Computer crashes when bumped slightly


I have a desktop PC built in the last year that started showing signs of instability. It would randomly crash sometimes, but not at the OS level — it would be a hard crash that would corrupt video and audio outputs and completely freeze the system.

I started suspecting the RAM sticks since they have been finicky in the past, so I booted Memtest86 in order to do a full RAM test. Right after setting up the test, I accidentally bumped the case and the test froze.

I then rebooted and tried the same again multiple times. Every time I bumped the case, the system freezes completely. It seems to be more sensitive in the RAM region, so I still suspect either the sticks or the motherboard.

Is there any other troubleshooting step I can take other than start swapping components? I've got no other components nearby and am planning to contact Corsair (RAM) support soon.

Best Answer

It sounds like a mechanical issue, not a software issue, so reinstalling software isn't going to help. The following assumes a relatively normal failure mode- no errant screws rolling around under the motherboard, etc

It should go without saying that you'll need to power down the system before plugging or unplugging any hardware.

First, make sure your power cord is inserted all the way into the back of the computer PS (yes, it happens). Then try removing and reinstalling your RAM sticks. Then remove and reinstall whatever cards you have in the backplane. A final step would be to remove and reinstall the CPU- you will probably need to use fresh heat sink compound depending on your setup.

Another approach would be to remove absolutely everything from your system besides minimal RAM and the CPU. Slap it around. If it doesn't have any issues then add your other hardware one piece at a time (slapping between reboots) until it either stops working reliably or doesn't stop working at all. That should help narrow things down.

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