Computer help: software problem or hardware problem?

I recently dropped my laptop. Shortly threafter I started expieriencing the blue screen of death. I took it to a computer dealer and he claimed that a recent windows update had gotten corrupted. The computer worked fine for about a week or so but now I’m getting the blue screen again. Now I’m thinking I might have loosened something when I dropped it. I also recently installed a new memory card (1 MB). Could this be what’s causing the problem? What do you think? If it’s a software problem is there some way to fix it? I’m running Windows XP.

Memory can definitely cause inconsistent, seemingly random BSODs, especially if it’s of a slightly differing type or is itself a bit flaky.

It could also be Windows Update, although if the problem persists after it was ostensibly fixed (and assuming the update was fixed or removed) then that may not necessarily be it.

Other causes of random BSODs include other flaky software, inconsistent power (usually a flaky power supply, but in a laptop it could be the battery).

I’d first try removing the new stick of memory you plugged in and see if the problem recurs. If it does, my next move would be to attempt a Windows repair install using the original XP CD, optionally disabling all of your startup applications to make sure it isn’t one of those borking things.

Failing that, check to see if it happens on battery power or AC, or both. If both, there may be something internally that’s gotten a bit buggered, like a cracked solder joint that’s causing either intermittent connections or dirtying the current.

I’m guessing hardware problem. Check your memory first. That would be my guess. Run a memory test program to see if anything is wrong. Also, check that the one you installed wasn’t knocked loose.