Regardless of how nice of a computer or how often it is maintained, they will not last forever. Unfortunately, is just a fact of life. Many times crashes happen suddenly and with very little warning. When they do occur, you are forced to reboot and often times loose a lot of the data that you have been working on that had not been saved.
The best you can do is look out for warning signs so that you can try to fix them before you experience a full system crash.
Computers May Become Slower
There are hundreds of reasons that your computer could be running slower. One of the most common reasons for slow performance is that unused software (or bloatware) is taking up space on your hard drive. If you hard drive is completely full, your computer will eventually stop working because it takes a certain amount of space to complete processing tasks. Try uninstalling some of the software from your computer that you don’t need to see if freeing up space will help speed up your computer.
You Receive Occasional Boot Errors
Receiving boot errors when attempting to start your PC is a definite sign that your computer could crash. Boot errors indicate that something within your computer is not operating as it should. The source of these errors could be hardware or software oriented, and can range in difficulty with how to remediate the problem. These errors usually read something like “Boot Device Not Found”.
There are several possible explanations for receiving boot errors. Two of the most common explanations are:
- Your hard drive is experiencing complications and may be nearing the end of its life
- Your Windows installation has somehow become corrupt
Replacing your hard drive or reinstalling your Windows instance are usually the only fixes.
Your Hard Drive may Become Noisy
Mechanical hard drives are a common source of problems in PCs due to the various different parts that will wear out over time. Various sounds like clicking, buzzing, or grinding, are signs of death with regards to your computer’s hard drive.
Understanding the different sounds:
Clicking and Grinding – These sounds mean a hard drive failure is coming. Clicking or grinding sounds coming from the hard drive point to a mechanical problem with either the platter or the motor, which will eventually completely break down and no longer be able to operate.
Whirring – These noises are sometimes more difficult to detect as they are not as amplified as clicking or grinding sounds. These sounds indicate that a bottleneck is being created at your hard drive as it is struggling to effectively write data onto your disc. This could indicate that the platter has developed bad sections on it, or that the lens is not able to write smoothly anymore.
We have talked before about the dangers of un-secured Wi-Fi with regards to your data security. However, not protecting yourself online can cause physical harm to your computer as well. If it is hard for you to even navigate online because of all the pop-ups that you are bombarded with, your computer has likely been infected with adware. Modern adware has become so advanced that they do not even require you to click on a link within the ad in order to infect your computer, all they have to do is be opened. These adware and malware annoyances do more than create annoying pop-ups on your screen. Most adware or malware infections involve several different spyware programs on the back-end, which can quickly overwhelm a computer causing it to crash.
Random File or Program Corruption Issues
Over time, certain files or programs may become corrupt. However, without a backup of your data, once files do become corrupt they cannot be fixed. Technologies such as Recuva and Piriform have evolved to help you recover files that have been corrupted, but they are not fail-proof. There are a wide number of reasons that files may suddenly become corrupt, many of which can point to the hardware’s inability to accurately store the data, including power related issues, unexpected or sudden shutdowns, failing software, or viruses. Most of these issues point to underlying causes, which should be investigated in order to prevent further data loss.
Your Computer Frequently Becomes Overheated
Like all technology, computers produce heat as they are being used. Anyone who has ever felt a burning sensation on his or her leg while using a laptop is aware of this. If your computer is not effectively keeping cool, long-term damage could be done to various components of your hardware. In fact, heat can be such a problem with regards to computers being ruined that many systems are designed to crash as a last resort to prevent permanent damage. Make sure that your system is maintaining a constant, and relatively cool temperature to prevent this from happening.
What to do Before Experiencing Signs your Computer is Going to Crash
It can be nearly impossible to completely prevent system crashes from EVER occurring. However, there are steps you can take to limit the number of times they occur and make sure you can recover as much as possible when they do. Here are a few that we suggest:
Perform Regular Maintenance on Your System
Just like with a car, regular maintenance is cheaper and easier than waiting until something massive within the engine breaks. Regularly check your system for updates and patches that need to be installed on your OS or various software programs. Also check your hard drive directory for any corruption issues that are occurring.
Reduce Memory Usage
The more applications you have running, the more likely you are to overload your computer’s resources and cause a crash. Close programs that are not in use, and uninstall applications that you do not need. Another suggestion for limiting the memory that is being used by your system is to limit the number of programs that your system automatically launches when it starts up.
Troubleshoot Problems When They Occur
When an issue occurs, try to get to the bottom of the cause instead of just closing the notification window or restarting your computer. Often times, the solution is simple and can be handled by just updating software or changing settings on your computer. Putting these things off can lead to small issues becoming major and causing more damage to your system.
Keep Your Computer Clean and Dust-Free
Heat is the most common cause of a truly random computer crash. Because of this, making sure that airflow is adequately getting through your system is essential to preventing a crash. Make sure that your fans are not blocked by anything and are working properly. You should also regularly clean your computer to prevent dust and dirt from preventing proper air circulation.
For more insight as to how to do this, read our blog about Cleaning out the Inside of Your Computer.
Install and Regularly Update Anti-Virus Software
Keeping viruses off your system is essential to maintaining the integrity of your data. Make sure that you install anti-virus on your system and that it is regularly updated. Many companies, like Sophos, provide antivirus solutions that can protect your system.
Backup, Backup, Backup
We cannot emphasize enough that complete avoidance of system failures is unrealistic. The best way to truly prevent yourself from irreparable data loss is to regularly backup all your data. Many solutions can automate this backup process for you, alleviating yourself of the need to remember to do it.
Orion’s managed services cover all aspects of computer crashes. From full preventative maintenance, to 24/7 monitoring and management, we work to keep your systems running as they are intended. For more information about what these services can do for you, Contact our team today.