Isolating a hardware problem?

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Thread Starter
Oct 5, 2008
Ok, now, I'm a little computer savvy, in the software world.

In the hardware world.. well let's just say I see a box and if it turns on to me its working physically lol.

But lately, I would be on my computer for a while, and then everything would freeze. The mouse, the keyboard, everything. I can't move a single thing, I can't click on a single thing, ctrl+alt+delete does jack, esc, F11, everything does nothing.

Now of course I went "oh software problem", and I've spent enough hours to come to the conclusion that it is not.

Which leaves either hardware or firmware, now I have noidea how to isolate a problem in either hardware or firmware. So can somebody please point me in the right direction? or something of the similar




Oct 4, 2008
Well, it sounds like it could be either hardware or software. What makes you sure to rule out software?

One thing to consider is whether you've installed anything recently that may have altered your system stability. If you've just added a hardware device, that's usually a good pointer to where the problem might be coming from. But it could also be a virus of some sort that's attacking the system.

I remember a similar issue in the past which actually turned out to be a failing power supply! I'd try and isolate what has changed since you were having no problems, and maybe consider a system restore.


Jan 2, 2001
The very first thing I would check would be system temps. You can check your temps in the bios OR you can use something like speedfan.

Next you can test your ram with memtest This runs from bootable media; ie CD or floppy.

A very quick and easy way to tell if the problem is hardware or software is to run in safe mode. If it locks up in safe mode, it is almost always a hardware issue; ie ram, failing motherboard, pw supply, etc, etc.

Another thing you can do is open the case and give the motherboard a VERY close inspection with a bright light. Look for any leaking, discolored, or bulging capacitors on the motherboard. If you have found any,you have found your problem.

Post back with the results of the test/inspection, system temps.


Oct 29, 2007
Couple of pointers - freezing is often associated with hardware. In order of my popularity - Power Supply issue - overheating processor - graphics card.

First off I'd look inside the case and check dust levels - (obviously check power upply is disconnected beforehand). It might need a vaccum. If all that looks okay then it's worth investigating if there are any hardware elements that are in trouble.

Click on windows button on keyboard press R and then type devmgmt.msc.

Look for any devices that have a X or ? on them and resolve.

Other elements to try are - using a PS2 keyboard instead of USB, disable wireless adaptor and use hard wire.

Hope this provides a start for you
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