Why is my computer crashing?

Nothing can put a damper on productivity (not to mention your mood!) quite like a computer that crashes on a regular basis. Sometimes, a crash is preceded by the dreaded “blue screen of death” or another warning; other times, a computer simply shuts off without any warning at all. In either case, the end result is a whole lot of frustration, aggravation and lost work (maybe even some finger nail biting, hair pulling and verbal abuse of your computer). If your computer has been crashing frequently, you’d probably like to put an end to it. The crashing, not the computer. Unfortunately, getting to the bottom of things is often easier said than done. The following tips about improving your computer’s performance, though, are good places to begin.

Possibility #1: Corrupted System Registry Files

Every Windows-based PC has something called a Windows registry. The registry contains several files that are integral to the performance and operation of your computer. Over time, some of those files can become corrupted, be misplaced or get lost altogether. When that happens, the system registry becomes compromised – and frequent crashes are all-too-common symptoms. The best way to rule this possibility in or out is by running a Windows registry cleaning program. Such programs scan your Windows registry for problems then automatically make repairs. If you run a registry cleaner and the crashes persist, they are probably being caused by a different issue. But keep in mind that it is easy to make matters worse by further corrupting the registry if your not sure of what you’re doing.

Possibility #2: Disorganized Files

Windows operating systems handle file organization in a way that isn’t very intuitive. Basically, they break files up and fit them into gaps in the computer’s memory. As time goes by, these disorganized files can prompt frequent crashes. Luckily, a good optimization solution is built right into Windows-based PCs: the Disk Defragmenter utility. Although its location on a computer varies, you can generally locate it within the System and Security section inside the Control Panel or in System Tools (Start -> (All) Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools). By running a defrag once every couple months, you may be able to keep those pesky computer crashes at bay.

Possibility #3: Malicious Software

Malicious software can take many different forms. Sometimes, it’s a virus that is accidentally unleashed after opening a strange email; other times, it’s adware that tags along with other information that is automatically downloaded from a website. Whatever type it is, there’s no question that malicious software can wreak havoc on a computer’s performance. Happily, there are many topnotch programs out there that regularly scan your computer for the presence of such problems – and that help guard against them, too. Buy one (look around, some of the best are free), install it and use it regularly; your crash issues may come to an end.

Possibility #4: Too Little Available Memory

When you buy a new computer, it feels like there’s no end to the amount of memory that it has. Of course, this isn’t true at all. As never-ending as the available memory on your PC may initially seem, the fact is that it can be depleted with incredible speed. You can find out for sure by checking the information within Windows Task Manager. If it appears that your available memory is low, you can use a PC cleanup program to remove unnecessary files; such programs remove things like temporary Internet files and other file debris that can suck away much-needed memory. Windows comes with the Disk Cleanup utility, which cleans up many a Windows’ mess and other programs may have their own built-in utilities to clean up their messes..

Possibility #5: Hardware Issues

If you’ve run through all of the preceding possibilities and continue experiencing frequent crashes, a hardware issue could be to blame. An easy one to rule out is overheating. A computer’s CPU, or central processing unit, includes a fan that is designed to keep it running cool. Sometimes, the fan wears down and doesn’t work as efficiently; other times, it’s just not able to handle the work that your computer has to do. There are many free utilities out there that can monitor the temperatures of your CPU, hard drive and many other points (depending on your system) so you can see if there are overheating issues. One common source making a system run hotter is just plain dust. Check the fan vent openings on your computer. If there’s a lot of dust accumulated on the vent, it could be restricting the air flow. Tower-PC owners can also open up their case and look at the innards for dust accumulation. Remove any you find, but be very careful to not damage or loosen any components. If you are still having overheating problems, and you have a tower PC, you can buy a bigger, better fan (or multiple fans) that aren’t very expensive. If it puts an end to your PC crashing problem, it will have been more than worth it.
Don’t put up with frequent crashes!

As discussed, frequent computer crashes can be triggered by a wide variety of issues.

Luckily, many of these issues are relatively easy to remedy. Work your way through the preceding list; chances are, you’ll be able to pinpoint the problem and put an effective cure to work. Nine times out of ten, a computer simply needs a little bit of routine maintenance to get it back on track again. In the future, keep these points in mind. Any time you buy a new computer, keep up with its basic maintenance right from the get-go. By doing that, you could avoid “blue screen of death” and crashing problems altogether – and that’s something that you (and your peace of mind) are bound to appreciate!
Morgan’s Computer Rescue & AcornMoon
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George & Lynn Morgan ~ 541.825.3833 ~ morgan@morganscomputerrescue.com
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