Why did my computer crash?

Today I thought I would address one of the most frequent tech support help requests that I get. “My computer is crashing constantly… what’s wrong?  There is not a simple answer to that question.  There can be many things wrong with your computer when crashing becomes a persistent problem.  The fixes can range from simple computer maintenance to hardware problems.  I’ve listed some of the common causes here to give you a place to get started.

Possibility 1: Disorganized Files on hard drive

Your hard drive is where the files on your pc is stored. Every time you uninstall a software program gaps are created where those files once were. Then every time you create a document, visit web sites, or install another software program those holes get filled. Commonly used files for each of those programs get scattered about the hard drive when this happens it causes your hard drive to work twice as hard to pull up files. This can not only slow down the performance of your computer but also cause system instability.


Defragment your hard drive regularly. There is a program included with windows called disk defragmenter. This is done by:

  • Open My Computer.
  • Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, and then click Properties.
  • On the Tools tab, click defragment Now.
  • Click defragment.

You can also find defragmenter by navigating to accessories –> system tools –>disk defragmenter  in your program menu.


Possibility 2: Corrupted System Registry Files

Every windows based computer has a windows registry. The registry stores configuration settings and options on Microsoft Windows operating systems. These entries are crucial to the proper behavior for many of the software programs on your computer. Over time this registry can become corrupt or entries can be changed causing system shut downs or erratic behavior in when using various software programs.


Use a registry cleaning program. There are several out there that are free or trial based to get you running again. Most of these programs will diagnose the problem then allow for automatic repair of the problem(s). If crashes persist after this there is more than one issue with your computer.


Possibility 3: Malicious Software

Malicious software can be anything from Viruses and Malware to adware generating software that has infected your computer.  Sometimes they are very hard to get rid of  and require a technical expert but in most cases you can prevent and or remove them with software readily available for download online.


Install a virus protection program.  I suggest the following free solutions that will help you deal with many of the malicious software out there.

If you still need help with this solution contact us and we will provide you with one of our technical support solutions.


Possibility 4: Low Memory

You bought your computer 2 years ago and it was so fast you thought you would never need to buy another.  It seemed like your computer had been endowed by the memory fairy with unlimited potential.  Not exactly true.  Every year the software that reaches the stores or available for download is designed to run on the newest computers out there.  Your computer may not have enough memory to run one of these memory hogging programs.

Fix:  Be sure to look at the requirements for software before you buy.  There is usually a requirements listing on the back of the software box or listed online by many of the software vendors.  Of Course you can always have more memory installed as many computers are sold with the base memory required to run the operating system and software the machine was sold with.

Possibility 5: Overheating Computer

Your computer may have an overheating issue. Every processor has a fan that keeps it cool.  The fan in your computer may have stopped working or is not working as fast as it should because it is worn or has become dirty.

Fix: In either case a new fan is not very expensive or hard to install and if  it puts an end to the crashes it will be worth every cent.  You can also try cleaning the fan with an air can.  Sometimes this is a quick solution that brings immediate results.  If you have a laptop do not use an air can as you can make the problem worse by blowing into the venting ports on the machine.  For a laptop a shop-vac works great.  Just use your hand to cup the shop vac over the air vents and suck out all the debris clogging the fan.  DO NOT use the shop vac on a desktop pc… You can however use it on the fan if you remove it first.

I hope this post has helped you fix your problem. Most of the time a little routine maintenance will get you running again. When it doesn’t or you need help diagnosing or fixing your problem Anayacs can help. Just contact us using the contact form on this site or give us a call.  We will be more than happy to assist you using one of our tech support solutions.

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Orlando Anaya is a freelance web developer and customer support specialist. Orlando provides remote technical support to his clients and maintains an online company providing website development with web and shoutcast hosting services.

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