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How To Find Out What Crashed Your PC

Often, computers that crash regularly, or are otherwise not in use, show many signs before the crash. Here is a list of some occurrences that may help to make the diagnosis. Learn how to find out what crashed your PC and how to troubleshoot and stop them in this article.

The Signs of an Unhealthy Computer:

1. Corrupted files:

Among the most common features observed in computers that crash often is the random corruption of files. Arbitrary files can usually be rendered, corrupted, or only occasionally used. Corrupted files may also show an error message that can be used to diagnose the reason for them suddenly becoming unusable, but on multiple occasions, they don’t. Corrupted files are caused by a vast host of infectious malware like viruses, Trojans, spyware, worms, ransomware, adware, and botnets that can spread throughout the computer and render it unusable if not detected early enough. Antivirus software can be used to detect and remove such malware.

2. Conflicting Hardware:

When more than one application attempts to use the same piece of hardware concurrently, hardware conflicts occur. This can lead to application crashes as well as computer crashes. Hardware conflicts make it extremely difficult to use one’s own machine and are also very difficult to detect when using it. The easiest way to identify a potential hardware conflict and to resolve the same is by using the Windows Device Manager Application. Hardware conflict issues are conveniently highlighted in the Windows Device Manager application and can be solved using the troubleshooting mechanism.

3. Loud Fan:

One of the easiest ways to detect a system about to crash is through a noisy system fan. More often than not, a loud system fan means that your system is being exposed to a significantly higher amount of load. A noisy fan means that your system fan is running at a very high rpm to deal with the large amount of heat being generated by your machine. Overheating of the device can be caused due to several reasons, most often due to the significant CPU memory usage. This can also be due to problems with the hardware, such as dust or dirt being accumulated on it, compiling the cooling process inefficient. In case the problem is due to memory over-usage, use the task manager to detect the app leading to the problem and troubleshoot. If the same is due to a hardware issue, open the CPU and clean the fan and the accompanying hardware with a dryer.

4. Loud Hard Drive:

Another commonplace and easily diagnosable feature of an unhealthy machine is a noisy hard drive. Hard disk drives can make a significant noise if their mechanical components are not in a state of use. This can be due to the parts not having been in use for a significant amount of time, developing some mechanical issues, or due to the hard disk being corrupted. Hard drives that have been in use for a long amount of time can also develop these issues. Hard drive issues are among the most common reasons why computers crash, and it is essential to detect and repair these issues as soon as possible. Hard disk problems can also lead to loss of data.

5. Sluggish Performance:

Another easily detectable feature of computers that are about to crash can be the slow performance of hardware. Stuttering mouse performance, late detection of new hardware, the late response of keyboards, and intermittent switching off of hardware are all signs that your computer is not doing well and might require some repairs. Many online software(s) are available to detect which hardware component of your computer is causing the problem. Components such as the motherboard, RAM, and hard disk can also cause issues in computer usage and lead to frequent crashes.

6. Software Response:

Poor software response to input can also be a reason for the frequent crashing of your computer. The most frequent reason for this is installing software whose requirements are higher than the specifications of your machine. This can cause a significant slowdown in your computer’s performance and may cause it to become unresponsive and eventually crash. It is essential for all users to be responsible for their usage of the device and use it only for purposes with required specifications less than or equal to their device’s current specifications. System clean-up tools can also be used in order to optimize software performance to an extent.

7. Boot Errors:

Boot errors can occur due to a wide variety of reasons. A number of them are only occasional and do not lead to a permanent shutdown of the machine. On the other hand, other boot errors are caused by problems such as your operating system having been corrupted, and compiling the machine unusable. Boot errors can be caused due to malware, overuse of the machine, or even a long period of redundancy. Even if boot errors do not occur all that frequently, the probability that your computer will crash increases significantly since they point to a problem with your machine which might require repair or correction. These repairs may include the in-built troubleshooting applications installed in the operating system or even reinstalling your copy of the OS.

Please check out this video tutorial to install Windows 10 on your PC. Thanks to him for creating such an awesome video tutorial!

Source: Greg Salazar

Finding Out What Crashed Your PC:

1. Investigate What Crashed You PC Using Reliability Monitor utility

Finding out what crashed your PC is an essential step in diagnosing the problem with your computer and its repair. Windows offers solutions that help you diagnose the PC crash cause and troubleshoot any software issues that might have occurred. The Reliability Monitor in Windows allows for quick detection of the problems by showing a list of recent crashes of the systems and various applications within the system. The Reliability Monitor was added to Windows Vista in 2007 and has been present in all the Windows versions since. The following are the steps to access and peruse the Reliability Monitor in Windows.

1. Go to the start menu search bar and type ‘reliability.’ The results should show an option to ‘View reliability history.‘ Click on this option to open the reliability monitor.

