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?
I amazed my wife by taking my laptop apart to clean it, and amazed her and myself even more by putting it back together again properly!
The heat sink was only slightly dusty, but the fan itself was considerably worse. I have cleaned them both and now hope that all with be well. I could be wrong but the laptop seems to be running slightly quicker now, and so far the highest fan speed hasn't cut in at all.
I will leave this thread open if I may since the crashes were only weekly / fortnightly. If all is well, this thread will close.
Meanwhile, thank you both very much for your help.
Since I don't smoke and the laptop is only used on a wooden office desk, I think the dust was simply an accummulation over time. The laptop is around 5 years old and this is the first time that crashes have occured.
Should a clean of the fan / heat sink be part of a regular routine, or just done when there are problems?
I'm sorry to say that, despite a squeaky clean inside, my laptop crashed (black screen) today. It was the first time in almost two weeks and I had hoped the cleaning would do the trick. Apparently not.
Is there anything else a non-techie like me can do to find out what is causing these crashes? If I give it to an I.T. specialist who would no doubt put it on test, a crash is unlikely to occur for days, which would cost me and not solve the problem.