PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Computer locking up/going blank


Hi Bobert-

I have a Dell Dimension E521 with Windows xp that I bought new in 2007. The machine has been trouble free until the last year or so. I will be using it and it will freeze up and then the screen will go blank or will have a slanted pattern with diagonal lines. Nothing will work so I hold in the power button and after I hear it shut down it will restart with no problem. It would do it once every few months but now it is a weekly occurrence. I was able to leave the computer on and let it go into sleep mode at night and come back in the morning and the screen would come on with my name, etc... Now it is black and I need to turn the computer off/on before I can do anything. Last week I noticed my anti-virus scan that runs at night was 3 days old so I think it is shutting down and not even doing the scan. I have done the disk cleanup, manually ran the scan, de-fragmented, and even unplugged it from the wall and let it sit for a day. Still locks up.

I only really use it for surfing the internet, emails, Facebook-- no heavy duty computing so the age and outdatedness of the system has little affect on what I do and works fine (other then locking up) for what I need a computer for at home.

Ideas on what is happening?


Is Windows up to date? Have you ensured that the system is clean of dust/debris (and not over-heating)? Have you run a utility like HDTune (http://www.hdtune.com/download.html - the free version is perfectly fine, and what I would suggest), to check for anomalies in disk performance or disk errors?


PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.


I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

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