Anyone who has ever used a computer, whether it’s a desktop or laptop, will eventually have it freeze or crash on them. The screen may freeze for no apparent reason or simply reboot. You may also see the familiar Windows operating system blue error message known as the Blue Screen Of Death.
There are many reasons this can happen, but basically, they can all be divided into two main groups:
The severity of the problem can vary depending on the situation. A technician or software engineering company may be needed to resolve the problem.
There are also steps you can take on your own or visit the website to determine what caused your computer to freeze. Depending on what the reason is, you may be able to fix your computer by yourself.
The good news about software problems is that they are often easier and therefore cheaper to fix than hardware problems. However, there are still many types of software problems, including:
- registry errors
- driver problems
- computer viruses and other malware
The registry is a small database that Windows uses to keep track of software installed and other settings. As programs and devices get installed or removed, it’s sometimes not done correctly or something else goes wrong and the registry becomes corrupted.
It’s possible to do fix the registry yourself, but it’s highly recommended to leave it to specialized software that’s been designed explicitly for this purpose. Even though the problem could be fixed by editing the text file, if not done correctly, your problems may become worse and the computer may not even start up at all.
A driver is a small program that acts as a third person between the computer’s operating system and another program or device. Installing new programs on your computer can create conflicts with existing software and ultimately lead to the computer freezing or crashing. Replacing drivers with the latest version usually resolves these problems.
Note that the Windows operating system already has a feature called Windows Update that addresses this issue. Make sure that it’s been enabled. However, you may sometimes have to update a driver by yourself by going to the manufacturer’s website and downloading and then installing the updated driver. You may want to look for software that automatically updates all your drivers whenever a new version is available.
There are many ways for a computer to get infected with viruses and other malware. Surfing on the internet exposes you to lots of malicious software that can infect your computer. Clicking on links in emails is another way computer viruses are spread. Always be suspicious of emails whose origin is not clear. Note that sometimes emails are made to look legitimate to trick you into the opening and reading the contents.
Getting rid of computer viruses requires anti-virus software, which you need to keep running constantly to keep yourself protected. You can still get affected by viruses with security software, but with regular updates, you should be able to limit problems and clean up your computer after infection.
Microsoft makes freely available anti-virus and other anti-malware software, such as Microsoft Essentials and Defender, to licensed users of Microsoft Windows. There is no reason not to use this software to protect against malicious software.
Wear and tear do add up as your computer gets older. Eventually, all things will break. An electric surge during a storm can fry the electronics in your computer. A qualified computer technician may be needed to help determine the exact cause.
Sometimes, it’s possible to fix your computer hardware problems by yourself. Examples include:
- memory issues
You may want to diagnose these issues before contacting help. You may be able to fix your computer by yourself and not need to pay someone to come over and fix your computer.
A very common reason for computer crashes is that the computer gets way too hot. This occurs frequently when the computer has to run very fast, for instance when you’re playing computer games. If the computer is located in a very hot and humid environment or if it just happens to be a very hot day.
All desktop computer and most laptops come with fans, that can spin a finite number of times. Check if they are still working. If they do, leaving the case open may help improve ventilation and lower the temperature.
Computers like all other electronics do not like heat. Heat causes problems with parts breaking down and reduces the lifespan of devices. In the long run,you may want to consider installing additional fans in your computer or installing an air conditioner in your room to lower the temperature.
You should regularly check your computer by opening the case and clean up any buildup of dust. A dust layer on electronics traps heat and prevents them from cooling off by dissipating heat into the air. Compressed air is a good way to clean up places that may be hard to reach by hand.
One of your memory modules may have gone bad and cause computer problems. A computer usually has at least two of these modules and you may be able to run without one or more. You can try the following technique to troubleshoot your computer:
- unplug the computer, open the case and remove one of the memory modules
- start your computer and check if that causes your computer problems to go away
- if the problems persist, remove another module if there are any and continue as long as the computer keeps crashing
- if the computer stops causing problems, you can reinstall the modules one by one until the problem reappears to determine which module is bad
Before attempting to fix your computer, keep a few things in mind:
- Are there any critical documents or other data on your computer you cannot afford to lose? If that is the case, you may not want to risk anything and leave it to an expert.
- When opening your computer case, be sure to ground yourself to prevent static electricity from damaging your computer. You can use anti-static gloves if you have any or simply touched the metal with all your fingers.
- In the future, always keep backups around of your data. There are free options such as Google Drive or your own email address, which you can use as an online USB drive by mailing documents to yourself. You’ll be glad you did should things ever go wrong.