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Tech Helproom


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laptop crashes for no reason


Markito

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I have an ageing HP Compaq 6715b AMD Turion 64x2 laptop running Windows XP Pro, SP3. RAM 1.87GB. Almost 75% of disk space is free. My default browser is Firefox (regularly updated automatically). I also have Internet Explorer 8 and Outlook Express 6, and I suspect that there is a clash when it comes to trying unsuccessfully to print whole messages from O.E. (I have to go to the gmail website to do so.)

I have Norton Internet Security 2012 and Utilities 15, which I keep checked and clean, though it's about 6 months since I did a defragmentation.

I use the laptop only for e-mails and surfing plus LibreOffice 3 for documents.

Recently, the laptop has been crashing occasionally - maybe once a week on average - for no apparent reason. It happens at any time, whether I'm surfing or on the screensaver. I either get vertical black / white lines or suddenly a blank black screen and have to force a closedown. When I start up again, all works normally until the next crash.

I am not an experienced computer user, so are there any easy ways I can check what is causing this problem?

Many thanks in advance,

Mark

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Markito

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I'll do that and let you know how I get along.

It will take a few days because I'll be away.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Mark

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Markito

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Just one question before I do this.

Will the action you suggested wipe off all my work, plus all the software currently installed? If so I will need to backup my whole computer, rather than just saving current work?

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woodchip

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It depends on how the Recovery Solution is created, If you do run it you should look for things it says about saving Doc etc

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Markito

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I'm back again, I'm sorry to say. This is what I have done so far, and still my laptop crashes every 7-10 days. Actions to date:

  1. Saved / copied my work and disk contents to a DVD.
  2. Restored system to a previous date - in fact to several months ago before the crashes started. Surely I won't need to revert to factory settings if I've gone back to before the crashes occured?
  3. Run my Norton Internet Security / antivirus / spyware.
  4. Defragmented my disk.
  5. Run Diskcheck abd disk cleanup - the volume is clean.
  6. Deleted all temp. files.

So I must ask you experienced users if there is anything else which could be causing these random crashes. e.g.

a) Could my HP Deskjet F4580 printer be causing crashes? b) Can Java cause crashes? (I know it's unstable.) c) Could a Media Player Codec Pack cause crashes? d) Could the screen itself have developed a fault?

And finally:

If after all I really need to do what you suggested by pressing F11 on startup and do a factory settings recovery, can I then easily install such software as my N.I.S.? - bearing in mind it is for one computer only; will I be in a position to reinstall Firefox, my preferred browser? I also have doubts about reinstalling my e-mail account which is now Thunderbird by default, having moved from Outlook Express.

I'm sorry for so many questions, but the laptop is now 5 1/2 years old and if it is reaching the end of its life I would appreciate knowing this for sure.

Thank you all in advance for any further help.

Mark

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onthelimit1

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Might be worth running bluescreenview. This may point to what is causing the failures, before going for more drastic action.

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Markito

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Just one point - when it crashes, the screen shows either black and white vertical lines very close together, or a blank black screen. Should I still go ahead with this?

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Markito

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Perhaps I should add that I am running LibreOffice, not MS Office. I don't know if that could be suspect.

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onthelimit1

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The fact your screen does that points to the video chip to me. If so, BSV should indicate if it's a driver problem.

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Markito

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Excuse my ignorance, but what is BSV and how do I use it?

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Markito

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I have now updated my graphics drivers. So let's see what happens.

By the way, the appearance of everything - from the desktop typeface and icons to web page appearances and type size have now changed completely. Can I revert to what they were?

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