Computer Crashes

I have been having problems with my computer, which have been slowly been getting worse. It seems to be graphics related, but I have been hearing strange noises from the hard drive. In a graphics intensive game, like CoH, I will get a screen freeze, then there will be a small tic sounds from the hard drive as it works and the screen will start working again.

After a couple of times doing that, I will get a complete system crash, sometime with a blue screen saying it can’t find a necessary component, but of course it flashes off the screen too fast for me to actually read it, let alone write anything down. Any ideas on how I can figure out exactly what is wrong without actually buying new components and replacing them one by one?

First of all, always provide info on the system you are using in your OP. In this case, we need to know the type of computer and the OS.

It could be that your hard drive is starting to fail. Do a disk check with surface test (how to do this depends on your OS).

If the disk scan reveals problems or the clicking happens during it, get a new HD.

In any case, back up your HD ASAP.

Sorry, thought you could tell from my reference to City of Heroes. Shouldn’t post when it is late and I need to be in bed. :smack:

Windows XP Home, SP2. 2.1 GHtz, Athlon XP 3000+, 1GB RAM, 80MB HD.

I run Norton AV, Ad-Aware, and Spybot S&D once a week, along with occasional runs of AVG Anti-virus. Scandisk gets ran everytime the system crashes, but I don’t know if it does a surface scan. Will have to dig out my old keyboard and see if I can get this started in Safe Mode to do that.


off the top of my head i’d recommend getting a good video card and replacing your HD (i’m sure you meant GB not MB, but let’s face it - that’s still a pretty tiny drive).

What kind of supply do you have. You need at least 18amps on the 12volt rail when running video intensive applications, like games. You may not be getting the juice your computer needs. It’s a well known “unkown” Fact. Do you follow?

Windows doesn’t report power failures correctly. Good Luck.

if you need any more help, join the the forums at if you want to know more about gaming reccomendations.

This sounds to me like a hard drive clutter problem. I’ve known the Norton programs to create “cruft” on a hard drive, so it’s possible you haven’t been taking very good care of your hard drive.

(0) Back up your most critical data to CD or DVD. Do this first, as you may not get another chance. The troubleshooting steps I’m going to suggest are hard-disk intensive, and might cause a borderline drive to fail.

(1) Boot your computer in safe mode and open a command window (“cmd” at the “START>Run…” menu). Type chkdsk c: /f to run a disk check with the “fix errors” option on. WinXP occasionally insists on doing this immediately after a reboot; if prompted to do so, reboot. This may take up to 30 minutes on an 80GB drive, especially if there are other undiagnosed problems.

(2) From the “START>Run…” menu, type defrag c:. This will defragment your hard drive. You can also use the Windows-based defrag utility, usually located in Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. It gives a graphical display of progress which can be more comforting than the blank black DOS prompt. The report that pops up at the end of this routine should tell you a little bit about the state of your drive before and after the defrag. If your drive is more than 75% full, this can take a long damn time. I just defragged 12GB of data on a 60GB drive, and it took about 35 minutes. When you read the concluding report, note carefully if your page file and/or MFT have become fragmented – a fragmented MFT can lead to an inoperative OS, and can only be repaired with 3d-party software (like Executive Software’s “Diskeeper”, made by the same people who wrote DEFRAG for Microsoft).

(3) Try a 3d-party utility to read the SMART status of your hard drive. I used this one once, but I’m sure there are better ones, and free ones, available with a quick Google.

On preview, leandroc76 raises a good point, although I’ve always heard the rule of thumb as 15A on the 12V rail. It might be useful (for our purposes) for you to open your case and get the serial number of your motherboard, graphics card, and power supply. Most other components draw either insignificant or model-invariant amounts of power.

It is an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro, I have 2 monitors running on it. Well, sometimes, things seem to work better with one turned off since I started having trouble. One reason I am thinking it is the video card. If it wasn’t for the noise coming from the HD, I would probably just bite the bullet and get an X850. I don’t really want to drop almost $500 on that if it is something else that I can fix more easily, like a HD problem. And I go on vacation to the UK in less than 2 weeks, so spending more than necessary is not a good thing. :smiley:

Yes I meant 80 GB. Apparently, I shouldn’t try posting when I get up either. :stuck_out_tongue: As for a tiny drive, it still has almost 30 gigs free. I don’t have a problem with disk space right now.

leandroc76, it is an Antec 480 watt I installed about a year and a half ago. It has been working fine as far as I can tell. I know about power supplies failing. Had one shooting sparks out of the back of my tower once. Didn’t lose my HD on that one thank goodness.