Hardware failure refers to the act of a piece of physical hardware failing to meet its designed standards during operation.

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70
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18answers
14k views

Can some software physically damage hardware?

I know a question similar to this one has been asked before however it was about installing a 32bit OS on a 64bit laptop. My question is more....damaging. I was wondering if there was a way of ...
50
votes
11answers
11k views

My computer freezes irregularly

My computer started to freeze at irregular times for 3 weeks now. Please note that this question change with each things that i try. (For additional details) What happens My computer freezes, the ...
46
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2answers
2k views

I have been told to accept one error with Memtest86+

Bought a new computer back in August with 4x4 GB RAM. Had problems with the RAM. They sent me four new sticks, which also generated errors. Singled out four sticks (from the eight I now had) that ...
24
votes
17answers
4k views

How can I physically destroy data from a failed HDD?

I have a broken HDD that contains sensitive data. Since no software can access the disk, I can't wipe it using any of the tools generally suggested. Breaking the disk physically into very small ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I test if a USB thumb drive is fake?

I bought a 256GB USB stick for only $5 on eBay. I know: What could possible overwrite your sense of "hey wait a minute" as a technology person would make you think you could buy a 256GB flash ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Are all basic SATA drives equally reliable?

I'm about to purchase a SATA hard drive. I was wondering if, aside from the storage capacity, are there any other factors I should keep in mind? I care above all about reliability. Is a more expensive ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

How to prevent programs (e.g. Process Monitor) from killing my SSD in 2 weeks?

I just got my first SSD - Intel 320 Series 120GB yesterday. And I have SSDLife monitoring in the background. I have TRIM enabled. After I have installed all software, and did some basic testings. ...
18
votes
3answers
850 views

Does a dead graphics card have any use?

My Graphics card died. The PC couldn't even boot - the motherboard gave a beep code indicating that it couldn't find a GPU. After replacing the device the PC worked again. Is there anything I can do ...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

How to Diagnose a Pre-Operating System Load or Hardware Issue

How can I find out if my problem is hardware based? If it is, how can I figure out what component is to blame How can I fix other pre-operating system issues? As an aside, what are all of these ...
16
votes
12answers
43k views

How to diagnose computer lockups and freezes?

I built a desktop computer a couple years back with the following specs: CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz 6 MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80580Q9300 Motherboard: EVGA ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Will my USB Flash Drive die sooner if I watch movies directly from it?

If I watch movies directly off my USB Flash Drive, will the many reads somehow cause the drive to deteriorate faster? Or is there any other harm in doing this? My alternative is copying the movie to ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Can dust cause damage to my motherboard?

During the last few days, my screen froze a couple of times. After opening the chassis I discovered plenty of dust beneath my mother board. I wonder if that can cause short circuits.
12
votes
1answer
488 views

Power Options: Turn off harddrive. Effective or dangerous?

I keep a PC running 24x7 as it handles several light (processor-wise and disk-wise) tasks and acts as a jumping point into my network from outside. I'd like to keep it as energy efficient as possible. ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

Are SSD's really reliable enough for power users?

TL;DR (though please read my full experience before jumping in with a quick answer.) A power user performs a certain amount of write cycles. Does an MLC SSD drive support enough write cycles to last ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Is moving an “all-in-one” PC when turned on/off dangerous?

I have an "all-in-one" computer. I know that moving a computer when it is switched on is harmful to the hardware components. What I would like to know is if the same applies to "all-in-one" computers ...
11
votes
3answers
883 views

Laptop that only boots after being placed in the freezer once all power is depleted?

Not an April Fools Day joke!* I have a Lenovo T500 that will not boot once it looses complete power (battery depleted & AC power loss). The odd thing about the whole issue is that if I place the ...
10
votes
7answers
4k views

Graphics card fails after ten minutes of gaming

I am using Windows 7 and ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series graphics card. My problem is that while playing some games (I think ones which require more graphic resources like Sims 3, NBA 2k12) after 10-30 mins ...
10
votes
4answers
703 views

Can I increase the reliability of my hard drive by using less of its' capacity?

