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Computer crashes without warning

January 1, 2007

in All Articles,Miscellaneous

Robert asks:

I have an HP Pavilion notebook and its been shutting itself off for several months. No warning, just click. I have Computer Associate’s EZ-Trust antivirus and each time I do a virus scan, when it gets to C\i386, my PC shuts down. It lets me start up again, then quickly shuts down. I must wait a couple hours to restart and then its ok for a while.

So to clarify: Your PC shuts down randomly, AND when virus scanning the i386 directory. When it shuts down, it doesn’t turn on again unless you wait for a couple hours. And the shut down is as if you yanked power from the device? A screen-goes-black crash?

Make sure this isn’t due to your system power settings (available at Start -> Classic Conrol Panel -> Power Options). Look at your settings and make sure system standby and hibernate settings are off. Otherwise, if you don’t use your PC for a time, it could automatically hibernate or standby, both of which could appear like a crash if you’re not watching closely. This probably isn’t the issue, as you also say your PC doesn’t turn back on without waiting. But it doesn’t hurt to check!

I’m guessing you may have a hardware problem. Specifically something dealing with the power supply or hard drive. There may also be an overheating issue, which could affect anything from CPU to motherboard, memory or other components. Those fans in your computer are important – PCs don’t like heat!

When you get unpredictable computer crashes with no warning, you can start by looking for a physical problem. Either it’s a device plugged in to the machine (when I plug in a scanner, for example, the computer crashes), or it’s a hardware problem inside the computer.

Take the PC in to a local specialist. They can look at system error logs in Windows, and perform diagnostics on individual components (like hard drive and power supplies) to try to pinpoint the cause.

I searched and see that I have 3 folders with C\i386. Do I need all 3? Which ones do I need, which ones can I delete?

I’d recommend deleting something from these folders only if you are able to target a problem to a specific file that’s located in one of the folders. For example, if your antivirus software says c:\i386\abcd.exe is infected, but can’t clean the file, then go ahead and quarantine or delete it.

Or, in your case, if you’re running an antivirus scan, and the scan crashes at a particular file each and every time, quarantine or delete that file. You can also try scanning with another antivirus software package and see if the crash is caused by the software. There are good free antivirus programs available. You can also learn about the i386 folder.

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