WINDOWS HANG-UPS AND BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH(BSOD)

You were in middle of typing an e-mail or playing your favorite game then the computer becomes slow, unresponsive then hangs up or displays a blue screen! and you wonder what in the world is going on inside the computer. If you are using windows operating system, don’t be surprised, welcome aboard to the world of error, hangups and blue screens of death.

One simple reason that can make a computer to hang is when its running on a low RAM. Of course windows xp recommends a minimum of 64MB of RAM but this must not be an excuse to install exactly 64MB or less unless the situation forces you to do so. Minimum RAM is just an assurance that you will see the windows logo and welcome screen but not a guarantee to install a RAM intensive game or software. The bottom line is upgrade upgrade upgrade. Check the type of RAM in your computer, S DRAM, DDR1 or DDR2 and buy a larger one of the same type or don’t complain the next time your computer hangs up in the middle of a demo. If you are on a budget, you can temporarily increase virtual memory. You don’t have to buy RAM, part of the hard disk will be used as virtual RAM. To set up virtual RAM go to System> advanced>performance settings>advanced>On virtual memory click change. There is initial size and maximum size, increase initial size to maximum size.

Another sure thing is to scan your computer for malware. A lot of malware installs themselves in the computer and run in hidden mode. Even if your system is running on a 1 or 2 GB RAM, it can become slow, unstable, hang up or display a blue screen of death. You can choose to buy a malware remover on the internet or go for the free ones first. For example smadav is a simple taken-for-granted antivirus but i have used it for some years to remove malware that great antiviruses like f-secure failed to detect. Smadav is free tool for removing malware, re-enabling the registry, task manager (malware disables the registry and task manager to enable them to run in hidden mode), hidden files, re-activating the command prompt and repairing windows registry. A bad registry can make computers to become slow or crash. I am not promoting malware removers or antiviruses here but I think somebody needs this kind of info not to mention a broke technician starting up a repair business with $0, H/she might need some free tools. AVG antivirus is also a good malware remover in its free edition, downloads at downloads.cnet.com or the official AVG site. Apart from removing malware, it also enables safe surfing on the internet. Blocking harmful site and detecting and blocking malware on websites. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to start windows task manager. Observe if there are any unwanted processes and applications running that are eating up your system resources, kill them immediately. Track them down delete or uninstall them. Mal-ware is also a common cause of blue screen of death. If windows welcomes you with a blue screen of death instead of a logon screen, restart, press and hold F8. This button takes you into safe mode. Scan the system in safe mode or remove any new device drivers you can also shut it down and remove any hardware you installed recently. Another solution is to repair the operating system. In case of windows, boot from xp setup disk. Keep looking at the bottom of the screen when you see press F6 to install……..   you press F7 and continue with the normal xp repair process.

If all these didn’t work, then blame it on the fan and heat sink assembly. Make sure the fan is running, if not, well replace it. Remove any dust and foreign particles between fan and heat sink, they act as insulators. Read my post on troubleshooting computer boot problems part I for more on heat build ups.

 

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TROUBLESHOOTING COMPUTER BOOT PROBLEMS PART I

Its quite hard sometimes to troubleshoot a computer that is not booting up properly especially when it shuts down a few seconds after powering on. For other problems, you can go by them easily by just opening some types of programs like Dr Watson (in case you are a Windows addict) or examining error messages that pops up after booting. But the issue we have at hand is quiet hard, you never get a chance to see the start button or mouse cursor. All you see are a few POST (power on self test) lines and then the system shuts down!

A computer may shutdown because its processor maximum operating temperature has been exceeded, one or all of its RAM (random access memory) has failed or the BIOS has told it to shutdown. This kind problem requires ‘logical elimination’ if you don’t mind me putting it that way. You would have to verify that something is working until you single out what is not working properly ( or not working at all)  in the system. Lets use the ‘logical elimination’ on the problem at hand. Firstly, check the processors heat sink for any abnormal temperature rise. Overheating processors may cause the computer to shutdown or fly it a few seconds after powering on. In case of some laptops you will have to remove the keyboard to access the heat sink or in some models you will have to remove a cover on the bottom side of the laptop. Switch on the laptop (if possible) with base cover or keyboard removed, and examine any signs of overheating. Feel the heat sink with your hand, remove it after a few seconds to avoid burns. Some overheating heat sink may produce a smell, look out for that too.

Desktop computers are quiet easy to access the heat sink. Some have a side cover, you just need to unscrew it. DELL desktops may have non-standard cases which are difficult to open for new technicians, you may have to look out for buttons somewhere on the case press and hold them while  opening otherwise you will spend hours trying to open the case. After opening switch power on and examine the heat sink. Its located above microprocessor on the motherboard. So if you see that there is excessive heat, it might be that the system fan is dead or there is none, check. make sure there is one and its working properly. If its not working properly, replace it. Remove any dust and foreign particles between the heat sink and fan. Dust and foreign particles acts as heat insulators.

You have reached this far but system still shuts down, then the problem might be one or all of your RAM. Remove them and replace with a known good one. When ever you are removing or replacing RAM, never touch its contacts!

Changing RAM did not help? well try to obtain and upgrade your computer BIOS or flush it if necessary. Some (but not all) corrupted BIOS may cause this kind of problems. Make sure the BIOS chip can be upgraded. If the chip is plugged in a socket then its upgradable, if its soldered to the motherboard then leave it as it is and try to flush it. If there is power failure during BIOS flushing, your motherboard will not work again. So always have a backup power like UPS when performing this task. Sometimes a bad processor may cause this problem, try also to change the processor with a known working one.

If all of the above does not work for you, its time to replace the motherboard.

If you have any questions e-mail peterbnd88@yahoo.com, phone +265991141149.