Just wondering if you get any warnings on an older machine-8 yr old XP.
8 year old PCs don't die unexpectedly - it could go at any time now that it's lived to such a ripe old age. Some might keep working for a long time, but if you can afford a new one, better that you choose its retirement date to avoid inconvenience. Unless you have a second machine to use when your elderly buddy moves on, then an untimely death won't be a bother.
To add to Snidely's comments the whole computer does not die but more likely just one component. At that point repairs can cost the price of a new computer and you still have an old and slow machine.
I know an older lady whose computer is so old it uses the old half inch wide DIN connectors for keyboard and mouse. She uses it for bookkeeping but as she herself does not move with the speed of a startled Gazelle it is more than sufficient for her needs.
You can always dress it up in new clothes.
Add a new case, new motherborard, new ram.
Clone the hard drive onto a new hard drive.
And hope it lasts another 8 years.
Unusual metallic-like whirring noise is an alarm. Sometimes it is just a dirty fan, and sometimes it is the hard drive.
Great responses, Owbist, love that old lady!
DA got it right. I was actually looking for symptoms. I have so many old machines which still work, but the one I use the most has been acting glitchy lately. It has been a work-horse and still is, but I notice some things which cause a bit of concern. I just want to be prepared and make sure I don't get caught unprepared.
Listen for an intermittent clicking noise from the HD also. When my old Win98 system failed those two noises were count down indicators.
If you are losing confidence in the system I state the obvious, backup more often and completely than you already do.
At least you are getting symptoms, mine just up and died, and wasn't 8 either! Kept it cleaned, dust etc., kept it free of virus', and did system restores and other maintenances along the way. That was not a called for show of appreciation for what I did.
I am still learning to deal with W7, know others can learn quickly, this old gal takes some time, but guess I am over the worst of it all. Good luck in what you get, and if you can afford something newer, go for it, it should repay you in kind!!!!!!!!!!!
Mine went out with the clicking sound. A new HD and labor was half the price of a new PC so opted for new.
Owbist- I love your analogy- thanks for the laughs. I needed it!
I have a laptop that has click fits once or twice a year. It's now three years old. I heard that some hard drives like this one are just plain noisy.
Thanks for the tips. No clicking sounds but fan runs loud but it is hot in Florida.
Sometimes it has trouble loading when I first start up. It seems to load Windows but when I log on, it will go black screen and nothing will get it going. I manually shut it down and restart. Usually it will start. Same thing happens if someone tries to log on if I am already logged on (switch users). Freezes and only a manual restart will get it going.
Occasionally if I try to install something, it will go black screen.
Probably a Windows issue rather than hard drive. I don't want to do a reinstall and do not have the disks anyway.
I know there are no bugs, I defragged, cleaned up with CC. Have tried a bunch of things over the last few months. Seems to be happening more often.
I've decided I won't do anything heroic as it is an old machine, but its like an old shoe. I'm so comfortable with this old desktop.
BTW, I have a Win 7 laptop and rarely use it. I guess I should start!
Jane- the very same thing was happening to my laptop- found out I needed a new monitor. After a tech installed the new monitor, my laptop's working fine now. No manual shutdown, freezing, being slow or black screen, etc. You may find that's all you need.
Trying to pin down a hardware issue when the computer works but at it's own discretion is not easy.
I replaced 2 capacitors in my Samsung monitor, a few months later on screen text became distorted. Deciding it was those same capacitors I raced off to buy a new monitor and set it up. Later I discovered it was not the monitor at all, it was my expensive video card was the problem.
If you only have 512 megs of RAM that might well be the issue, older memory tends to be much more expensive though.
When you start using your Win7 computer there are loads of good tutorials over at Sevenforums.
Jane I know you wrote that you did not want to wipe the drive and start over and that you no longer have the XP CD. However, you can borrow an XP CD if you ever decide to do the chore but be sure to use the 25 digit code stuck to your computer and not the one belonging to the CD and it will work and totally legal. There are now over 130 XP security updates you would need to get besides SP3 if the CD is anything less (SP1 or 2)