Do I really need a new computer?

  lulu2608 12:24 04 May 2015

My pc is nearly 6 years old but was the best spec I could afford at the time and seems to have been pretty future proof. It is a quad core 2.5 ghz pc with 4gb ram, 500 gb hard drive with 60 gb free on the program side and 210 gb free on the data side. The trouble is it keeps crashing of late, just switching off with no warning or reason, or when I switch it on it grunts through the start up then goes deathly silent and won't do anything.

I've been looking at possible replacements but they don't seem much better. I'm amazed dual core processors are still for sale and many quad core are only about the same speed as mine. The hard drives seems to be averaging 1 tb, so a bit bigger, but the main difference seems to be the ram. Mine only has ddr2 ram so is harder to get and can only be upgraded to 8 gb I believe. I wasted hours yesterday trying to get it to stay on to study and ended up losing the whole day. It is driving me potty to say the least and I am behind on my dissertation in no small part due to the pc not working. I can procrastinate myself, I don't need the computer to help! ;O)

So, do I really need a new pc or would spending £50-ish on 2/4 gb ram help considering the rest of the spec is still quite good? (Yes, I'm posting this in a rare stable moment!)


  rdave13 13:08 04 May 2015

The PC simply switching off under no particular load and not actually doing anything when trying to start make me think of a failing PSU or motherboard. The only way to check the PSU is to replace it. Have you cleaned the inside of the PC lately? Carefully removing the accumulated dust?

  northumbria61 13:20 04 May 2015

I go along with rdave13 on this one. I have just recently replaced my PSU for the same reasons that you describe. Take a look inside your PC case, switch on and take a careful look with a torch if necessary to check and see if fan is running.

  lulu2608 13:20 04 May 2015

Clean? Haha.

Hmm no I haven't cleaned inside the pc lately. 'They' always scare non-techies from opening boxes. I did keep my old pc though to 'play' with and find out what goes on under the bonnet but I haven't had time. But when it does work I do have loads of applications running at once, so it does fail under a 'load'.

So stupid question - is cleaning as simple as it sounds? But also from what you suggest if the PSU or motherboard were failing wouldn't it do nothing? i.e. not turn on at all. And what about RAM? From what I read that is the first thing 'they' advise to upgrade isn't it?


  lulu2608 13:25 04 May 2015

I did wonder about overheating as it is in a new cupboard which is a bit smaller, BUT the problems started before that. I'm going out shortly but will put cleaning on my to do list!

  northumbria61 13:51 04 May 2015

Cleaning is your first and cheapest option.

Switch off PC from Mains electric. Take the sides of the case off and use a hair dryer (cold or low heat setting) to gently blow out the dust. A good soft brush will also be useful.

If your PC is in a cupboard that could be a problem. Are all your fans working, intake/exhaust to give you a good flow of air?

And yes a failing PSU can go gradually over a period of time. In my case the PC was staying on for up to 8-10 hours and then switching off but then began decreasing in time before I finally realised what the problem was.

So my advice would be to start with the easiest options first before spending any money.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:30 04 May 2015

Agree with above - clean out the dust with a hair dryer and soft brush

scrap the gunk off the fan blades if built up - coktail stck or cuticle stick is ideal.

there may also be a layer of fluff under the cpu fan so its worth removing and checking if you fell capable.

but your symptoms appear to be a failing PSU.

  wee eddie 14:34 04 May 2015

As it is sitting in a cupboard, the potential for overheating is considerable. As the others have suggested, a cobweb cleanout would be the first, and cheapest, move.

You don't say what OS you're using but, an Upgrade to W10, when the time comes, if it will handle it - It looks as though it should.

You made no mention the Security and Maintenance Software that you use. An AV, of course, and then regular use CCleaner, Malwarebytes (both free) and possible some other antispyware. A defrag would probably not go amiss as well.

  wee eddie 14:39 04 May 2015

In answer to your question>

No you don't need a new computer, and Yes, extra RAM would speed things up as your on the lower limit. But remember, if you have a 32bit system don't bother to install over 4GBb of RAM as your system will only use 3.something's of it.

  robin_x 15:01 04 May 2015

Wasting hours and days is no good if you should be working.

Use your old computer or borrow a laptop.


One quick solution for the faulty computer might be to make a Live USB Flash Drive with Ubuntu

You could then see if it works and use Libre Office to carry on working.

Internet access via Firefox is also on there.


The Universal USB Installer has a link to the Ubuntu Desktop Download page for the iso file. Donation of a payment is not obligatory.

Set Persistent Memory to max

Boot the USB and Try Ubuntu, or it may automatically install on the USB.

(Don't make a Full Install to the computer hard drive if you see the option. That's not required)


The USB drive will be wiped. Make sure any College work is backed up elsewhere.

  lulu2608 21:02 06 May 2015

Hi. So I found my way (eventually) into the sacred box - boy there's a lot of space in there - and wafted it with the hairdryer. Yes there was dust, but not piles of the stuff. I turned the computer on tonight, it switched on OK and I went to a website, poodled around for ten mins or so then the website stopped responding. I now have the silent treatment and it won't do anything. Both the internal and psu fans are running, I was checking them every 10 mins or so whilse using the computer, and it is still on (I'm currently on my work laptop).

Having talked about RAM I can't see where that would plug in - I thought it would be kind of obvious. So does it still sound like a PSU issue?


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