System Health Checks (for self-build that has started crashing)

I built a PC about 2 years ago, and it's been running fine since. Recently my computer started crashing after about 5 hours of being switched on regardless of whether I was playing a game or had just left it idle. Within the space of 2-3 weeks it was crashing within a few minutes of booting until it wouldn't get passed the BIOS menu, and then wouldn't even show the BIOS. I decided to abondon my computer as I had exams, but when I came back today it booted fine and hasn't crashed yet. I'd like to find out what has been causing all the issues to ensure this won't happen again. Any ideas?

I'm pretty sure it's not a hard drive issue as the problem still arose when I booted from a different HDD with Linux. I'm guessing one of Mobo, CPU or RAM is causing it.

TL;DR - What software can help me check the health of my current system and help me find out if anything needs replacing?

Thanks in advance
Reply to Nenagh
8 answers Last reply
More about system health checks build started crashing
  1. psu can also be blamed

    you could check windows logs to see what is reported but sounds to me like a bad ram or bad mainboard there

    also the psu shuls be replaced to discard it as a source of problems
    Reply to atljsf
  2. Memtest86. Create a boot CD or USB stick. This will run a series of tests on the RAM. If at any point it fails, start testing each RAM stick individually to find the culprit. If all sticks pass separately, test one stick in each RAM slot to see if one of the motherboard slots is the culprit. If all the RAM sticks and all of the RAM slots pass... well that's not likely based on what you already stated. These tests take some time so lets see how they fare.

    Remember to properly ground yourself while working inside the case, by wearing a wrist strap or touching a metal part of the computer's case, before touching any components.

    http://www.memtest86.com/download.htm
    Reply to clonazepam
  3. if the parts pass that test, remember to try with another psu
    Reply to atljsf
  4. clonazepam said:
    Memtest86. Create a boot CD or USB stick. This will run a series of tests on the RAM. If at any point it fails, start testing each RAM stick individually to find the culprit. If all sticks pass separately, test one stick in each RAM slot to see if one of the motherboard slots is the culprit. If all the RAM sticks and all of the RAM slots pass... well that's not likely based on what you already stated. These tests take some time so lets see how they fare.

    Remember to properly ground yourself while working inside the case, by wearing a wrist strap or touching a metal part of the computer's case, before touching any components.

    http://www.memtest86.com/download.htm

    Okay. I've just finished the using Memtest86. From what I can see there were no errors.

    Any other advice?

    Don't know if there's any link, but my computer's boot time this morning was much longer than yeasterday's (30 sec vs 5 minutes). Does this point to any particular problem?
    Reply to Nenagh
  5. hard disk

    but if it was aplying updates the times mean nothing
    Reply to atljsf
  6. As I said in my first post, I don't think it's the hard disk. I have a HDD and a SSD in my computer; one with Windows, one with Linux. I had the exact same issues when trying to boot from them both. I think it's highly unlikely that they both have developed the exact same fault. Also, my computer used to not even show the BIOS menu when I booted it. So most likely not a hard disk issue.

    I'm starting to think it's the mobo. Is there any way to test it for faults?
    Reply to Nenagh
  7. Occasional failures are hard to pinpoint without swapping each component separately. You can do numerous tests on all of the components, like you've already started doing.

    As an example, we found one PC at a friend's home would crash seemingly at random. It turned out the crashes were due to poor electrical in the home. It crashed whenever the grandfather ran power tools in the garage. He had basically 3 options. Rewire the house (umm no), move out, or buy an uninterruptable power supply. He went with the UPS option to provide a cleaner, steady current.

    The point being, leave no stone unturned. Try a different power supply as atljsf suggested, and any other components if possible. The issue, while exceedingly rare, could even be outside of the PC case itself. These intermittent failures are hardest to track down, and in the case of my friend there, buying a whole new PC would not have solved his crashing issue. Keep at it.

    Dismantle the PC entirely. I've seen shorts occur from just a slightly misaligned standoff between the case and motherboard. Taking it apart, down to the last screw, and reassembly solved it. Check every last inch of every cable. You'd be surprised how many connection issues there are because of nibbles from a mouse on the phone or ethernet cable. Electro-magnetic interference is a thing. Make sure everything has proper shielding. It is looking more and more like an intermittent failure with the motherboard or power supply.
    Reply to clonazepam
  8. Thanks for the help. I've been on the PC for 13 hours today without a single crash. It's been running a bit slower than I remember at times, but nothing massive.

    I'll dismantle it and give it a good clean too, and I'll see where I go from there and hopefully find the root of it all. Thanks again.
    Reply to Nenagh
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