Persistant computer crashing issue - no idea why.

  Vaune Mason 00:38 30 Dec 2016

Hi there, I am really hoping someone may have some solutions - I have had 4 computers - all PC, two laptops and two desktops, have the same issue over the last three years, all in one location. My studio in Wellington, NZ. Three of the computers were of varying old ages, and now, the current PC is brand new and has the same issue. The issue has killed the previous three, and I am at a complete loss as to what's causing it.

What happens? The computer will randomly crash, with no warning. Usually the crashes will start off as an occasional thing, once a week for example. Then gets progressively more frequent, til after a couple of months, it starts crashing several times a day. Then, not long after that, the computer just won't turn on anymore - or if it does, there's nothing on the screen.

What have I done about it so far? I have had a few friends who know lots about computers take a look. They can't find anything wrong with the software or the hardware. My latest computer has had lots more investigations to find out whats causing the crashes and there are no clues. I began to wonder if it was a power fluctuation issue, and so purchased a UPS. After plugging the pc into the UPS, the crashing stopped completely for about 3 wks. Then started up again, following the same increasing pattern. I then purchased a completely new extention cord, and multiboxes, for the computer, screen, modem etc. The problem stopped completely for about 4wks... then started up again.... we are now at the stage where the computer crashes daily, and sometimes 2x per day.

Has ANYONE experienced anything like this? Yes I have antivirus software. No my PC is not overheating. I don't run massive programmes - I just use the PC for basic admin stuff - word / excel / open office / gmail / spotify.

Any suggestions folks? My next option is to ask a professional PC person, but as my mates are pretty savvy, and are all completely at a loss, I am reluctant to pay the $150 /hr plus that a professional service person will charge before I have done as much research as possible. Many thanks in advance!

  mole44 04:56 30 Dec 2016

Putting the on via a UPS after something inside pc won't alter any damage don pre i'm no expert you may be getting electrical spikes in your electricity and it's damaged your computers.All my equipment go through a UPS and a Belkin surge protector (I'm a belt and braces man),i shall leave it to others with a far higher pay grade than me to try to find an answer.

  Forum Editor 12:13 30 Dec 2016

The fact that exactly the same issue has arisen in three previous machines is obviously indicative of a common, external cause, and the prime suspect has to be the power supply.

You might eliminate or confirm this as the cause by taking your computer to a different location entirely, to see if that makes a difference. That would be my first step.

  westom1 03:08 31 Dec 2016

Start by defining 'crash'. Is the power controller powering off the machine? Are tasks crashing? A processes just becoming slow? Is you computer connecting to over 50 web sites with each internet web site connection? What does the system 'event' logs report? Is the machine staying on but just holding?

Your replies are only as useful as information that you first provide.

Nothing posted suggests or implies a UPS would have done anything useful. After all, good voltage for any properly constructed electronics is so low that incandescent bulbs may even dim to 50% intensity. First define (best information also includes numbers) what is meant by 'crash'.

BTW, who assembled the machine. If from better computer manufacturers, then diagnostics are provided for free. What did those comprehensive hardware diagnostics report?

  Vaune Mason 01:23 01 Jan 2017

Hi - Thanks to Forum Editor - we actually haven't tried that - which could be a simple way to find out if the issue is indeed external from the actual computer. I am taking the pc home today and will check it out that way for starters

  Vaune Mason 01:29 01 Jan 2017

@Westom1 - your questions are on the ball - unfortunately, I personally am not much with the advanced side of computer diagnostics, so all I can say regarding the reports my techy mates looked at was that they said everthing looked normal. They were looking in the event logs, and other places...

Crashing: with no warning, the screen freezes, mouse does not respond, CTL/ALT/DEL does nothing, no keys work... if there's a song playing on spotify, it stutters like a very bad stuck cd for about 20 seconds then stops. The only thing we have been able to do is hold the power button down until the PC turns off - takes about 30 seconds to turn off - and then wait a bit before re-starting as normal. There's no perceptible slowing of tasks, no extra websites, just sudden freezes.

