It’s the worst thing that can happen to you. The blue screen of death that means a computer crash.
There are dozens of reasons why your computer crashes. Your job is to try to diagnose the issue and resolve it.
It’s definitely not a time to panic, even though you need to work and you have most of your life on the computer.
Stay calm and learn how to troubleshoot computer problems. Keep reading to find out how to fix your computer and get back online as soon as possible.
1. What Happened Before the Crash
It’s rare for a computer to crash out of nowhere. There are sometimes little things that lead up to the crash that you don’t think about until after the fact.
Were there funny noises coming from the computer before the crash? The hard drive sometimes struggles when it’s worn out and failing.
If you heard clicks coming from the computer, that’s probably coming from the hard drive.
Did you install software or update drivers before the crash? It could have caused a computer crash due to a conflict. Sometimes hardware can’t keep up with the new software or it conflicts with another running program.
This commonly happens with Windows updates. Rollback the update by going to Settings -> Update and Security -> View Update History -> Uninstall Updates.
You restore the computer to the point before the update and remove the conflict.
2. Test the Heat
Computers are more complex than you realize. They have parts such as the processor and memory working nonstop while the machine is running.
These parts give off a lot of heat. That’s why computers have fans to circulate air throughout the computer.
Older computers get full of dust and debris, making it harder to circulate air throughout the machine. That causes parts to overheat.
Computers are programmed to crash and shut down to avoid further damage.
Open up the computer and check the fan to make sure it’s running properly. Remove the dust from the computer to restore airflow.
You may have to replace the fan if the computer continues to crash.
3. Reboot in Safe Mode
Software issues are a common cause of computer crashes. Booting your computer in Safe Mode lets you boot the computer with a few drivers and no startup files.
If you can boot your computer in Safe Mode, it probably means that your hardware is fine. There’s a software conflict somewhere that’s causing the computer to crash.
4. Check for Error Codes
There are times when you get a blue screen of death with an error code. There are dozens of error codes that give you a little more information about the computer crash.
For example, 0x000000A0 is an internal power error. You can look up the error on your phone and get more information about repairing it.
5. Install Updates
Is your computer up to date with the latest software and drivers? If your computer crashes while editing or playing games, it could mean that your graphics card drivers are out of date.
Drivers connect your hardware to the operating system. If the drivers are old or don’t exist, the hardware can’t function properly.
Your operating system should be updated as well. These updates contain security and usability fixes.
6. Scan for Malware
Does your computer suddenly seem very slow? Are there browser redirects or ads appearing?
You probably have malware on your computer. About 30% of computers in the U.S. get infected with malware.
Restart your computer in Safe Mode and run a malware and virus scan. Don’t log into any accounts or connect to the internet.
7. Turn to Experts for Help
If you’re working on a business machine, you can call your IT support provider to assist you. At this point, you’ve tried the standard fixes and none of them worked.
Explain what you did to the support provider. They won’t have to repeat the same steps if they didn’t work and it will help them narrow down the issue.
What if you’re working on a personal computer? See if your computer is still under warranty. If it is, then contact the manufacturer.
Turn to a local computer shop for computers that are outside of the warranty.
8. Upgrade or Replace Your Computer
Computers are meant to last for three to five years. If you’re coming up on that time, it might be time for a change.
The first place to look is at the memory installed on your computer. Your computer should have 12 GB of memory installed to handle most of today’s programs.
Anything less than that requires an upgrade. Use a diagnostic tool to identify the memory you need and how much your motherboard can handle.
A quick memory upgrade can extend the life of your computer for another year or so. It’s also less expensive than a new computer.
If you maxed out the motherboard’s memory slots, it’s probably time for a new computer.
9. Always Backup Data
You never know when you’ll experience a computer crash. The best way to limit the damage and data loss is to back up your data often.
Use a cloud account or external hard drive to backup your data. It doesn’t hurt to use both in case the cloud account or external drive has a problem.
How to Troubleshoot a Computer Crash
Working through a computer crash is stressful. You have too much important information on your computer, and you don’t want to lose time working.
There are so many reasons for computer problems. Take some of the advice in this article to diagnose and repair your computer issues quickly.
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