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Troubleshoot Random Laptop Shutdowns, Reboots, and Crashes

It's rather common for a computer to glitch, causing a shutdown, reboot, and/or crash. But it should only happen once in a while. On the other hand, if you start seeing problems on a daily basis, then your computer is most like having a hardware failure. Usually the failure is easy and inexpensive to fix, if you can determine the failure.

If your computer has been working for years, then there is only one likely culprit: the hard drive. The traditional hard drive is an electrical, mechanical device with moving parts. Other than the fan, it is usually the only device with moving parts in today's computers. After years of service, it's bound to failure.

Almost all hard drives today have S.M.A.R.T capability. It basically monitors itself and provides health status to your computer. Surprisingly, Windows doesn't warn users about the hard drive health status. In my experience, I can only determine SMART failure manually by running a SMART utility after my computers show failure symptoms.

So the quickest way to determine if your hard drive is failing, after you start experiencing random shutdowns, reboots, and crashes, is to run a SMART utility on your hard drive. To solve my own hard drive failures, I found the CrystalDiskInfo recently (see "Related Links" below). It's a free, open source SMART utility that can determine your hard disk health. As soon as the utility determine that your hard disk is in a caution or failure state, it's imminent that your hard drive will fail. Replace the hard drive as soon as possible.

Once you've determined that your hard drive have failed, it's time to replace it. Laptop hard drives are relatively cheap. You can find all sorts of them on Amazon (see "Related Links" below). You can even choose a solid-state drive (SSD) over a traditional mechanical hard drive. And it only takes a few screws on the bottom of your laptop to replace. After replacing the hard disk, it's likely your computer will run for years to come.

Sat, 11 Aug 2018 12:20:20 -0700

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