My parent's computer that I put together about a year ago (from the cheapest components I could find) has been crashing repeatedly lately and I was wondering how to pinpoint the problem. Here's a general overview of what I can remember about the parts. Like I said, everything was chheeeeaaaap.
Biostar motherboard AM3+ (something like $25)
AMD 250 3.0 ghz dual core CPU
4 gb 1333 ram
Windows Vista (a friend went on a tour of Microsoft years ago and they were giving them out)
500 gb hard drive
The computer is mostly used for Youtube so I didn't care how poor the quality was as long as it worked. About 2 weeks ago it started to crash once a day or so. I don't use it myself so I heard second hand. A few days ago however the crashes became much more frequent and I saw it a few times myself. At first it was blue screens and at the bottom it would say something about physical memory dumps. It also said something about making sure there is sufficient space on the hard drive. I know for a fact there should be about 350 gb free.
A couple times the computer just froze up with no blue screen and I had to power it down and start it again. The most recent hardware change was an old video card that I installed so I could use the dvi cable on a new monitor. That was about 6 months ago though. I thought this might be the problem so I removed it, but the crashes continued. In fact the crashes are so frequent now that I can't do a hard drive scan to look for obvious problems because it'll just seize up in the middle.
Something interesting that I wanted to add. After removing the video card, I had to reactivate the onboard graphics drivers. Actually had to uninstall them and let windows search for them to install again since it wasn't working. During the search, I happened to have windows explorer open, and it showed the hard drive "red" with only 17 gb left out of 500gb. This hard drive should only have Windows on it and shouldn't even be close to filled. Maybe a pagefile problem? I dont know much about pagefiles though.
Anyways, I'm thinking hard drive failure or Windows problem. Over the weekend I'll probably reformat the drive, but I don't want to waste all that time if it's a bad hard drive.
Any advice is welcome except buying a new computer.
Well replacing ram would be cheaper than replacing a hard drive. As for the PSU, it's a reliable brand (antec i think) and the computer doesn't actually power down, just freezes sometimes and gets blue screens other times.