Computers are incredibly sophisticated machines with many different components. Figuring out why your machine is malfunctioning can be challenging and frustrating. Moreover, many hardware and software problems can display the same symptoms. For example, your web browser could be crashing because of malicious software, bad software, software conflicts, or hardware issues.
So, if your computer is displaying any of the signs in this blog, please run an advanced antivirus scan first to rule out computer viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkits, and other malware that cause performance concerns. Likewise, uninstall any new programs that may be forcing errors. Finally, download and install the latest software updates for your operating system and other critical software. If, after a software cleanse, your machine exhibits any of the following signs, you may have some bad hardware:
#1 Blue Screen of Death
While the blue screen of death (BSOD) is not always fatal, it’s usually a bad sign, especially in an era when operating systems like Windows 10 are relatively stable. A faulty memory stick, inadequate power supply, hard drive errors can all initiate the BSOD. Should you see the BSOD more than a few times, restart your computer and run memory and hard drive checks in safe mode.
#2 Random Restarts
Random restarts aren’t common. They can be a sign of hardware conflicts or faulty hardware. If your computer began restarting randomly after adding new hardware, try disconnecting it to see if that helps. For example, your new piece of RAM (Random Access Memory) may not be compatible with your motherboard or the older stick of memory.
An inadequate power supply unit (PSU) can also force your computer to crash. Either your PSU is not powerful enough to support your system, or it’s dying. Try a different PSU, especially if you installed a new graphics card.
Computers with failing computer fans or weak power supplies can overheat from stress. If your computer is crashing and your BIOS shows that your system temperate is unusually high, try clearing the dust with an air blower. You may also need to add new thermal paste to an overheating CPU (Central Processing Unit) if your machine is aging.
Computers typically freeze due to software issues. Give your locked-up computer some time before you take action in case it recovers on its own. You can also visit the Task Manager to see if a program is causing the freeze. Once you rule software problems out, run a hard drive test. A faulty hard disk drive or solid-state drive can force your computer to freeze. Next, run a memory diagnostic tool to check your RAM’s health. A bad CPU or an inadequate PSU can also force your computer to freeze.
#5 Visual Artifacts
Do you see strange visual artifacts on your screen when watching a video or playing a game? If so, your graphics card could be faulty. Try cleaning the graphics card fan to prevent it from overheating. Graphics cards can also produce artifacts when they’re not getting enough juice from the PSU. If you don’t have a graphics card, your motherboard’s onboard Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) could be to blame.
Sometimes, the problem might be a faulty cable between your graphics port and your monitor. It can also be the monitor itself. Diagnosing hardware issues isn’t a straightforward task without the right tools and alternative components. Consider taking your system to professionals if you don’t have the time or resources to figure it out.