This has happened to me twice now - the first time I assumed it was just some weird fluke because this problem is bizarre. OS is Windows 10 FWIW.
Fallout 4 will freeze and I am unable to access the task manager to end the application (a black overlay from the game covers up the entire desktop - even though I can open the Task Manager using using Ctrl+Alt+Delete I can't actually see the running processes). Right clicking the Fallout icon -> close window does nothing. I have to force restart the computer in order to get out of this situation. This is annoying but I can live with it (Bethesda games, amirite?).
The problem is that when the computer boots up and I start Steam, Steam no longer thinks that Fallout is installed. The game still exists on disk and Windows recognizes that it's there, but Steam refuses to acknowledge it. I have to "reinstall" the game (essentially Steam verifies that all of the needed files are present). That is annoying. Even though I don't need to re-download and re-install the game, it still takes Steam between 5 and 10 minutes to check that the game is still present.
Any thoughts? If I can stop the freezing that would be great (losing progress in Survival mode through no fault of my own isn't what I would call fun) but I'll settle for Steam not suffering from short term amnesia.
Response to comment questions:
is there any pattern to the crashes?
Not that I can tell. Happened again when entering VATS - that seems to be the culprit.
What are you doing when it happens?
The last time it happened was when entering VATS during a Gunner attack on Sanctuary (e.g., VATS noise played, zoomed in, freeze). I don't remember what I was doing the first time.
When did this start happening? Right after initial installation? Months later? Did you install some DLC or mod before it began?
Roughly a week and a half ago. No mods, but I do have Automaton, Wasteland Workshop, and now that I think about it, I was on the beta release for Survival mode. That might be relevant.
What's the situation when the game begins operating again? Lose any saves?
The game itself appears to be undamaged, at least so far. No corrupted saves/lost data.