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Computer Trouble

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
So I'm having some serious PC issues. To be honest, it hasn't been in full form for a while but I tried to ignore the little bugs and glitches until now, when it's just too much to cope with.

First, it occasionally restarts itself. Not too frequently but every once in a while I will wake up and find my PC has rebooted while I was sleeping.

My browsers are known to freeze or crash at random. By browsers I mean Firefox, Opera, Safari and very rarely Chrome. I switch around depending on which is experiencing the worst glitchiness at the moment. Right now, Chrome is taking the gold for most reliable.

Today though, we had a power surge. And every little issue seems to have gotten ten times worse upon reboot. Firefox and Opera are freezing every half hour or so and I have to restart them. iTunes will not open at all, which is scaring me. And Explorer crashes pretty much every time I walk away for five minutes.

I think I broke'd it for real this time, guys. What should I do?
post #2 of 18
Time for a fresh OS install maybe?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
It's a good thing I already started backing up files a while back. It's gonna be a b*tch trying to figure out how to back up programs and settings tho...

Too bad I couldn't hold out until Windows 7 is released.
post #4 of 18
Have you tried Memtest86+ yet? Your RAM may be going faulty.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Is that one of those programs you burn to disc and boot from?
post #6 of 18
Yes it is.
It would be a good idea to run it. You just start it up and let it run for an hour or so, it does different tests on your RAM and makes multiple passes until you stop it. If the RAM is the problem memtest+ should pick it up.
Your hard drive could also be on the way out, or the CPU overheating for some reason. Just a few more ideas. The random restarts would probably point more to faulty RAM or overheating CPU.

In any case, backing up important files should be your first priority.
post #7 of 18
RAM or power supply. Run Memtest86+ as suggested- keep it going for at least 12 hours to be sure.
post #8 of 18
I would guess the power supply is going bad, but it's hard to guess. I 2nd the Memtest. Do you have another computer you can switch parts with (Ram or PS)?
post #9 of 18
The most common problems usually come from ram or powersupply. Hard drives fail often too.
post #10 of 18
Agree with the memtest advice. RAM is certainly the easiest component to test. If the RAM checks out, I would test the OS install/hard drive simultanously by running a Linux LiveCD for a day or so and seeing if you get any weird glitches or reboots. If you still get rebooted, it's probably the PSU or a deeper problem.

Also, just for reference, check your mcp/cpu/hdd temps.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
Agree with the memtest advice. RAM is certainly the easiest component to test. If the RAM checks out, I would test the OS install/hard drive simultanously by running a Linux LiveCD for a day or so and seeing if you get any weird glitches or reboots. If you still get rebooted, it's probably the PSU or a deeper problem.

Also, just for reference, check your mcp/cpu/hdd temps.
I was having PC problems a couple months ago. Gradually getting slower, crashing. etc. One night it finally died and had problems rebooting. After looking inside the case, I discovered the CPU fan was pretty much clogged with dust. I cleaned the crud out of the heatsink fins, and it's like a new machine. Definitely take a look inside the case if the machine is more than a couple years old.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
I let the memtest thing run for 3 and a half hours or 7 passes, whatever that means. No errors so far. Upon rebooting after that, everything seems to be working fine, oddly. o.O Still backing stuff up for an OS re-install. Will also try opening the case.

Any ideas on what to do about backing up programs/settings?
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderwall View Post
Any ideas on what to do about backing up programs/settings?
A complete reinstall is usually my recommended approach since its (relatively) easy, but if you have installed programs and no original installation files/CDs then you may not get them back. You can't really back up installed programs, so you would need original installation files (.exe's, archives, etc.). If any of your programs (antivirus, etc) came with a physical license key (such as a .reg file) you certainly want to keep that (many manufacturers keep your key backed up on their site though).

I would see if the problems come back, then maybe try running a livecd to determine if an OS reinstall will really fix the problem, before losing all of your installs.

Anyway, as for backing up settings, assuming you will be reinstalling the same copy of windows you have, you can used the Windows Files and Settings Transfer Wizard for XP or Windows Easy Transfer under Vista.
post #14 of 18
Are you using Win XP? You can also check your system logs to get a little more information on what is going wrong. Right click my computer, go to "Manage" --> Under system tools in the left pane, click "Event Viewer" --> Applications (and system). Any red Xs will tell you something went wrong. They are time stamped, so if you get a crash in a certain program at a certain time, you can see what the issue was. You can google what you find and see if others have had the issue, and what their diagnosis was.

I would have guessed RAM, it's best to run memtest overnight and see what happens in the AM. If it's not RAM, the PSU is a good place to check, and do make sure all your heatsinks aren't crusted over. I don't see overheating actually "freezing" programs like you mention, though. Also run a malware bytes scan and see if anything comes up.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Time for a fresh OS install maybe?
+1. Even if you are able to fix said problems, the way your computer is in shape, you will run into more in the future, guaranteed. I've found it beneficial to follow these best practices:

1. Use Firefox/Mozilla all the time.
2. Use a quality virus scanner/spyware scanner.
3. Do not install more software than you absolutely need.
4. Occasionally give your computer a hard reboot if you tend to leave it on. And let it fully shutdown upon power off; don't do a power interrupt.
5. Use Windows Update regularly (I assume you are on a Windows machine)

With that said there can be hardware issues causing your computer to reboot spontaneously. From experience, this is usually overheating, an inadequate power supply or even defective main memory.
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