- Computers & Software
Check Your Computer for Hardware Defects
Is your computer unstable even though you already checked for viruses and malware? There could be physical damage with the parts in your computer that's causing errors to appear. Here are some free ways to check if the hardware in your computer has any defects:
Check your hard drive
Symptoms of hard drive errors include lost or corrupt data. You can check for errors with your hard drive with the "check disk" program included with recent versions of Windows.
- Open My Computer by double-clicking on it.
- Right-click the hard drive you want to check and select Properties.
- Go to the Tools tab and under Error-checking, click on Check now.
- Check the box next to Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.
- Click on Start to run the check.
Depending on how big your hard drive is, the program may take a while. Once the program is finished checking your hard drive, you'll be presented with a report. Take a look and see if there are any bad sectors on your hard drive.
Bad sectors are an indication that parts of your hard drive are damaged. These sectors can no longer store your data reliably. When a few bad sectors appear, this is usually a sign that more sectors will turn bad soon.
Check your memory
Does your computer randomly restart or freeze? There could be issues with your computer's memory. They are frequently a result of low quality parts or exposure to high heat.
You can check your memory with Memtest86+. You'll need to put the program on a USB flash drive, a blank CD, or a floppy disk. Then, you'll have to restart your computer in order to run this program.
Depending on how much memory your computer has, this may take a while. When the program detects an error, it will show it immediately on the screen.
Check your CPU
A malfunction process in your computer can cause a host of problems for you. If you want to make sure the processor in your computer is working correctly, download the tool Prime95. Prime95 is a program dedicated to computing prime numbers (special numbers that have only two factors). In simpler terms, it can make your CPU do a lot of heavy math computations.
After installing the program, you will want to run a "Torture Test". As implied by the name, it will really work your processor. If nothing bad happens within a few hours, it's a good indication that your CPU is fine. However, if you really want to be sure, you'll probably want to leave it running overnight and check on it the next morning.
Check your video card
If you're a gamer, you'll definitely want to check whether your video card is working fine. One of the tools to accomplish this job is 3DMark. 3DMark is a benchmark program that simulates game workloads. If you have an older computer, you'll probably want to grab one of the older versions (like 3DMark2001 SE). But if your computer has a new video card, be sure to download a new version (like 3DMark 11).
After you install 3DMark, run any (or all) of the tests you like. While the tests are running, you should be watching your monitor and paying attention to any visual errors. If you see flickers or white specks, then you'll know your video card isn't working reliably. Otherwise, it's working fine and there's nothing to worry about.
If you found errors in the hardware of your computer, consider replacing the affected part before continuing to use your computer. Otherwise, you'll risk losing your data.