Published on June 27, 2015; subsequent updates.
I had a horrible computer problem for the past two weeks. It was TERRIBLE! I would do some work, then my PC would turn off by itself — crashing after weird columns of black bars filled up my monitor screen. It happened most often when I opened the three major browsers — each with 3 graphic-intensive home pages. Evidently, first thing I blamed was Internet-virus infection.
Dell desktop, 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate.
I had to restore from System Image two times in two weeks. My PC would start OK and work for a few days uninterruptedly and with no problem. Then, the same pain-in-the-neck would drop me down! I also had once the “blue screen of death”. “A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer. If you need to use Safe mode to remove or disable components, press F8 to select Advanced startup options, and then select Safe mode.”
On and off… and on and off…
All diagnostics I ran found no problem whatsoever.
I saw once a strange message about a wrong device driver. I committed the deadly sin of paying for and running driver updater software (Advance Driver Updater ADU). It got me mad just a few days earlier. It made me “update” the drivers time and again! It always found “ancient” drivers on my PC! At a closer look, I noticed the updates ADU had made were NOT updates at all. They were repeats. And once, ADU failed to install a video driver correctly but it did not inform me! The Device Manager in Windows was also wrong: It always informed me the device drivers were up to date.
I tried something else: I clicked on Scan for hardware changes for Sound, video, and game controllers. After that, Windows did find the correct device driver for the video card.
I removed ADU immediately. Actually, I had cursed them before because ADU always gave me unreal updates, plus it was disabling itself at times (then asking me to buy it again!)
I had also serious problems during this time with a globally trusted piece of software: Malwarebytes. It "found” about 100 malware pieces on my computer during the same PC-crash period of time. I quarantined them all and the Chrome and Firefox browsers ceased to work! I reinstalled them but the two browsers still didn't work. It happened immediately after I had run Malwarebytes. Luckily, I remembered that. I went directly to Malwarebytes and I restored the quarantined “malware”. Chrome and Firefox ran again without a glitch!
I uninstalled Malwarebytes immediately. Surprisingly, the software asked me to reboot my computer. It means they had taken control of my PC without my knowledge or permission!
I said damn you, sucker! Why do you trust all the crap that promises good care of your computer? They do (a lot) more harm than good — and you pay for it!!! Drop them in the (electronic) hell! No more utility software from now on! Windows takes care of itself. Let the operating system take care of itself. The so-called utilities more likely “kill” the operating system — which is very, very complex and the outsiders don't know what's under the hood.
Yes, there is also the hardware problem. There are situations when the computer turns off by itself because of the power supply unit or because of overheating, or because the video card fans do not work properly. Dust inside the computer, in the dust sinks, also causes crashes. My PC was pretty clean, yet the crashes occurred randomly and nerve-wrenchingly. It crashed today and yesterday, the coolest days of the week. Meanwhile, my computer worked without turning itself off, or other problems, when it was 10 degrees hotter.
1) A wrong device driver for the video card. Right click My Computer (or This PC in Windows 8), double-click Manage, Device Manager, Sound, video, and game controllers, Scan for hardware changes, then Update driver software.
2) If 1) is not the problem, the problem might be OVERHEATING, usually caused by the power supply, or faulty cooling fans for video cards.
3) There is possibly a lot of dust in the dust sinks (needs opening the computer case after unplugging the PC). Clean it up carefully.
4) The dreadful error 0xc000000f: "The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible." — Beware of driver updaters!