I'm the family's computer guy and it is slowly spreading to family friends and even neighbors as well thanks to recommendations of family members. Recently my mum told my grandmother's neighbors that I could take a look at their computer which was showing a bluescreen during startup and well, it's hard to say no to your mother so I took the computer to analyze the problem that was leading to the bluescreen message.
It was an old computer, an AMD Duron 800 Mhz with a 40 Gigabyte hard drive, 256 Megabytes of RAM running Windows XP. The first thing I did was to look-up the Stop error message that was showing when the bluescreen appeared only to find out that it was most likely a hardware related problem.
My guess was that it was either the motherboard, the RAM or the hard drive that were leading to the bluescreen so I had to test them to find the cause for it. Oh, before I started I made sure that every piece of hardware that was not needed to run the computer was disconnected, like sound and network adapters but also secondary drives and onboard components.
The only way to do this was to burn a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD which contains tools to analyze the hardware and boot it. The disc contains all kinds of utilities to scan, analyze and repair hardware connected to a computer and it is especially effective when it comes to RAM and hard drives.
I decided to run Memtest to test the RAM of the computer which turned out to be fine. The next tool was the Drive Fitness Test designed for IBM and Hitachi hard drives. It turned out that the hard drive had damaged sectors which the tool was able to repair.
With the errors corrected I tried to boot into Windows again and it happened to load just fine. If that would not have helped I would have tried some additional tools to test the CPU for instance. I would have used the cloning tool to clone the hard drive and format it completely to start the installation a new.
The Ultimate Boot CD is an excellent utility if you want to test major PC components without having to install software on the computer.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.