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My computer crashed

idlewis
Grafter
Posts: 245
Registered: 20-01-2010

My computer crashed

Hi there
My computer crashed while watching BBC I Player and then I could not download any programmes on BBC IPlayer desktop.  The computer shop has fixed the BBC I Player problem while the enginner has put Windows 7 for free (Horray) instead of Windows XP  What causes this?  Is it not the right antivirus software that I was using as the computer installed norton antivirus 2012 as well as the security software.  It has has caused huge expense and upheaval and I would not like to happen again pus any tips that I should take to stop computer crashing.
Any advice would be welcome.
Thanks
7 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 17,777
Thanks: 1,608
Fixes: 19
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: My computer crashed

You could uninstall Norton, and get a freeebie antivirus, such as AVAST , it will take up less room on the HDD, and be updated every day....  Wink
idlewis
Grafter
Posts: 245
Registered: 20-01-2010

Re: My computer crashed

The computer shop advised me to get Norton.  So I will have it for a year because he says it was a virus.  The computer enginner did install Free Avast before the shop uninstalled windows and restarted again to get BBC I Player working again.  After the year I do Avast again.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: My computer crashed

I wonder if your machine overheated when running iPlayer, and the resulting crash corrupted something.
I build my own PCs, and as part of that process I need to ensure that the cooling of all the components is adequate, and I research the operating temperature range of things like the CPU, graphics card, memory, hard drives, etc.
Fortunately Ubuntu (before version 11.04) allows you to add temperature monitor applets on the notification bar, so you can get a coloured thermometer style display of the various components temperature on your desktop making visual monitoring very easy
I'm telling you all this because from experience my machines normally run perfectly happily and run cool 24/7, HOWEVER when running iPlayer for more than say two hours, so much CPU and GPU resources are used that the machines often heat up to towards the upper limits of their designed temperature range.  I could easily imagine that if your PC's heatsinks and fans were a bit dusty, or the PC was located in a position that restricted airflow, that long iPlayer usage could induce overheating.
It is not only the CPU and GPU that are affected by temperature, on 'budget' mass market built PCs, the manufacturers often fit the lowest spec memory cards that they can get away with.  Unfortunately if you raise the ambient temperature of the case too high, then memory timing characteristics change, causing corruption of the data, and consequently to possibility of corrupting the files subsequently saved to the hard drives.
This is one of the reasons that when you fit new memory to a PC, you should ALWAYS run a memory diagnostic program such as MemTest86 for 24 hours with the PC case CLOSED.   I now fit memory that is at least on grade faster than the motherboards maximum, as I have found that eliminates temperature related timing problems - especially if you go in for some mild overclocking !
Some better motherboard BIOSes have a feature for setting an audible over temperature alarm, where you can specify at what temperature the motherboard starts screaming at you that it's too hot (usually with a fire engine siren type noise !).  For Windows PCs, on the manufacturers 'drivers' disk that come with the PC, there is often a system monitoring program that you can install, that sits in the background that will warn you if anything needs attention.  Most people never even bother to look at those driver disks, so are unaware of those useful little utilities.
So keep an eye on temperatures, and if it starts getting too warm, consider first cleaning out the dust, and then fitting more or bigger fans.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,874
Thanks: 126
Fixes: 24
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: My computer crashed

Quote from: idlewis
the enginner has put Windows 7 for free (Horray) instead of Windows XP 

I hope you mean that as the engineer had to re-install Windows he did not charge extra for installing a copy of Windows 7 that you had bought and paid for.  It should never be necessary to re-install Windows to fix a iPlayer problem but if the root cause of the problem was a virus then re-installing Windows might be the quickest way to fix it.  Viruses that modify the boot sector seem to be popular at the moment.  They also seem to modify the Windows regitry in such a way that the computer crashes if the virus is removed; I have not yet discovered how this is done.
I would have said that if you want to pay for an antivirus then Kaspersky is miles better than Norton.  I'm surprised that a computer professional would recommend Norton - unless you went to PC World where they seem to be on some sort of commission for selling it.     
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: My computer crashed

It does seem unlikely to have been a Windows problem anyway, I read -
Quote
My computer crashed while watching BBC I Player and then I could not download any programmes on BBC IPlayer desktop

- to mean that the machine had randomly crashed, after which time the machine was generally OK except when going into the iPlayer desktop which no longer downloaded programmes.

I think a lot of these 'so called' PC repair people give up too quickly on solving Windows problems, as they know it can sometimes take days to properly trace a fault.
I often hear from people that have been told "It couldn't be fixed" so the engineer just reformats the hard drive, reinstalled Windows, adds Norton (billed at full price), then charges about half the cost of a new PC for half an hours work.
I admit it is a difficult business to be in though, because if you charged a sustainable hourly rate for fixing PCs, the true cost of a proper repair (due to the number of hours taken) can easily exceed the cost of a new replacement computer.
It is obviously a different matter if there is a hardware fault, as parts are easily replaced, or when simply adding upgrades, as the parts are quite cheap and the time involved should be quite short - in comparison with tracing an OS fault, or untangling the wreckage left by a malicious virus.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,874
Thanks: 126
Fixes: 24
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: My computer crashed

Quote from: purleigh
I admit it is a difficult business to be in though, because if you charged a sustainable hourly rate for fixing PCs, the true cost of a proper repair (due to the number of hours taken) can easily exceed the cost of a new replacement computer.

I agree.  I offer a maximum labour charge per job which equates to 2.5 hours at my hourly rate.  So, in effect, difficult PC repairs are highly subsidised.  I get a lot of repeat business, however.   
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: My computer crashed

In repairing PCs, there is also a big unseen difference (to the customer) between the hours of actual work needed and the total time required to complete many common tasks, and people can't understand why you want the computer for the rest of the week and then only charge them for a few hours work.
For example -
DescriptionWorked timeTotal time
Backing up the hard drive5 minutes1 hour
Memtest863 minutes24 hours
Virus scan5 minutes8 hours
Ad-Aware scan5 minutes8 hours
Windows Scandisk5 minutes1 hour
Windows defrag5 minutes1 hour
Windows updates5 minutes1 hour
Hard disk SMART testing5 minutes1 hour
Registry error scan20 minutes1 hour

But then there are the things customers don't consider, such as opening the machine up and blowing out the dust with compressed air, checking the cables and cards are seated correctly, cleaning the marmalade out of the keyboard or hair from the ball mouse, checking if the heatsinks need re thermal pasting, and checking that most of the applications do actually work and are updated.  Then there are passwords that the customer forgot to tell you about, or expired licenses on security software, and that is on top of not actually telling you the truth about the sequence of events that lead to the fault, or being unable to articulate what you need to do to reproduce the fault.
So all in all it is very difficult to quote in advance a sensible price to charge to repair a PC, and ultimately charge 'pocket money' rates for hours of work.