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. Hi!
    I changed it to “%SYSTEMROOT%\System32\netprofmsvc.dll”
    But Windows Update still freezes. This is a weird problem, never seen anything like it before! :S

  2. thanks for the fix Josh. I am defo not as tech savvy as I thought I was. Lost my sound few weeks ago, cant think of an event that happened to cause it. Your article is the clearest, easy to read with a simple fix that can be found. Again, thank you. Charlie

  3. My registry was already the way you said it should be, but i was having the same problem with it configured that way. So i just substituted 64 where 32 was and now it works fine, thank you for the information

  4. Thank you very much for addressing those problems. I started going through your blog and it’s great.

    I have recently installed Windows 10 (In the big distribution wave) and i have the exact same problem you encountered in Win 8.1. My control panel freezes. The Control Panel window “closes/crashes” only when I open the task manager.
    I have tried changing the reg file like you did, but it didn’t work.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Unfortunately, I’ve only just begun using Windows 10 as well. I would suggest starting by looking at your Event Logs. Look for any errors around the moment that the problem occurs. Not all errors in the event log are useful and errors you do find may not even be related. But if you can find something to work with, then you may end up solving the problem you know about by solving a “Behind-the-scenes” problem. That’s how I’ve discovered a lot of fixes like this post covers.

  5. Josh.. I did the fixes backward. my sound came up ( thank you ) but my control panel still hangs up and is empty. I checked the changes I made and they are correct.. I did the updates manually..
    any idea ??


  6. thanks a million, i got a brand new lenovo thinkpad, but after the update to win 8.1 audio failed and control panel froze. and i couldn’t even update to win10 and hope it fixed the problem.

    you are a hero!

  7. Thanks a lot. I followed you guide and finally fixed the control panel hangup and audio failing problems which has been haunting me for the past three months. You are a hero.



  8. Hi, it seems this resolved a lot of problems for other people but not mine!
    My control panel does not respond ONLY when clicking on languages (idiomas, my system is in portuguese). Why did I want to click on this?
    I am running my PC using 3 languages, portuguese, german and english. So, I need the 3 keyboard setting from time to time and until recently I had always an indicator of the topic language in the tool bar’s right corner allowing me to switch languages easily (aside from hitting the windows-button and space-bar simultaneously). This always worked well until recently. Also since then the windows 10 update offer does not show up anymore, aside of this language switcher.
    Strange enough, the welcome screen, before entering the user password, lets me still select the preferred language but after entering the system by password there is no way to switch the keyboard settings. That’s why i search for adding the languages again (I thoght they might have been lost). But when trying to access the language management panel through classic control panel the circle rotates never ending. When trying to access the add-language feature of the new PC configuration screen of windows 8.1 it also shows a never ending circle symbol rotating and doesn’t let me add languages.

    Also, new, when going to windows explorer, base level where it should show me the contents of computer, a green bar is endlessly running from left to right in the address bar and contents delay in showing up.
    A mess.
    Is there any help?
    Many thanks in advance

  9. Thank you for this support page. Problem solved. I’m so glad your information helped to get it back to work.
    A friend of my has a HP Pavilion TS15, which had exactly the described problems.

  10. Help!

    I tried the manual resolution on a friend’s computer yesterday and today the computer won’t load. It’s hanging on the blue login screen.

    I’m using Windows 8 and had the exact two problems: no sound and the control panel wouldn’t load.

    Please help, thanks!

  11. Top, top banana!!!

    Just managed to get my son’s PC back up and running properly before I have to deliver him back to Uni, been on it since before Christmas.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post

  12. Bro I don’t know why My control panel get freezed every time i open. But other things like movie games are working properly and yes i can’t see Even wifi Symbol that’s why i couldn’t connect to Wifi what to do .plz reply ASAP.
    Thank You

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