Stop, in the name of something

One of your computers is randomly giving a blue Windows STOP error multiple times a day. The problem always occurs when the processor is under heavy use, such as video rendering or graphics editing. The computer runs without any errors the rest of the time. Which of these would be the best start for troubleshooting this problem?

A) Perform a hard drive diagnostic

B) Check the system for overheating

C) Examine the USB port power usage

D) Update the video driver

E) Play soft music and burn incense. For you, not the computer.

The answer: B) Check the system for overheating

If your system is acting flaky during times of high use, then your first (and probably easiest) troubleshooting should be associated with your cooling system. It doesn’t take much CPU use to drive the temperatures through the roof, and if your ventilation and fans are suffering then your system will eventually give up the ghost.

In this example, there weren’t any indications of hard drive or video problems, so it made sense to start looking at the possibility of overheating.

Want to know more? Watch “Troubleshooting Cooling Systems.”

A hot computer is almost certainly headed to an untimely failure. In this video, you’ll learn how to troubleshoot cooling systems and monitor the temperature of your computer components.