Have you been hearing some strange sound coming out of your CPU? Has your computer become slow? Do you know these could be the symptoms that your computer is about to crash? Worry not, we have listed down some of the most common symptoms and which component it affects, and how you can avoid the crash.


Clicking and grinding sound is coming from your hard-drive

If your computer has started making clicking or grinding sound lately, there is a good chance that your hard-drive is taking its last breath. Your hard-drive is a mechanical device, which consists of a platter and a motor. As with all mechanical devices, your hard-drive’s life is limited too. Take a backup of all your important data while you still have time.

Your fan is making noise

Don’t ignore if the noise is coming out from a fan. Fans are there to cool down your system. If your computer has abruptly shut down recently, chances are your processor is overheating. You need to open the cabinet of your CPU, or casing of your laptop, and clean the dust off the fan. But before you get into the Ninja mode, make sure to unplug the power cable, or remove laptop’s battery, and earth yourself to discharge any static.

Whirring sound coming from hard-disk

Sometime hard-drives make a rattling sort of sound. These noises are typically not very amplified and don’t necessarily suggest an upcoming storm. The bottleneck lies at your hard-drive. Your computer is having hard time while saving data onto your disc. This usually means that either your hard-disk is having bad sectors on its platter, or the reader (lens) is not able to write things on it much smoothly. Both way, you need to make a backup of your data on an external source. Open “My Computer” and select any primary drive of your computer. Right click and go to its properties. Go to the “Tools” tab and click on “Check disk.” Tick both the options and let your computer check if your hard-drive has any bad sector.

Check Disk

If your computer is not in that stage yet, you should defragment your computer every once in a while. This reduces much pressure from hard-disk.

Additionally, most hard-drive manufacturers provide diagnostic tools (such as SeaTools by Seagate, which interestingly works with other manufactures’ hard-drive as well) to test the running status of their drives. You can download it from its respective website and scan your hard-drive with it.

Your computer is terribly slow


Well, there could be hundreds of reasons that are making your computer slow. Most of the time, it is because of all the useless software and more importantly the bloatware that comes along are to be blamed. Uninstall your existing security suite (apparently it is not doing its job), and try some other trustworthy anti-viruses like, AVG, Fsecure, ESET Smart Security. Try removing all the unnecessary things, free up some hard-drive space if needed. Defragment your hard-drive. Use system cleaning and tuning apps like CCleaner (Freeware) or Tune Up utilities (Paid-application) to clean all the leftovers and junks from your hard-disk, temporary folder and registry. From that app only, you can terminate some avoidable programs from the startup.

If none of these helped much, take a backup of all your data, and try reinstalling the operating system. Unplug and replug the RAM (Are you sure the available memory is enough for the amount of work you do on your computer?) If the problem still persists, either your hard-drive has went haywire, or it is your processor that is on its death bed. From dozens of problems, we are down to two. To check if it is the processor which is going off hook, try to boot any Linux based OS (Ubuntu, Fedora, Open Suse etc) on your computer. Try browsing some webpages, read a few DVDs and external hard-drives. If you find a significant improvement in the speed, it means that your processor is doing very fine. Replace your hard-drive.

PC can’t start, displays memory error warning

Your Operating System needs physical memory to operate. For some reason if it can’t get that much memory, the aforementioned error is displayed. Check if your RAM is properly inserted and the socket is dust free and clean. Windows 7 and 8 offer you to run a Memory Diagnostic tool, go ahead with the scan and see if it points out any defect. You may end having a new RAM. Make sure you buy the right RAM for your computer, in case.

Noise comes off your PC, and it (may) cause it to shut down

If you have recently upgraded or installed a new graphics card in your system, no need of further investigation. The problem actually is that the graphics cards coming in market these days often draw more power than the one it has replaced. This puts more pressure on the PSU (Power Supply Unit) and explains the weird noise coming out of it, and the abrupt turning off.
Unfortunately, there is nothing much you could do about it which doesn’t change the setup of your motherboard. You will have to either buy a new PSU that could hold up the new power requirement, or buy a new graphics card that complies with the existing rating of the PSU.

A restart prompt from Windows Update

update restart

Whenever you update your Windows OS, if things have went the right way, it will automatically restart the system and apply all the updates. However, if you see any message asking you to restart the computer, it means that the new update has caused a conflict and the computer is not able to run properly.

Avoid restarting by clicking on “Restart later”. Go to the Control Panel. Click on System and Security. Select Windows Update. From the left pane, click on ‘View update history’. Check out the names of the recent updates, and search it on Google to find if others are having similar problem. If there are many more such entries, disable those updates and don’t let it happen. If however, it still causes a crash, turn on your computer from Safe Mode. Go to the Windows update and uninstall the last few updates. Also, you can restore your computer to a time when it was working fine using System Restore.

You are getting tons of pop-up windows

If while visiting any website, you are seeing an awful amount of pop-up windows. And, sometimes even when you have gone offline you are still seeing those pop-ups. It apparently means that your computer is filled with Adware and other malware. It could even change the DNS settings of your network which will cause you to visit a different (and sham) destination instead of heading to a legit address. If you don’t get rid of these malware, your computer will, very soon become grotesquely slow and reach a stage where it would be impossible for you to work.

Flickering and blacked out display

If your screen has recently started flickering, fluctuating, blacking out or has lost its refreshing rate, this could mean that your monitor is in serious trouble. If it is a software fault, you can try to re-install your VGA drivers, or boot into some other OS. If this doesn’t solve your problem, you need to take your monitor or laptop to the service center as it appears to be a hardware fault.

PHOTO CREDITS: Shutterstock
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Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.