The Random Hang-up Problem

It’s frustrating when your computer intermittently hangs-up , or re-boots itself for no reason that you can tell.  At best it’s an annoyance, and at worst it means that you’ve lost hours of valuable work that will be difficult or impossible to recreate.

If this has happened only once, then it’s probably next to impossible that you’ll be able to explain why this happened.  But if you find it happening on a regular basis, then you really need to be able to find and correct the problem .

There are a few things you can check for yourself, before you have to make a costly visit to your local computer repair shop.

As is the case with most modern computers, your computer comes with built in circuitry to monitor the status of the computer. One of the checks built into your system is testing of the computer’s internal temperature . The computer may be built to shut itself down if the temperature moves outside the desirable operating range.

For your system to run at the correct operating temperature, it is important that air is able to circulate freely inside and around the case. If you have placed your computer inside of an enclosure, such as a tight-fitting bookshelf or cubbyhole, then this may be the first thing you should consider changing. By the same token, I have seen computers practically covered with books, manuals and other papers. Once again, these types of things can hinder air circulation , and you should make sure that there is plenty of space around your computer.

You should also take a look at the slotted vents in the sides of your computer case. Over time, these slots can become blocked by dust, lint, and other debris. Because the computer is usually always drawing some power, it has a constant (even if small) electrostatic charge. Your computer rivaled only by a vacuum cleaner in its ability to suck in dust and fluff.

If you take the cover off of your computer case, you’ll be able to see the dust build-up that has occurred inside your computer. Be careful when you remove dust from inside of the case. For this job, it’s probably best to use a very soft artist’s brush or a can of compressed air.

Next, take a look at the cooling fans inside the case. Modern computer usually have a cooling fan positioned near the top of the microprocessor. This fan should be clear of all dust, and able to move freely, without any grinding noise, when the computer is operating. It is okay to start the computer with the case cover removed, just be careful not to poke things into the various components.

There will be another fan inside near the power supply . Make sure this fan is free of dust and running freely. Some computers may also have a supplemental case fan. This will be screwed on over one of the slotted case vents, and will generally be running from a cable connected to the motherboard. Not all machines will have a separate case fan, but yours does, it is there for a reason. Do the same thing to this fan as you did with the others.

If you have identified faults with your cooling fans , this could require a trip to your local repair shop. The repair technician may also suggest that the CPU heat sink be removed and re-placed with fresh heat transfer compound, which should be a relatively easy and inexpensive job.

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