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. Thank you so much for this – I had identical problems, control panel seizing up and the audio unavailable. Your fix sorted it out. I think mine was caused by instability due to having to crash out of a re-start procedure – the laptop was trying to re-start for more than an hour. I also have AVG though, so perhaps that contributed. At any rate, it’s working fine now, you’re a star!

  2. Wow! Thanks so much, you ROCK!!! Thought I would have to reload windows… After finding all of my program keys I gave it one more shot in finding a solution and came across your posting. Again thanks! You saved me hours of reloading!

  3. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. A family member had a problem with her laptop and she called me. I RDP onto the computer thinking it was a hardware problem because of the X on the speaker volume. Finding nothing wrong with the device driver. I looked over the error logs, I could not find the source of the problem other than when the critical errors started. My next move was to check if W$ was up to date. That’s when the can of worms opened up on me. Control panel unresponsive, try again, same problem. Went to the start W$ Update from the command line and nothing. I checked the task man and the process started but, was not doing anything. Killed the W$ Update task and started to check the integrity of the system. Starting with chkdsk, no problem found. SFC scannow from CMD(admin) and from PowerShell(admin), both would start and then hang. DISM pointing to W$ Update and then to a W$ 8.1 img. Same thing, would start and then hang. Then my last ditch efforts, run MicrosoftFixit50202. It would start running but, would get hungup about 5 mins in at the check reg part. I killed it and then manually reset W$ Update components, still noting. After a long time of looking around the net for fixes but, would only find things that I’ve already tried. I ran across your blog referencing the control panel hangs & freezes. I checked the 3 reg keys and found two were wrong. Changed them, problem solved. Thanks you so much, I’ll be sending you $10 for the help. Last step, find out why this happened. Thanks again.

  4. Apparently the only person on the planet who knows how to fix this. Now if I could just get back the **days** I spent searching and trying solutions that didn’t work. Thank you so much!

  5. Hi Josh,

    Control Panel still blank 🙁 Service Dll already shows %SystemRoot%\System32\netprofmsvc.dll
    Please help 🙁

  6. Nope doesnt seem to be working for me. And believe me I have read your instruction over and over, I followed them exactly but to no avail. At the moment I have the value data set to…%SYSTEM%\System32\netprofmsvc.dll, I have rebooted the system over and over trying different values. This has come right after my antivirus(Kaspersky anti-virus), removed a Trojan. After removal of the Trojan, I rebooted my system only to face this incredibly annoying problem. Please help me!!

    1. If you had a Trojan on the system, there most likely was damage to the OS. In most cases, a backup and reload is going to be your best option if you haven’t been able to find any other possible resolutions. This particular problem occurred after updates and was not caused by a virus.

  7. I got the problem of 3-4 days back of having my control panel freeze or hang and also my audio not working. At first I thought a virus. I did a virus as well as a malware/adware scan but nothing much came out. After that I reinstalled the drivers for my audio chipset. Still it didn’t worked out. A google search of the symptom showed this blog post and subsequently this and the 2nd part solved all my problems.
    I would like to thank you very much for sharing the solution as it never occured to me it could be problem with registry as I didn’t install any new hardware/software recently. Thank you once again 🙂

  8. Just add the missing svc, and fixed all the problems with control panel, Office365 pro plus, printing, windows update.

    Thanks, why don’t M$ know this and fix the problem this happed before and I did a rebuild to fix it

  9. Doing it manually works like a charm. Many thanks to the author for this fix. Wasted 10+ hours investigating before I found this.

  10. Thank you Stephen and Josh!! I spent all weekend trying to get me email and control panel to work, next is the audio/speakers with (part 2). AMAZING that such a small rewriting of the code made such a HUGE difference. Thank you, Thank you Thank you!!!

    “what you described was the issues I had. I change the value from %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\netprofm.dll

    1. I would also like to mention that I was also having problems with Office 365, Windows Update, and my printer with scanning as well. These issues are all fixed as well.

  11. Hi Josh..I am so pleased with your fix. I am a senior who has only a little bit of computer knowledge but with your quick download, I now have my MS Outlook back ..down since May.., as well as my Audio and I can once again view How to Videos…AND my control panel doesn’t freeze. I am always unsure about downloading off the internet but decided to ‘take a chance’. I don’t know who you are, but Kudos to you!

  12. Josh,
    I’m not sure how you went about tracking down the solution but the two registry settings had been changed on my computer also. Thank you for your work and for sharing the solution in this blog. I have been using AVG for years since it is free and it has worked well for me without problems. For several days, I kept postponing a reboot requested by AVG and, then, when I got around to rebooting, the problems appeared. Apparently, the reboot resulted in the bad registry values taking effect.

  13. Thank you so so much!!! You are a legend. My laptop is an HP, Windows 8 – it was affected by both the sound and the control panel, for the record. Your brilliant guidance fixed them both. Loving you x x

  14. Same story as Franklin’s. Was delaying reboot for AVG update then finally did it (sound and control panel bye bye)
    You saved my day. Thank you so much.

  15. Thank you! I googled “Control Panel won’t load Windows 8” and yours was the second selection. Your fix for this and the audio issues were the solutions to my problems! I’m on an HP Pavilion23. I also have AVG but don’t recall any recent issues with it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in an easy to read, and fix, manner.

Leave a Reply