We see posts here occasionally with complaints like, “my PC doesn’t finish booting; it goes so far, then I get a black screen.” There will follow the usual suggestions to check the video drivers, or if it’s a new installation, to check the DVD MD5 checksum, etc., etc.
I suggest checking the hardware as well, especially if you haven’t made any changes recently. If your PC seems to have been running normally for quite a while, and this is a problem that has only recently (and relatively suddenly) popped up, check the connections. Make sure the RAM is seated properly. (This is especially important if the PC has been moved around recently.)
But most of all, check for dust buildup! We had a PC yesterday that started shutting down after about 3-4 minutes. This morning, it was a lot colder in the shop, so it lasted almost 5-6 minutes – and that was our clue. My assistant tore into the machine and didn’t see anything obvious; he then removed the fan over the CPU heatsink and saw a ton of dust. (On this particular PC, the fan obscured direct observation of the heatsink fins.)
It sure is. But I have PCs in remote transmitter sites out in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes they get overlooked. I try to keep a schedule/list of all PCs in our company (we have almost 100 just in this market) but you’re going to miss one now and then.
Thing is, speaking from experience, most home users never even check inside the PC. When they start getting intermittent failures, they’ll reinstall the OS or spend hours running diagnostics when it could be something as simple as a dirty fan or a loose RAM stick.
What about that crud that collects on the actual fan blades (power and cooling), is there an easier way to clean those than popping everything as open as possible to wipe them down with a cloth? Air doesn’t blow it all off.