Who built it> is my business partner's husband - one of the said techy people who has tried and failed to diagnose anything. So I can't go to a big company for help.

  mole44 05:08 01 Jan 2017

Says it all really,if you don't know what your doing leave well alone.My suggestion buy yes buy another pre built machine then move over your data (Best kept on a separate drive) looks like your "Partner" is not a knowable as they make out.

  westom1 16:49 01 Jan 2017

Nothing posted previously or here requires advanced knowledge. Every suggestion (ie comprehensivce diagnostics) are performed even by a 13 year old. Unfortunately your hardware does not come from better computer companies. So no comprehensive diagnostics are provided. Appreciate why better manufacturers provide diagnostics - to identify a defect immediately. To know what is good without doubt. And what is suspect. Dell is an example of a pre-assembled computer that comes with those diagnostics and other features that increase reliability.

Currently, most everything in your system remains suspect. Did you do a light bulb test? Does not matter if you think it does not report anything useful. What is reported probably means nothing to you - and everything to assistants who really are techy.

If anyone did an analysis without a digital meter, then they really not that techy. A digital meter is a tool so simple that even a 13 year old can use it (with instructions on what to measure). Meter provides numbers that actually say something useful.

Understanding what those numbers say is the techy part. But without numbers, an undefined and relevant subsystem remains unknown - potentially problematic.

This strategy. Everything is undefined. Each subsystem must go from undefined to either suspect bad or known good without any doubt. Currently everything remains in the undefined category. Again, do not yet try to fix anything. One step at a time. Current objective is to build a list of bad suspects.

So what is your crash? All power remains on. Cntrl-Alt-Del does not talk to the OS. So the OS as well as tasks (all software) crash. A major fact necessary to have any useful replies. Next step is never to try to fix anything. Next step is to make a defect hard and repeatable.

For example (and not yet listed) are tasks necessary to create this crash. Does it always happen if or only if connected to the internet? What programs are common to this anomaly? If connected to the internet, does the problem disappear in maybe 30 seconds after physically disconnecting that internet connection? Did you execute and create the defect with Process Explorer open? What does it do? Does it also stop working? Do some tasks consume excessive CPU time? Worry about identifying the defect. Do not yet try to fix it.

After doing a power off by holding down a power button, does a power button not restart power in 5 seconds? You said 30 seconds wait. Why? What specifically does and does not happen in that 30 seconds?

Moving on to other powerful diagnostic tools that better techys use. Heat does not damage electronics. Heat is an excellent diagnostic tool. A hair dryer on highest heat settings is a good (unfortunately not hot enough) tool to isolate a defect. Selectively heat various components inside that computer to learn where heat causes a crash. Heat identifies parts that are 100% defective but tend to work fine in a 20 degree C room. BTW, even over 100 degrees C is not hardware harmful to any semiconductor. But 100% defective semiconductors act defective at those higher temperatures.

Again, defined was the incandescent light bulb test. That should be on and monitored before, during, and after a crash.

Back to a definition of techy. Any layman can assemble a computer. It is that simple. Only one complex direction applies. Never connect or disconnect any wire or part until the power plug is completely removed from a power point (wall receptacle). If a plug or board mates to the connector, then it belongs there. Every connector is that unique (that fool proof) requiring almost no techy knowledge.

  Burn-it 16:59 01 Jan 2017

Beware the comments by Westorn1. He has only ever replied on questions about power and may work for a power supply company.

  bumpkin 18:18 01 Jan 2017

My thoughts Burn-it, was waiting for the spam. Has anyone considered static as a possible cause as that was one of the first things to cross my mind.

  wee eddie 19:25 01 Jan 2017

As these crashes have been happening over a period, and to more than one PC, I would suspect, power spikes or surges, possibly caused by large pieces of equipment, in the vicinity, cutting either on or off

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