Why Do Computers Break?

Why Do Computers Break?As you know computers always break at the worst possible time, but what things can actually cause that that failure? It is easy to think it was something you did at the time of the crash, but normal user actions are rarely the cause of the issue. In this blog post we list some of the real reasons for a computer crash.

1. Physical Damage

People drop their laptop or spill things on their systems. Liquid damage is a big problem with spills the main cause – this could be anywhere from a spill on the keyboard or even a flood that reaches the computer. Laptop users need to be really careful when putting down their systems – surfaces can often have small puddles (especially cafes and kitchen tables). If you are lucky and the liquid didn’t fry the circuits and ongoing corrosion is likely.

A dropped or knocked computer isn’t going to be happy. Even a light bump can cause loose cables, disconnections and internal damage.

2. Age

Computer parts have an expected lifetime, especially moving parts like fans or mechanical hard drives. Some computers can run 24/7 for up to a decade, while others can be barely used but fail within warranty. When age is the issue there are usually early warning signs like extra noise or slowing down, but the actual ‘break’ generally happens when you go to turn the computer on, perhaps after a crash or overnight – either it makes a valiant effort before giving up, or nothing happens at all. Sometimes lasting age is the luck of the draw with how it was manufactured, and quality does play a big part in how long it can keep churning.

3. Power Surges

Computers are very sensitive to both surges (too much electricity) and brownouts (not enough electricity). Some indicators of power issues are when the lights are dimming or flickering (during a brownout) or glowing just a tad too strong (during a surge). These variations usually last long but they can easily break your computer. A surge protector can guard against mild increases in voltage, but brownouts and strong surges can still cause damage unless a high end UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) is used.

4. Heat

Overheating is a big contributor to a computers death. The insides of a computer runs hot and they need plenty of cooling to keep them working optimally. You might not feel it from the outside, but internal components can rapidly build up heat that needs to dissipate. When fans and vents get blocked with dust the temperature continues to rise and components can bake themselves to failure. When the computer reaches a certain temperature the computer will automatically switch off (to try and cool down), however the more times this happens, the more likely your computer is to die.

5, Hard Drive Failure

Your data is stored on a hard drive and if you have a mechanical hard drive (most people do), it works a bit like a record player with a spinning ‘platter’ and a needle that reads it. General usage, small bumps, liquid, age, surges and overheating can all trigger hard drive failure. As well as making your computer unusable, hard drive failure means your data is also lost. While sudden breakage might leave you surprised, take note of any strange noises or repeated crashes and always back up your data.

Like a car, your computer needs to be serviced regularly. We can check your computer to make sure it is running right and will keep on working for you. Give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or drop us an email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

5 Signs Your Computer is Needing Repair

signs your computer needs repair

It is pretty obvious when your computer is already broken, but what signs should you look for to see if it is about to break? Before your computer falls into a heap and refuses to turn on or flashes messages about how your files are now encrypted, you usually will be given multiple hints that something is wrong. Here are five common signs your computer needs repair:

  1. It is running slow. Most people assume their computer is running slow because it’s getting old but it could actually be a variety of reasons. A program behaving badly, a virus, the system overheating or even a failing hard drive can all cause slow downs. You might only notice it when booting or when starting a program, or the problem may have taken hold to the extent that even the simplest take forever to complete.
  2. Your system is running hot. Computers have fans that blow out hot air (to cool off internal components) while at the same time drawing in fresh air through vents to create an effective cooling system. Unfortunately the vents in a computer can quickly become clogged with dust and choke off the air circulation – leaving the components to overheat. Desktop computers have more space inside to circulate air, but you’ll still need to keep their vents clear. You’ll know your computer running too hot if your system shuts down frequently (safety cutout), the fan is working loud and working hard or your laptop is too hot to use on your lap.
  3. Blue Screen of Death. A classic Windows error, this is quite literally a blue screen that covers your view. The system will still be running, but something has gone wrong. You’ll be shown some text and an error code, often with Windows suggesting a restart. If a restart fixes your problem, perhaps something didn’t load properly at bootup and your computer had a one off issue. If you’re getting blue screens all the time though that is a sign of a hardware or software problem that needs to be resolved. Your computer will continue to give blue screen errors more and more frequently, so it’s best to take action as soon as you know something’s wrong.
  4. It’s making strange noises. Computers has a number of moving parts inside. You’ll know by now what noises it normally makes, from the startup beep to the whirring fan. It is when your computer starts to make extra noises that a problem may exist. Fans can wear down and screech or grind, hard drives can start clicking, and in emergency cases, you might even hear a zapping noise. Remember that the individual parts inside the computer parts are all designed to work together and one problem could quickly spread if left unchecked.
  5. It crashes and freezes. If your computer is crashing randomly, restarting at will or freezing up completely, it is a sure sign there is a problem. As annoying as it might be, your computer isn’t doing this to drive you crazy! You might notice it is showing other signs from this list too because crashing and freezing are what happens when something isn’t just wrong, it is terribly wrong. The problem could be almost anything, hardware and software both, but usually it is always fixable. This is simply your computer’s final way of crying out for repair, desperately trying to get your attention and a little TLC.

Is your computer doing these things? Let us fix it for you. Call us at 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.