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Common computer hardware failures

A view from inside of a computerComputers contain many electronic components (both large and small) that can fail. Computer hardware failures occur for different reasons, including faulty components, damage, and parts that wear out from use. However, some major elements are particularly prone to mishap: power supply, power supply fan, motherboard and electronic components, hard drive, and ports.

The power supply
The power supply is a critical part that provides electricity to the electronic circuits, hard drive, and all the PC's components. Without a (reliable) running power supply, the computer won't have the power to run. Power supplies often fail because of an electrical surge, either from the power company or a lightning strike.

The power supply fan
The power supply fan cools the inside of the computer when the components get hot from running. If the fan fails, the motherboard and electronic components will overheat. Most computer fans fail because they wear out after lots of use.

The motherboard
The motherboard, processor, and RAM are critical to the computer's ability to run and process information. However, the motherboard is vulnerable to power surges that can fry its electrical circuits, and it as well as the processor will burn up if the fan that keeps them from overheating stops working. Faulty components from the factory can cause the motherboard, processor, and RAM to fail too.

The hard drive
There are a few reasons that most hard drive failures occur. The hard drive starts spinning each time a PC powers on, and it must continue to do so; eventually, it wears out after years of use. A power outage (while the PC is on) also can damage a hard drive. Sometimes the factory may install a defective drive, which will cause the computer to run slowly, freeze up frequently, and crash.

The computer ports
Faulty computer ports are another common source of hardware failure. Just like any other part, ports can wear out after repeated use. However, most fail because the users damage them. You can harm the USB port if you unplug a jump drive without selecting the "safely remove" icon. Also, if you plug in an external device while the computer is on, you can fry that port's circuit and potentially ruin the motherboard.

Hardware failure prevention measures
Your PC needs all of its hardware to work correctly; if a critical piece fails, your computer's performance will suffer, or it might even crash. You can prevent damage from power surges by plugging your computer into a surge suppressor, and protect your hard drive from power outages by using a backup power supply. Also, you can prevent frying circuits by not plugging or unplugging external devices while the PC is running.

Unfortunately, if your computer has faulty hardware installed, then there is little you can do to prevent failures. You should however check to see if your computer is still under warranty, or a warranty protection plan. Even if your computer is outside of the warranty you may still be protected under consumer laws. By checking the consumer laws for your country you may find that you still have some protection if the components are expected by the manufacturer to have a greater average life than what your computer achieved.

Copyright © Darryl on 2018

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