I have a used 3TB SATA hard drive kicking around that I am planning to use as a replacement in a Win 7 box. I don't need all this capacity so was I thinking if I format it to 1TB I would increase ...
10
votes
3answers
15k views

What is the safe temperature limit for a consumer SATA hard drive?

Background My personal desktop system at home has 5 SATA drives racked up inside. Recently my system started failing in odd ways like random kernel panics and I eventually traced it to random ...
10
votes
2answers
612 views

How is SSD lifetime affected by usage pattern and amount of free space?

It is known that SSDs are relatively very limited in the number of writes they can take before starting to slow down or otherwise deteriorate. Suppose I have a 250GB SSD with 225GB of files which are ...
10
votes
2answers
432 views

Strange laptop LCD failure

Last week, my laptop display unexpectedly decided to go haywire while it was switching graphic cards (going from ATI Radeon to Intel GMA). Now the image is displayed "right-to-left" instead of the ...
9
votes
5answers
505 views

Can storing my HDDs airtight damage them in anyway?

I have lost many electronics that I keep unused for a long time before due to the near sea (high humidity area) area that I live in. I learned this the hard way, so in order to protect hard drives ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Do SSD disks do not last as long with Windows XP as with other OS? [closed]

We do software development (Visual C++) on Windows, and already had a few cases where developers using SSD disks with Windows XP had to replace their disks after a (one, 1) year of usage, because they ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Mean Time to Failure (MTTF): When disk manufacturers post this, how should you interpret their numbers?

Mean Time to Failure (MTTF) is usually given in terms of hours, and by doing some calculations, it seems that a disk should fail only after a good number of years have gone by. It seems that disks ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it bad to defragment a USB Flash Drive?

If I defragment my 8 GB Kingston flash drive, will it decrease its lifetime?
7
votes
7answers
4k views

Running Windows with defective RAM

Is it possible to run Windows (7, x64) with a defective RAM module? More precisely, is there some way to tell Windows not to allocate a known bad address or block of addresses? For Linux, there is ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

What are the common causes of CPU failure?

What are the most common causes of CPU failure? Are there intermediate states between a perfectly functioning CPU and a dead one?
7
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2answers
7k views

How can I determine which RAM module is failing Memtest86?

One or many of the memory cards out of total 4GB (4x1GB) are failing. The following is memtest progress screenshot. It is always pointing to memory at 19xx MB and 50xx MB. Error bits are always ...
7
votes
2answers
346 views

New build not powering up at all after connecting psu cables to hard drive

I recently decided to build myself a new, cheap(ish) rig mainly for HTPC use and I have now run into a BIG problem. The system simply refuses to show any signs of life. Problem: When I press the ...
7
votes
1answer
214 views

SMD transistor on motherboard is blown after a big spark; case fan no longer works

So I installed a new fan and upon turning on the computer there was a huge spark with loud bang. Everything stopped working until I unplugged power from motherboard. Now upon boot, computer says one ...
6
votes
3answers
644 views

Do SSD's really last 285 years? [closed]

Some Sold State Disks (SSD) have a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 2,500,000 hours. If you divide that by the rough number of hours in a year you get 2500000÷(365×24) ~= 285 years before there is ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Why is my mouse pointer twitching? [duplicate]

I don't know if you've ever experienced such a behavior from your mouse pointer but it's happened to me several times. The thing is, when I buy a brand new mouse, everything is fine for some time ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

Thinkpad T60 does not turn on

When I plug in the charge, the battery symbol and the charge symbol will light up green. Then, when I try to press the power button, the lights turn off and nothing happens. After this, the only ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

PC boots but screen is off. Need to reboot several times before video works again

I have this problem with my PC. First setup: Asus P5E Deluxe Motherboard (first BIOS, I've never update it) 4Gb DDR2 RAM Corsair XMS 2 (2x2Gb) MSI Ati Radeon 4850 Velociraptor 150Gb 10000 RPM ...
6
votes
4answers
307 views

Troubleshooting an mysteriously unstable machine

I have a machine with a Core i7 CPU, 12 GiB of memory, 4 hard drives and a graphics card/sound card (both add-in PCI-E). This machine is somehow unstable, and I'm wondering how to troubleshoot ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

My computer has a loose USB port, what should I do?

