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bongo's avatar

Why does my computer crash so much?

Asked by bongo (4297 points ) May 13th, 2010

My computer will crash at least 20 times in 1 day and I can not work out why. It is coming up to 3 years old but it has no viruses, i keep all spyware and virus scanning software up to date and scan regularly, I defrag regularly, I run CCleaner regularly deleting temporary files. I dont save my work on my laptop, I have an external drive for that, I barely move my laptop from where it is so it has not been bashed around at all and I regularly scan for updates for all my drivers. I treat my laptop as well as I can, letting it take its time over things and not clicking too much but it will still crash with internet explorer unable to stay open for more than an hour without an error message coming up saying that it is not responding even if i havent clicked on anything and am just sat with a pdf file open reading a scientific paper.
what am I doing wrong?
I have tried to use firefox but it stopped my 4od from working for some reason so i got rid of it.
I cant afford to buy a new laptop or pay for someone else to take a look at it. It is making me take about twice as long as I need to to finish research.

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20 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

Which operating system? Is the laptop crashing or just IE? What is 4od?

bongo's avatar

ive got visa which really doesnt help things. 4od is a program that you download and can watch previous programs shown on channel 4 – its an english thing.
sometimes its just IE and sometimes its the whole laptop. the screen sometimes just turns off and can take about 5 mins to come back on sometimes. I dont like to switch off my laptop manually when it does this as it usually comes back.
the only thing i can think of is that it could be the graphics or flash card or something like that but i dont know how to update these or find out if there is anything wrong with them.

dpworkin's avatar

Have you tried running a diagnostic test on your RAM?

bongo's avatar

@dpworkin no, do you know of a reliable website where I can find out how to do this? im not the greatest person with computers.

oh and i meant vista not visa!

dpworkin's avatar

There may be a native applet in the Windows repair suite that comes on your OS disk, or you can Google for an open source memory stress test.

tranquilsea's avatar

That sounds like a malware programme or some sort of virus. Have you tried running a virus check from a website like Norton or Eset or Kaspersky ? Often viruses will hijack your anti-virus software.

You can also run a HijackThis log but don’t use it without help from the awesome people at Community Feedback This group has helped me bring a good 15 to 20 computers back from the dead. The people there are awesome. Actually, if you are going to use HijackThis, join that group first so they can help you with it.

bongo's avatar

my dad ran the HijackThis thing when I went home at Easter and I have the full version of AVG which is completely up to date and running fine, I also have windows defender which i scan with about twice a fortnight however between scans I stop it from updating automatically as it slows everything right down. I used to have Norton however I hated it so changed to AVG when I got this laptop.
I will look into the open source memory stress test later this evening when i finsh work as I can leave it to do its thing then. Thanks for this help.

mrentropy's avatar

For fun, go to the Vista start button thing and click on it. Then right-click on “Computer” and select Manage. Click on the arrow next to Event Viewer (it’s under System Tools), click on the arrow next to Windows Logs, then click on System.

Look through the list for yellow and red marks in the log. If you find one click on it and see if it says anything about a hard disk or hard drive or write failure.

njnyjobs's avatar

How much memory do you have on your laptop? Do you have more than one actively running antivirus software?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@bongo

Was the original operating system Vista? Do you have Service Pack 2 installed?
If the original OS not Vista you may have lack of RAM memory.
Is the external drive set to update only once a day?

the100thmonkey's avatar

@bongo: you could try running Linux from a liveCD or you could install Linux to a small portion of your hard drive. You could then test whether or not it’s a hardware issue.

Personally, I think you just need to reinstall Vista – it’s a total clusterfuck of an OS that doesn’t do its job and, conversely, does a good job of making it easy to break itself.

Ivan's avatar

@the100thmonkey beat me to it.

Download a Linux liveCD and run it for a couple hours. If the laptop still crashes, it’s a hardware issue. If it doesn’t, it’s a problem with Windows. In that case, try reinstalling Windows if you have the install disk floating around. If not, you might consider investing in Windows 7 or switching to Linux, if you liked what you saw.

bongo's avatar

Yes the original operating system is vista and yes i have service pack 2 installed, i dont have more than one actively running antivirus, only AVG and i have loads of memory on my hard drive. I think im going to have to leave it till after my exams to sort out now, im pretty sure my dad has a copy of linux but it is at home a good 5 hours away.
@mrentropy there was no red or yellow marks under there that i could see.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@bongo@Tropical_Willie was actually referring to RAM, not storage space on your hard drive.

Hold down the windows key and pause/break. A screen containing basic computer information will opo up. Among other things, it will tell you how much RAM you have installed.

bongo's avatar

It says i have 1.00 GB RAM.

mrentropy's avatar

Ouch. You need more RAM. At least one more GB, preferably get up to 4GB.

dpworkin's avatar

That’ll do it. At least RAM is cheap. Try “Crucial”. They are a reliable inexpensive provider.

bongo's avatar

ok thanks so much, I will start saving for new RAM. being a student I dont have money reserved for things like this and £86 for new RAM is more than I spend on food for a month.

njnyjobs's avatar

with Vista, you can double your memory using a 2GB portable jump drive and use the Ready Boost feature.

Karyyk's avatar

Insufficient RAM might be a reason that it’s running slow, but that’s not why it’s crashing 20 times. Other than checking for malware and viruses, which it sounds like you’ve done, I strongly suggest you check your hard drive. 1GB of RAM isn’t very much, but I’ve seen worse (and they’re not crashing).

Using a boot disk like UBCD, try to get into the diagnostics section and scan your hard drive with the program MHDD 4.6. Hard drives are the most common failure a computer can have, so it’s a good place to start (and if your drive is starting to fail, it’s only a matter of time before you have irretrievable data loss). For more info on the UBCD, go here:

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Another thing to check is whether or not it’s possibly overheating. Many laptops have overheating issues, and mine would crash a good bit as a result, particularly when trying to do too many things at once. Make sure that your vents are able to get enough airflow going to them and aren’t blocked by dust or whatever your laptop is sitting on.

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