Oh, no… it’s the blue screen of death
Computing for the Geekaphobe
Have you had this happen? You are in the “zone”, working against the clock to get a document finished for your boss. You are a multi-tasker. You’re working on an Excel spreadsheet, typing a document in Word and updating your Facebook account. You also have the company’s financial application open.
Then without warning, the worst thing happens, your computer display turns blue, with a message that there is a fatal error!
But that can’t happen now, because you haven’t saved your documents, or backed up your accounts software! What do you do?
There are hardware crashes and then there are software crashes. Hardware crashes generally will be related to a hard drive or memory problem, an intermittent power supply or even overheating.
Software crashes can be due to an unstable operating system, a faulty driver, a bug in a program, or a virus. Most viruses are spread through email.
The best way to avoid viruses, is to avoid clicking on links or open attachments, unless you know the email sender and trust the contents. This applies to surfing the internet as well.
Sometimes, a software error can trigger, not just a “freeze-up” (a frozen screen with no mouse movement), but also a hardware crash – what we affectionately refer to as the blue screen of death – or even a total system shutdown!
Freeze-ups are software issues that are often due to an application conflict that isn’t being addressed.
What can you do? For recurrent software freeze-ups, sometimes uninstalling the application, shutting down the computer, rebooting and re-installing the application may fix the problem.
Furthermore, freeze-ups occur more frequently with older computers. Users may run too many applications, or use applications that are too complex for the old hardware to accommodate.
The easiest solution is to run only one or two programs at a time, and to save data often. The most important way to protect yourself from freeze-ups and hardware crashes is to back up your computer to a secondary source, such as an external hard drive, CD/DVD, or lately, what is known as “cloud” (on-line) storage.
Hardware issues will most often occur with older computers as well, but they do happen with computers under warranty.
If you hear sounds that are getting louder, they need to be addressed as they could affect your data, and productivity, and will certainly require down time for repair.
Not all crashes result in complete loss of data. Your information can often be recovered. If you are unable to access your files, seek the help of a reputable computer technician.