viewer that says the reason is “duplicate endpoint”.  I’ll post the resolution for the audio problem in a separate post.



Here are the symptoms I was seeing to confirm that you are seeing the same problem as I have:

  • Control Panel fails to load.  You can get a white explorer box, but the window hangs.  It can’t be resized, moved or closed without forcing explorer.exe to close.  After that, Control Panel usually won’t load anything at all–not even a white frozen box.
  • Lots and lots of repeated Service Control Manager errors from the service “Network List Service”.  The reason for the failure to start is “Procedure not found”
  • The Network Connection Broker service is stuck in the Starting state.
  • Office 2013 programs hang while launching



Method 1 (Automatic)

You can download my registry exports included at the end of Part 2 to avoid having to edit the registry.  Just download the appropriate .REG file and then double click the file in your downloads list to import the registry key.  No knowledge needed.

Method 2 (Manual)

  1. Open regedit.exe
  2. Navigate to the following key:
  3. Check the value of ServiceDLL, it should be exactly as follows:
    %SYSTEMROOT32%\System32\netprofmsvc.dll (See update note below)
  4. If it is not, change it to match the above value.
  5. After making changes, reboot the system and look for the symptoms again.



UPDATED 3/13/2015: Stephen G. commented below about the environment variable being incorrect.  At first I thought this was due to 32/64-bit system differences, but I believe I simply added the 32 in %SYSTEMROOT32% accidentally as I do not believe that %SYSTEMROOT32% is a valid path on any Windows operating system.  Please verify that there is NOT a 32 in the variable as this will still be an incorrect path.   Just ensure the corrected value is in place.  Sorry for the type-o.


177 thoughts on “Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Control Panel Hangs/Freezes (Part 1 of 2)

  1. josh you should be a celebrity. your solution just fixed a laptop entrusted to me like magic. and other problems i was not asked to fixed. thanks alot. just great.

  2. Hello,
    Thanks a lot, i never had the opportunity to see this article in the past. i had this issue for the past 2 years. I corrected the issue today with your help. I am grateful to you. thank you….

  3. Hello,
    I’m having the same issues in Windows 10:

    -Control Panel window opens, but never populates and has the spinning blue circle like it’s loading
    -MS Office 2013 hangs when starting (MS Office 2016 has the same problem)
    -Devices and Printers takes 4-5 minutes to load, IF it loads at all

    These problems are intermittent and with enough reboots will go away temporarily. I’ve checked the registry values for this issue, as well as the audio issue (which I am not seeing currently) and both are already set to the correct registry values. I was wondering if you may have any new knowledge on this problem?

  4. This worked perfectly for my problem laptop. Not sure how it was changed- mine was set to netprofm.dll before I changed it. [Windows 8.1]

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