Signs Your Computer Is Dying
By Chris Blank
You've had your computer for five, six, seven or more years, and it has more or less provided reliable service. However, you have recently noticed deterioration in your computer's performance, and you may wonder if your computer is dying. Diagnostic tools such as self-monitoring, analysis and reporting technology available on most hard drives manufactured since 1996, will help you monitor your computer's health by disclosing some of the common signs that often indicate serious problems. Other hardware issues such as faulty fans or malfunctioning motherboards can consign your computer to the PC graveyard.
The touchpad on your laptop has stopped working. You suddenly notice several dead pixels on your desktop display. One or more of the USB ports on the tower of your desktop computer no longer recognize any device. Worse, when you turn the computer on, the power indicator lights up, but your monitor screen remains black, indicating possible problems with the computer's video card. When individual parts of your computer start to fail, it is possible that your entire system may be in imminent danger of failure as well. If your computer does not recognize the hard drive during the bootup process, problems with the firmware indicate a possible imminent hard drive failure. A computer that beeps rather than boots up when you turn it on indicates problems with the keyboard, memory, video card or motherboard.
Your computer takes several minutes to boot up, and once the computer desktop finally loads, your computer responds sluggishly, with functions like file access slowing significantly from when you first bought your computer. While this sort of problem may be an indication that you should clear your browser cache, eliminate some programs from your computer startup process or defragment your hard drive, it could also indicate that your computer hard drive is failing.
Freezes and Crashes
If your computer displays the dreaded "blue screen of death" once, you have a problem. If your computer crashes repeatedly, reboots itself unexpectedly or simply freezes up without warning, your computer may be infected with spyware, its cooling fan may be clogged with dust or your computer's power supply may be faulty. If the amount of RAM listed as your computer boots up represents less than the sum of your installed RAM, your computer's memory module may be faulty. Computer freezes before the operating system begins to load may indicate problems with your computer's motherboard.
Virtual memory "borrows" sections of your computer hard drive to function as memory when your computer needs more RAM than you've installed, either to run multiple programs at the same time or to work with large files. If you see frequent warnings about the use of virtual memory for routine operations, your system needs more physical RAM. Failure to upgrade memory can increase the wear and tear on your hard drive.
Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.