Instructables

My computer keeps crashing, help please?

I have a Pentium 4 3ghz, 1.75GB Ram running Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002, Service Pack 2.

It crashes all the time (at least once a day, often more) and I get the following screen, with an illegible (error?) message (see image). At which point I have to reboot. Upon rebooting it would either start up and work perfectly fine or say "hard disk error" press control alt delete. When this happens I turn it off and leave it for 10 min or so and turn on the computer again and it will work fine.

I at first thought I was demanding too much of it by trying to multitask, such as running several programs and listening to music, but this doesn't seem to be the case, I've notice it rebooting while it is idle and I'm in another room. Or I would start it up and it would crash within 5 minute, without me using it yet.

I've tried the following, (which haven't worked):

  • Upgraded the ram, when the problem started I only had 1GB now I have 2GB (although Window's tells me I only have 1.75GB)
  • Installed the program RAMbooster in hopes of freeing up more memory.
  • Disk cleanup
  • Full virus scan, using F-secure which I get with my ISP, and regularly updates.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated, this is a really frustrating problem. (Please don't tell me I need to buy a new computer, I can't afford it right now.)


ReCreate5 years ago
Why is the Text All Blurry Like that? What is The Screen Resolution? And That Is Not a Standard Blue Screen Of death. A Normal BOSD Should Have white text With a Blue Backround You Almost NEVER Need TO buy a New PC,The worst case scenario would Be An OS Reinstall. Tell me,How Large is your HDD? How Much Free Space do you Have? Are you Experienced In this kind of Computer stuff? By how the Graphics Look in the Picture It seems that You have A horribly Incompatible Graphics Driver. Go in the Start Menu,Be sure not to have any Programs Open,And Probably do this In safe mode(TO get in Safe Mode Restart XP And when The Windows Logo appears Press F5 And F8 One of those keys activate Safemode) Click Run and Type dxdiag And Click On the Display Tab,Now See what Video Driver it is Using,If you see vga.sys It is using a generic driver,You should Install Proper drivers,Also Tell Me all The Other Information In the "Device" Group,Or you can just take a screenshot and upload it here. Upgrading Ram Would Be doing Nothing,According to your Specs you Should Be able to Install Windows 7,And It should run Like a Brand New PC,If you have Allot of space left On your HDD You Can Resize your HDD partition TO a size a little Smaller And Create Another One To Reinstall Windows XP In or to Install 7 In,IN fact,You Don't need a CD to burn it to,You only need to download,And Mount it Via VCdRom,It does the whole Setup Within Windows and It takes 30 Minutes to a hour. I suspect that Your PC Is infected With A Very Clever Virus that Simulates A Crash.
ChrysN (author)  ReCreate5 years ago
Thanks for your help, I checked dxdiag and I have the correct driver, the screen resolution is 1280X1024. The graphics card is functioning normally, its just when it crashes do I get the strange blue text on a black screen, you'd think I should be getting the BSOD instead. My hard drive is 150gb with 32.3gb of free space. I suspected a virus, but my virus scanner isn't picking anything up.
ReCreate ChrysN5 years ago
Back up your data,Preform a reinstall. Can You show Me a High Res photo of the crash? And does the text look like that? Or did you blur it out?
ChrysN (author)  ReCreate5 years ago
The reinstall worked, thanks for your help!
ReCreate ChrysN5 years ago
Your welcome,Here Is An Idea To Save you from This Happening Again,Download Virtual PC And Install Windows Xp In a Virtual Machine,Every Time you Suspect Something Of a virus,Run it in Virtual PC,In the Emulated Windows Xp,be sure to Have Undo Disks Enabled.
ChrysN (author)  ReCreate5 years ago
Cool idea, thanks.
ReCreate ChrysN5 years ago
Your Welcome,This Idea Worked for Me.
zack2473 years ago
now im not answering the question, but i have taken your picture and resized the screen's picture to about the ratio i think it would normally be. if anyone can manage to read this, it may help you stay away from whatever it is that did it. i can tell you that it definitely isn't a windows error screen.

click the "i" in the corner because instructables makes the images too low quality.
svbb.png
zack247 zack2473 years ago
i guess there isn't a "i" there. if you need better quality i can upload it to mediafire.
ReCreate4 years ago
Is windows still telling you you have 1.7GB of ram? If so, You may be able to apply a registry hack to enable up to 3GB of ram to reach the full potential of a 32 bit OS
Istarian5 years ago
I think NachoMahma might have a point, overheating combined with overload circuitry can cause computers to appear to spontaneously reboot. I had that problem with my computer while running a graphics heavy game once. As said by NachoMahma, you should check for dust and also see if there are at least two fans in the case (on on top of cpu and one on the side of the case). If there are two working fans in the case and the graphics card has a working fan or no fan at all then it should be fine heat wise. On another note, either windows XP can't actually use 2GB of RAM (which I think might be the case) or the system is monopolizing 256MB for something so it doesn't show up as allocatable memory. That's a very strange crash screen, did it actually have words on it?
ChrysN (author)  Istarian5 years ago
Yes, the crash screen was quite unusual it looked like there were words but I couldn't decipher them. I did clear out the dust inside the computer (though it didn't stop it from crashing ), I will definitely be more diligent in the future. Once I re-installed Windows it stopped crashing, though it still reads 1.75Gb ram.
if your computor keeps crashing how did you get onto instructables?
ChrysN (author)  Zaphod Beeblebrox5 years ago
Sometime my computer does work for a while, before crashing again.
electrosam5 years ago
Windows needs frequent reinstallation after specific intervals. If you are a hardcore PC user then you many need to reinstall windows once 1 three months. For normal user, windows should be reinstalled once a year. Also I suggest you not to install any type of programs like RAMbooster, registry cleaner etc. They don't do anything but only slow the machine by interfering in Windows components. If you don't need various applications that are available for Windows only like Adobe and you want a simple, crash & virus free OS I recommend Ubuntu.
NachoMahma5 years ago
. I suspect a heat problem. Clean the computer. . It may be a problem with the video hardware and/or drivers (assuming you cleaned it above and it's not overheating). With the computer off, unplug and re-install the video card. If that doesn't work, un-install/re-install the drivers.