Why does my computer keep crashing?

Using a computer which keeps crashing can be very frustrating, particularly if you’re unable to understand why and how it can be fixed. Random crashes can lead to a loss of data, files being changed and the breakdown of your computer if they are not addressed. Crashes are categorised as random reboots or shutdowns, freezing, the ‘blue screen of death’ or your screen turning off without warning. So, here are some common causes of computer crashes and how they can be fixed:


An overheating computer is the most common cause of random crashes. If your PC or laptop is not experiencing sufficient airflow, the hardware will become too hot and will fail to function properly, resulting in a crash. Every computer is sold with a fitted fan designed to counter the heat the machine generates.

However, they are prone to become clogged with dust, food crumbs or pet hair which can cause the fan to fail, so it is important to clean the fan on a regular basis to prevent this from happening. Similarly, ensure you do not have any large items blocking the air vents, as this can also cause the fan to fail and your computer to crash.

Another useful tip is to listen to your computer’s fan. The more you use your PC, the more heat is generated by the processor and hard drive. This means the fan will have to work twice as hard to cool the machine down and will make more noise in doing so. Your fan is designed to handle this level of heat and to operate quietly, but this type of intensive use will eventually cause a failure. So if you can audibly hear your fan, allow your computer time to cool down before using it again.


If you are experiencing random freezing or shutdowns, there could be faults with your computer’s hardware. As a result, it is important to make sure this is not due to the operating systems registry. The registry is an archive for collecting and storing the configuration settings of Windows components, installed hardware, software and applications. A registry can become corrupted but can be fixed through registry cleaner software which will restore the system.

Your computer could also be crashing if you have a fault with your driver. This could be due to file corruption or bad sectors on your hard drive. Typically, you will receive warning signs from Windows that this type of crash is coming through system messages or slowdowns in disk access.

Pinpointing which driver is causing the fault is very difficult, so the most sensible solution is to reinstall the common system drivers such as Graphics and Motherboard. You can speed this up by using driver installation software that ensures they are up-to-date and properly installed.


Despite the common belief that most crashes are caused by faulty software, this is seldom the case. Software will seldom cause your computer to crash entirely. If a program you are using crashes or freezes unexpectedly, your operating system will often provide you with an option to shut it down, rather than let the whole PC become affected.

Occanionally, software can contain bugs which will freeze your computer, if this happens, be patient and wait for your computer to shut the software down, or manually restart your PC yourself.

Of course, there are also many forms of malware and viruses that can cause your computer to crash. Here are some tips to check if you think your computer may be infected, and some information on how to prevent malware too.

If you are using Windows Vista or a more recent OS you can also use the in-built ‘reliability monitor’ to show you the cause behind computer crashes.

Simply hit the windows key and search ‘reliability’ or access the monitor through your control panel to see a history of your system’s crashes. We hope this helps, and if your computer isn’t crashing, but is slowing-down, or under-performing, we have written about this too: Top Tips for speeding up your computer.

Got any further questions or comments? Let us know below or by tweeting to us at @JustAskGemalto.