2.The Reliability Monitor window should now open. The Reliability monitor’s main window contains a chart with the most recent days arranged as columns and the issues encountered on that day. It also includes a graph that assesses the system’s overall stability on a scale of l to 10, date-wise. Below the chart is a table listing the details of the issues encountered and the date and time the problem was encountered.

Reliability Monitor utility window
Reliability Monitor utility

3.  In the event that a crash or freeze of Windows was encountered, a red circle with an ‘X will be indicated on the chart. These are what are known as critical events. Other historical events, such as the crashing of applications and software installation, are also mentioned in the reliability monitor.

4. If a computer crash has been detected, you may double-click on the event in the table, and a page containing details of the event will open. The features of this page are the Problem, Date, and Description of the event.

Event details in Reliability Monitor utility
Event details in Reliability Monitor utility

5. The main page also contains an option to ‘Check for solutions to all problems…’ which can detect minor issues with the system and provide recommendations regarding what might be done next.

2. Investigate What Crashed Your PC by Crash Dump Analysis

Another method of diagnosing the problem with your computer is by accessing the crash dump details generated during the machine’s crash. Whenever the computer crashes, it dumps a bunch of memory files into a file that may be accessed for help during troubleshooting. Windows does not contain a local application to open these files, but many third-party applications can help you do so. The crash dump files have the extension .dmp and come with a number of other files stored in them. Opening these files can help you access the error code of the issue due to which the crash occurred and further develop a line on which to repair your computer.

There is an excellent video tutorial created by Geekhead on the Youtube platform. Play the tutorial here if you want to see the crash dump analysis in practical.

Source: Geekhead

How to Stop System Crashes?

System crashes are a particular menace for all types of computer users. A number of steps can be taken on the part of the user to stop the PC from crashing or at least stem the frequency of these crashes. Some of these steps are as follows.

1. Don’t Overload:

A very frequent reason for systems crashing is the overloading of the machine. This can be caused by using too many applications simultaneously, causing significant usage of the memory and subsequent crashing of the machine. It is hence important for the user to use the machine only as per its specifications and not run too many applications simultaneously. Doing this too often can lead to components of your machine failing or being corrupted, leading to permanent failure. It would be prudent on the part of all users only to run the machine within rated specifications.

2. Use an Antivirus:

Malware is a frequent cause of the symptoms that eventually lead to a system getting corrupted and crashing. Malware can attack software as well as hardware and significantly reduce the performance of your machine. Furthermore, malware can spread quickly throughout the system and corrupt files that might be essential for the working of the computer. It is, hence, essential to have updated antimalware software installed on the computer. It is also important that the software runs regular systemwide checks to ensure malware’s absence within the system. This can lead to essential savings in computational power as well as save the computer from frequently crashing.

3. Upgrade Your Operating System:

Several users generally skip operating System upgrades because they take a long time and require the system to be rebooted. However, it is also important to realize that operating systems come with essential security patch updates that make the system safer and improve the firmware’s robustness. Skipping operating system updates or delaying a bunch of them for later can lead to system vulnerabilities that cause the computer to eventually crash or reduce its performance.

4. Optimize Your System:

Windows offers many tools that help you optimize your system and remove unnecessary files that might hoard memory and available memory for system tasks. These files include temporary files, cookies, and junk files, which can be removed manually or through the System Cleanup utility. The system cleanup utility is present in Windows to remove files that are currently not in use and are obsolete. Other utilities also help organize files as well as declutter data already present in the system to help the user remove files manually. Many third-party software(s) are available for removing unnecessary files.

5. Do Not Download From Suspicious Sources:

Among the most important pieces of advice for any computer, the user should avoid downloading applications from sources that are not bona fide. A number of applications and software downloaded from such sources, including piracy sites, contain malware that might not be detectable through antivirus software and might infect files on your computer. Thus, it is important for any user to use only legitimate software and not download attachments or files from emails or websites that cannot be identified as trustworthy.

6. Keep Hardware Pristine:

Apart from software issues, the hardware issues discussed above are also significant sources of the system crashing. To avoid issues such as the hardware becoming unusable, it is important to ensure that it remains in working conditions. This involves not overloading or overusing the hardware and keeping the machine dust free and clean. The importance of a dust-free computer is often underestimated, but it is among the most important responsibilities of any owner.

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About the author

Arun KL

Hi All, I am Arun KL, an IT Security Professional. Founder of “thesecmaster.com”. Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Writer, Editor, Author at TheSecMaster. To know more about me. Follow me on LinkedIn

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  1. On my windows 7 machine (laptop) I searched Reliability Monitor and it had a Reliability history that showed the same thing. I just wanted to let you know if anyone who reads your post got confused. I also wanted to say thank you. I still got a lot to figure out with my computer. Thank you for the help.

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