My computer has a USB port that appears to be too loose, with attached devices exhibiting too much play where the USB plug is inserted into the port. The port still works, as devices continue to ...
5
votes
4answers
985 views

Can keeping my CPU speed at “high performance/turbo” all the time decrease its lifespan?

Can keeping my CPU speed at “high performance/turbo” all the time decrease its lifespan? And if so, what would be its expected route of failure if it does happen?
5
votes
1answer
615 views

Sun and or heat damage to back of monitor or computer

I have a laptop, and 2 monitors that are on a desk next to a window. They get direct sunlight for a few hours a day. In summer it seems to be about 3 hours. Most days I'm not using the hardware during ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

Debugging a “Somewhat” Faulty PC Component

TL;DR: I have a component that fails very infrequently, preventing my computer from POSTing (I am suspicious that this may be a motherboard issue). Since I cannot reliably reproduce this error, what ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Laptop doesn't boot up (not even to bios settings) and has corrupted partition table

My laptop fails to boot up. Since it fails even before I could enter bios settings, I thought it has to be a hardware failure. To rescue my data, I removed the hard disk and plugged it to another PC. ...
5
votes
1answer
408 views

Why Does Wireless Gear Degrade Over Time?

I saw this originally posted on slashdot, but their comment format is not conducive to actually getting a correct answer. Having directly experienced this phenomenon myself, I'm now asking here where ...
5
votes
0answers
614 views

Is a hard shutdown harmful to computer hardware? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can a power failure or forceful shutdown damage hardware? If I switch off my computer pressing the power button for five (5) seconds, can I break any of the components, ...
4
votes
5answers
5k views

Logitech M705 Wireless Mouse: Are the batteries dying, or does the device have a hardware failure?

I have a Logitech M705 wireless mouse. I'm first time using a wireless mouse, so I don't have much experience with the hardware features and behavior. It is rated that it runs for 3 years with the ...
4
votes
4answers
929 views

PC freezes after repeated clicking noises

I have an oldish PC (Athlon XP 2200, WinXP). Every time I switch it on, I hear a loud "click" first of all, and when it is shut down, again a click is the last sound I hear. Lately it started to ...
4
votes
3answers
629 views

How will single-bit memory error affect Linux?

I'm rebuilding a three-year-old AMD Athlon 5000 system which has an "ASRock NF7G-FullHD" motherboard with 4 memory slots, labeled "DDR2 800", said to have RAM capacity 8GB total. Besides 550W PS and ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is my laptop keyboard broken, or is the problem something else?

I was recently caught in a thunderstorm with no umbrella while my laptop was in my backpack. Since then, when I press keys on the right side of my keyboard, it registers them as several keypresses. ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How to make smartd shut up about one particular offline uncorrectable sector?

I have a disk in a two-disk software RAID-1 for which recently an "offline uncorrectable sector" appeared in the SMART status. 198 Offline_Uncorrectable 0x0030 200 200 000 Old_age ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Help diagnosing a “freezing” problem

Short description: I bought a new computer a couple months ago. My problem is that every now and then, my computer "freezes up". However, if doesn't freeze for good. After a couple of minutes it comes ...
4
votes
1answer
323 views

Computer began freezing after lightning storm. Replaced most of it, and still getting random freezes. What next?

My machine started freezing (no blue screens, no warnings) after about 30 minutes to two hours of use after a bad lightning storm that also knocked out my router. I've replaced the motherboard, RAM, ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

My keyboard is typing by itself, could there be a ghost in it?

The keyboard on my HP Pavilion dv6z-3000 Select Edition laptop is acting funny: it's sometimes typing characters like 134, adjusting the volume, or triggering the print dialog, all by itself, or as I ...