I did not mean for it to be so long in between postings. I have been having intermittent computer problems for several months now and last week I was not able to run my computer other than in Safe Mode, which meant I could not connect to the internet, email etc.
Everyone kept saying I probably had a virus, but because the computer kept restarting after about 5 minutes (in normal mode) I was unable to run my virus software or really do any thing else. I have had one kind or another computer since the late ‘80’s and believe it or not I have never had a computer virus or had a crash that caused a need to re-install. I replaced computers only because they were old. I was told I probably was going to have to scrub my hard drive and re-install everything. That was something I did not want to do because I haven’t been able to backup anything for about the past two months. I even took my computer to the Geek Squad and had them run their freebie counter check. The “kid” wasn’t really able to say for sure but thought that it probably was a “deep seated” virus of some kind and for what it would cost for them to fix it (well over $200) he said I was better off getting a new computer (mine is 7 years old). Well as much as I would love to get a new one I held off (partly because they didn’t have any in stock at the time).
Well, I was bound and determined to check out every possible cause before giving in and doing the dreaded scrub and re-install. By chance I discovered I could restart and go into Safe Mode with Networking and have some access to the internet for assistance. Reading one support article after another I did what was suggested. At some point the system crashed and I had a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) error message. It suggested I run a diagnostic utility, particularly on the memory. I had never seen this particular error before.
Working in Safe Mode, I started running the diagnostics tests on the provided CD. The tests came up with three different errors each pointing to one of the memory modules. I decided it was time to call Dell free support again. Two hours later and a number of tests and what have you, my computer seems to be cured. The technician said the memory was fine but stated I could upgrade for better computer performance. He also suggested I could upgrade to a larger hard drive, which I don’t really need at the moment. These technicians know their stuff but they are encouraged to sell, sell, sell Dell products also. I upgraded the memory three years ago and I was told then that I would be fine with it.
What was causing the problem? It turns out the driver of a software program I had recently installed was the culprit. The tech had me uninstall it and he did some other things including adding a software program that lets me check out what these BSOD errors mean and then in the future I can possibly deal with these type of things myself. After all the hours and days I put into trying to resolve this problem I can appreciate a little better the prices these guys want to charge.
What did it cost to get my problem resolved? Nothing but my time. I am so happy I persisted in digging around more and did not give in to everyone’s “scrub and re-install” advice. There were a number of things I definitely knew were not backed up and I am sure there were other files I could not remember but knew I would lose if had I listened to them. As of this moment, everything but a copy of this post and a couple of images are backed up. And these items will get backed up this evening (barring no other problems).
I am sorry for this long post and for it not having anything to do with this blog, but I thought if my experience could help just one person it is worth posting about. I will post again very soon, with some pics I promise.