Helping Your Computer Avoid Olympic-Sized Crashes

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The Winter Olympics are about to begin, and we will be treated to two weeks of watching the best athletes in the world perform on the biggest stage.

The Olympic Games are about more than just gold medals. Athletes put themselves at risk in every event (except maybe curling). So while we will see amazing athletic feats, we will also undoubtedly see spectacular crashes. Bobsledders and lugers can misjudge a turn and hurtle into and unforgiving, icy wall. Skiers might fail to turn and soar uncontrollably beyond the safe limits of the course. Ice skaters can catch an edge and tumble to the ground. Years of preparation and hope (and possibly a few bones) can be shattered with one small mistake. These athletes know the effects of crashing can be devastating, and they do everything they can to prevent it.

Our computers are similar to these winter athletes, sans the cold weather clothing. There are certain mistakes that make our machines more likely to “crash.” With the proper training, we can likely avoid the catastrophic crashes that cause so much pain.

Here are the most common reasons our computers crash:

Registry errors. We’ve gone over these before, and they are guilty of crashing many computers. Cleaning up the registry will allow the computer to run efficiently and will help minimize crashes.

Bad hardware. Mishandling or improper installation of hardware can lead to a myriad of problems with your system. If your system has been upgraded improperly or knocked around by the family dog (or 2-year-old) you might experience some crashing problems. It is important to ensure that all of your hardware is free of defects and compatible with other devices.

Overheating. Overheating can occur anytime your machine is unable to properly circulate air. This happens when it is dusty, when it is in a location that doesn’t allow air flow, or when the internal fans aren’t working. When a computer overheats, it will often crash. Worse yet, it might lead to a complete loss of your processor or hard drive.

Missing or outdated drivers. Drivers are the programs that run your devices (such as video cards and printers) within your operating system. If these have bugs or are outdated, then your system may crash or underperform. It is important to update your machine’s drivers each time you change or add peripheral devices and/or operating systems. You may do this by searching the manufacturer’s Web site for current driver downloads.

Disk fragmentation. Your files, whether created by you or your computer, may clutter up your hard drive. It is important to de-fragment your hard disk to avoid common errors that cause crashes.

Viruses and spyware. Perhaps the most common culprit of all. Hackers will try to crash your computer in order to sell you a “solution” or simply to enjoy themselves. Operating system updates, adequate firewalls, anti-virus applications, and other security measures must be an integral part of your computer system.

For an Olympic athlete, a crash may mean the difference between a medal and a life spent asking “what if?” We must take every step possible to prevent computer crashes. And if we do crash, we need to pick ourselves up and move on. Computer Problem Specialists is here to help you along the way. If you have experienced debilitating crashes or want to take steps to prevent them, please call us at (928) 468-0000. Go for the gold!

Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.

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