Computers are great so long as they work in the ways we expect them to, but expectations can — and do — fail. Countless throngs of people since the dawn of the computer age have suffered when their trusty PC companion crashed at the end of its short life cycle. Oftentimes, in addition to being left without the means of production, these poor computer-dependent souls are also stranded without their very important data. Don’t end up like so many who have come before you. Here are a number of telltale signs that your computer has a death wish.
Hardware conflicts in a PC stem from more than one component trying to use the same resource or accomplish the same task. It shows itself in unusual behavior, like when audio works in some programs but not all. Hardware conflicts won’t necessarily cause your computer to crash, but they will create instability, and over time, this can tax your hardware and your operating system to such a degree that crashes will occur.
When your computer and hard drive are working the way they should, your drive will make a light, soft, non-ominous whirring sound as it spins. If you start to hear any clicking or grinding sounds, then the drive is beginning to wear itself down, and you need to make arrangements to back up your data and look for a computer sale.
This problem is a slow burn that will eventually turn into a raging fire. If you have files or programs that begin to struggle when you try to open them — even if you’re eventually successful — it means trouble is brewing. Even if it’s never accompanied by an error message, you can be sure that errors are amassing. If this begins to happen to your computer, a number of things could be to blame. Make sure your anti-virus software is up and running and current. Even if it is, you should still run a scan for malware and other undesirables. Viruses have been known to cause file and program corruption, in addition to wreaking other havoc. If you don’t have a virus causing your problems, open Windows Device Manager and look for any hardware conflicts.
Error messages can take a variety of forms, but it’s when your computer starts to engage in doublespeak that you know you’re in for a hard time. If you start your computer and an error message tells you your hard drive isn’t formatted, what’s actually occurring is a little computer prognostication: your hard drive is about to go the way of the Dodo. If you get an error message that says that your boot drive cannot be found or accessed, check the CD/DVD tray to make sure there’s no disc causing confusion. Then, check the BIOS to ensure that the computer is booting up from the hard drive first. If those two check out, your PC is probably on its last leg.
If you’ve ever been humming along on your computer at a solid pace, accomplishing multiple tasks and feeling not a care in the world, only to have your computer, mouse, keyboard, screen — everything — come to a screeching halt, then you’ve experienced the dreaded freeze. If this happens to you on a regular basis, it means your computer is about to give up the ghost.
Regardless of what you’re trying to do on your computer, if its performance is slower, then you’re probably beginning to court a catastrophe. From video games and YouTube to word processing and photo editing, if you start to notice that your computer responds sluggishly or not at all, then something is definitely amiss. It’s possible that you’ve simply maxed out your RAM with too many programs and that removing some of them will solve the illnesses afoot. You can also try cleaning Windows or running an operating system re-install. If you’ve tried all these methods, and the poor performance remains, you’ve probably got a hardware issue on your hand and an impending computer death knell in your future.
Computer crashes are never a good thing, but being prepared for them can lessen the blow. If your PC is engaging in any of the above fishy behavior, back up your data, check your savings account and get ready to go shopping.
About the Author: Mari Olsen is a contributing writer. She works as an IT consultant in the Denver, Colorado area. She recommends data recovery software from www.recovermyfiles.com