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Issues with Operating System Crashes

This article only applies for Windows devices

Windows crashes normally take the form of showing a blue screen, known to many as the Blue Screen of Death. In a number of cases, a restart of the computer can prevent this from happening again however, in this article, we explore troubleshooting steps for when this happens frequently.

After restarting, a notification will appear in the Windows taskbar, which will indicate whether RAM errors have been discovered or not

Memory check

Faulty memory is one of the most common causes of blue screens of death. The message displayed on the screen may refer to a Physical Memory Dump, running a memory check would be the best way forward in this scenario:

If memory tests give you errors, it's possible that your RAM, at least one of the sticks, is faulty and needs to be replaced. At TotalAV we can help find a broad solution to RAM errors found, but the best way forward should errors be found, would be to take your computer to a local IT hardware shop.

Adjust virtual memory

The virtual memory is an extension of the computer's physical memory. It is part of the RAM and part of your computer's hard drive, should physical RAM run out, Windows uses virtual RAM to temporarily handle processes. To adjust virtual RAM:

  • Click the Start Button / Windows icon and type Control Panel, click on the result
  • Click the System icon, then Advanced System Settings in the sidebar
  • In the dialogue box, click the Settings button in the Performance section
  • Click the Advanced tab in the Performance Options dialogue box
  • At the bottom of the page you'll see information regarding Virtual Memory. Hit Change, then untick the checkbox at the top of the new window that appears
  • In the Virtual Memory window, uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives
  • Click the radio button next to Custom Size. To set the Maximum size we advise following the recommended size for your system, displayed at the bottom of the window. Remember, Windows restricts paging file size to three times the size of your installed RAM to ensure system stability. Set the Initial Size to the currently allocated paging file size
  • Run a disk check

    On most modern versions on Windows, auto-defragmentation of your hard drive should occur. However, if you have suddenly started to get crashes - it would be wise to run this manually by doing the following:

  • Open an Explorer Window and click on This PC or My Computer in the sidebar
  • Right-click on your hard drive (most likely labeled C:) and click Properties in the context menu
  • On the Properties dialogue box, click the Tools tab then click the Check button under the title Error Checking
  • Click start and the disk checker will run, advise of any errors, and repair the majority of problems if found
  • Run a Junk Cleaner scan in TotalAV

    The Windows temporary file folder has a reputation for filling up very quickly. It's something you should clean out regularly since it can impact how Windows performs. This can be done easily within the TotalAV app.

    Click the speedometer in the TotalAV sidebar, then select Junk Cleaner in the menu. Running Junk Cleaner cleverly identifies system files that aren't needed:

  • Cached Windows Updates - log files that detail what the computer did when it was last updated. Completely useless files to most users
  • Recycle Bin - if the Recycle Bin hasn't been emptied, the files put into it will still be taking up hard disk space!
  • Temporary files - files that only needed to exist temporarily to perform a process, but Windows hasn't deleted them
  • Windows Error Reporting Files - If programs crash, they create log files so that computer technicians can identify why the crash happened. Unless you are dealing with a very specific crashing problem, these files can be safely deleted
  • Once the scan is complete, follow the on-screen instructions to remove the files from your computer. Some really significant disk space can be cleared by removing junk files.

    Windows Updates

    Windows updates are released for security and reliability improvements, so if crashes are experienced, updates should be checked for.

    Windows 10

  • Click the start button / Windows icon and type Windows Update Settings
  • Select the systems settings link that shows in results
  • In the Update & Security window, click the Advanced Options link in the right pane
  • In the proceeding window, ensure that Automatic is selected in the drop down menu
  • Windows 8

  • Click the start button / Windows icon and type Control Panel
  • Select the Control Panel link that shows in result on the right-hand search pane
  • In Control Panel, click System and Security and then on Windows Update
  • Click on Change Settings in the sidebar
  • Select Install Updates Automatically from the drop down menu
  • Windows 7

  • Click the start button / Windows icon, then click Control Panel
  • In Control Panel, click System and Security and then on Windows Update
  • Ensure that Automatic Updates are turned on
  • If you are finding Windows updates fail, see this Microsoft article for troubleshooting guidance.

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