So, long story short, I managed to pretty badly mess up my laptop’s hard drive, and had to replace it with a new one and a new Windows installation. The new drive works fine and I’ve been restoring from backups, but now I’m afflicted with crashes at seemingly random intervals. They all have a similar pattern: the computer freezes, displays skipping audio and heavy graphical artifacts, and then eventually shuts down. It usually takes a few tries to start it back up again, less if I let the computer sit for a while; if I try to restart it immediately usually what happens is that the disk-access light will flash briefly and then go out, then nothing else happens. Although the errors do have a heavy random component, I have noticed some trends:
- Crashes are more likely to occur if the computer has recently been moved- even if it was put in hibernation during all of the actual jostling.
- Crashes are more likely to occur when running on battery power as opposed to outlet power (possible cross-contamination with “moved”, above, since these two events tend to overlap.)
- Crashes are much more likely to occur if I am doing something relatively intensive- games, certainly, but also compiling code or other non-graphical tasks.
I initially suspected some sort of overheating problem, but monitoring tools indicate that my GPU and CPU temperatures stay very stable in the high 40C range, and more generally every diagnostic I’ve run- on the hard drive, RAM, and GPU, have indicated that they are working perfectly. I suppose I could always just get another computer, this one’s getting older anyway, but now I’m curious what could actually be causing this.