Why does my system crash?


My computer freezes up in the middle of an application. At first it only happened when I was online but now it is happening all the time. It is happening almost every ten minutes. The only way to get out is to reboot.


This question was answered on March 19, 2001. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


I have to tell you that you haven't given me much to go on here

Your troubles could be caused by a failing hard drive, which you can check easily by running Scandisk Click Start, Run.. Type Scandisk and select the Thorough check It will scan your hard drive and report errors.

If your drive reports OK, the best that I can do is give you a few general pointers Try these steps in the order that I give them to you Make just one change at a time, then see if you get better results by trying to run your system normally again Here goes:

1) Start your computer in safe mode Here are the directions as found from Windows 98 Help.

To start Windows in safe mode

If your computer is currently running,

Click Start, and then click Shut down

Click Restart, click OK, and then press and hold the CTRL key while the machine is rebooting until the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu appears.

(For some machines, you can use F8 instead of CTRL to bring up the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu.)

Enter the number for Safe mode, and then press ENTER


In safe mode, Windows uses default settings (VGA monitor, no network, Microsoft mouse driver, and the minimum device drivers required to start Windows) You will NOT have access to CD-ROM drives, printers, or other devices

You can change settings as needed by clicking Start, pointing to Settings, clicking Control Panel, and double-clicking Network or System

After you finish this procedure, you need to restart your computer in the norman way before Windows will start properly.

Will your computer run without crashing? If it will now run OK, you probably have what is called device driver conflicts You will need to reinstall fresh or the updated drivers for your device, if you can pin it down.

2) After safe mode, try restarting the comuter normally After everything loads, do not run anything else You will want to close every program possible to get down to a bare bones operating system and see if the trouble is coming from Windows itself or some other program This is done one program at a time Press CTRL ALT DELETE simultaneously ONE TIME ONLY A square dialog box called "Close Program" appears It will list any number of programs that are running currently on yhour machine To close a program, select it and click the left button labeled "End task" The dialog box closes Reopen the box again by CTRL ALT DELETE, select another program, and close it Repeat this as many times as necessary until everything is closed, EXCEPT........ You should NOT close Explorer, Systray, or Rundll Everything else is fair game

Try doing some stuff now Better? If this is helping, one or more of the programs the comuter is "starting up" is in conflict with your operating system, or is corrupt (damaged) By closing down different combinations of programs, you may be able to pin the culprit down If you do, remove it from the start up menu or otherwise disable it or delete it.

3) The third main possibility is one or more of your Windows files is damaged or missing If this turns out to be the case, you will need to reinstall your operating system to restore them

Please try taking steps Scandisk, #1 and #2 (#3 is last resort) Send us another email if you need more help, but please try to pay attention to what is happening -- what did you do immediately before the system crashed? Are there any error messages?

Good luck.

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Posted by Robert of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on March 19, 2001