23 November 2011

Computer trouble for newbies

My stationary computer had started to behave strangely 2 days ago. Refused to start, started and then rebooted, refused to load any screen and then finally starting up and allowing me to log in.

I had my suspicions, but hoped it would just be some temporary trouble that would pass. Happens sometimes. This computer is not old, only 2,5 years.

So today it loaded perfectly and while reading the news it just bluescreen’d and started dumping memory. After which it refused to start. So when shit like this happens, don't instantly panic. Even though I would if this had not happened to me once before on my previous computer a couple of years ago.

You see, you are actually lucky. Because this means, although something broke, that it is most likely one of your memory sticks that just gave up. If one is broken the computer refuses to start up and just keeps rebooting. A DDR memory stick is the easiest and cheapest component to swap as well. To check if this is the case, open up your computer, and you don't have to be tech savvy to do this but keep in mind to turn off the power while digging around in the intestines of your machine.

Locate the DDR sticks. If you have 2 which is usually the standard these days , or more, proceed to remove the one not plugged into the "1st" holder. They are numbered 1/2/3/4. Remove it and then try to start up the computer. If it still won't work, remove the memory stick in the "1st holder" and plug in the other one. Try to start up the computer, if it works it means that you have located a broken memory stick and need to replace it.

If you don't already know this, it is crucial to replace the broken memory stick with one of the same size. So if you have 2x 2GB then you need to buy one 2GB stick. Otherwise the computer behaves oddly. And always make sure you plug in the memory sticks in the 1st, then 2nd, then 3rd and so on when you plug in new or more memory sticks. It is also a good idea to bring along the broken memory stick to the computer store as the nerds behind the counter will get all the information from looking at it (how many chips it has, what kind of DDR it is etc) so you don't have to know anything.

While I was at it I also took a picture of my harddrive rigging, if your computer is noisy chances are it is the HD vibrating making those noises. So what you can do is to remove the plastic "sleeve" that holds the harddrive in place and rig it so that it hangs in the air without touching the walls. This will minimize sound by 80% or more and it is perfectly safe to do. Mine has been rigged this way for 3 years without any problem.


  1. BSOD can be caused by failed hdds, system boards, software that has been installed recently and allsorts not just memory

  2. Yep, but when the computer just keeps rebooting without loading anything narrows things down a little. I've had BSOD without any follow up trouble after restarting the computer.


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