desktop computerWe all know this already – but computers crash. Some more then others. And, it is never convenient. It forces you to reboot.

Many times, though, a pending crash had warning signs before it happened. These are warnings that tell you something is wrong and that y0u need to pay attention.

Here are some of those warning signs…

#1 – Hardware Conflicts

In the old days, we would have to manually assign IRQs and all that crap, and if you chose the same IRQ for more than one device, you’d have a conflict.

In the current age of “plug and play”, you don’t have to do all that. But, that doesn’t mean hardware conflicts still don’t happen occasionally. The way to see it is to open up your Device Manager and see if you have any yellow exclamation points next to any hardware items. If you do, a driver re-install may handle it for you.

Obviously, not all hardware conflicts mean you’re about to have a full system crash. But, it does happen.

#2 – Your Hard Drive Is Slow And Noisy

Unless you’re running an SSD drive, your hard drive is a mechanical device subject to failure. In fact, it WILL fail. It is just a matter of when.

If your hard drive seems to have gotten louder, or files are very slow to load, you could well be nearing a pending drive crash. Time to backup your data just in case.

#3 – Boot Errors

Ever gotten one of those “boot device not found” errors, even when you haven’t messed with anything? Well, that could mean that your drive is nearing failure, or that you have some misconfiguration with Windows.

Check to ensure that you haven’t accidentally left an external drive plugged in. But, aside from that, it is a sign of problems.

#4 – Random File Corruption Issues

If you have certain software that suddenly fails to start, random file errors, and the like, this is a warning sign.

First thing is to check for virus infection or malware. But, it could also be a sign of pending hard drive failure.

#5 – Just Plain Slow

All PCs slow down over time as you install more stuff and build up file “gunk”. The usual solution is to clean out Windows or do a full system re-installation. If the problem persists, however, it is a hardware issue.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re running a really old computer is that newer software does more stuff and requires more horsepower. So, running new software on old hardware is going to feel slow. And, it will feel slower over time. There comes a time when you’ll need to “retire” that computer even though it is still technically working.

#6 – Video Artifacts

Screen tiling is when you get obvious square pixillation on your monitor. And it can be intermittent and really annoying. And as you may guess, this is almost always an issue with your video hardware.

Often, it comes down to excessive heat on the graphics processor. Perhaps you’ve got a ton of dust on the fan and just need to clean it out. Perhaps your fan needs to be replaced. In some instances, your graphics processor could be about to fail entirely.

#7 – The Fans Are Really Loud

Many times, home-built systems tend to have loud cooling fans. Usually, retail computers tend to run quieter. Either way, you’ll get to know what your computer usually sounds like.

So, if you notice that it is beginning to run much louder than usual, that’s a sign of increased heat in the system. Open up the box and see if all the fans are still spinning and also ensure they are clear of dust and gunk.

#8 – Random Software Launches

Software that starts up without your involvement, random ads showing up – all of that is usually a sign that your computer is infected with malware. In some cases, you may even notice that your webcam will turn itself on. Surprise!… you’re being watched. Pretty creepy.

Cleaning a system of malware can be simple – or not. Best bet is to run a malware scan and see what comes up. If your computer is seriously fubar, you could try rebooting into safe mode and run the scan that way. In some serious cases, however, the only real viable option is to simply format the system and re-install Windows.