Today I'll be trying to un-frak my Windows system by scratching the hard drive and reinstalling everything. This thing has been solid as an anvil for the last year and a half, and last week it started crashing several times a day...spontaneous reboots or hard freezes, very annoying. If it's a software problem, a reinstall will fix it...if it's a hardware problem, I'm essentially SOL.
I don't have the spare parts in the house to go hunting for defective components, unfortunately. The most likely culprits from my experience are usually mainboard, CPU, memory, power supply, or thermal breakdown. I think I can rule out the last two, as I have a well-ventilated case, temperature monitoring, and a nearly-new 550W Antec PSU. Replacing the other components piece by piece is cost-prohibitive...by the time I have everything replaced with new parts, I might as well buy a new system altogether. It's a Gigabyte board with a Socket 478 CPU and AGP card, both of which are near-obsolete standards now.
If a format and Windows reload don't fix the problem, I'll have to part this thing out and get a replacement box, which is an expense I'd rather not incur. We'll see how it goes.
Windoze boxes...arrgh. I use three Macintosh Powerbooks as word processors, and those things are still solid as rocks, even though the youngest of the bunch is approaching its ten-year manufacturing anniversary. If I had the loose coinage for a new Mac in my sofa cushions, I'd be fixing this son-of-a-bitch with a few rounds of .303 British at the TWRA range nearby, and then head over to the Apple store .
Anyway, more later.