How can I thoroughly test the Windows 7 desktop machine I built for my dad before I give it back to him?
December 19, 2011 3:20 PM   Subscribe

How can I thoroughly test the Windows 7 desktop machine I built for my dad before I give it back to him? He lives 4.5 hours away so I won't be able to easily respond to problems once he has it.

I built a Windows 7 desktop machine for my dad last year. I gave it to him and after a few months he said it began to freeze and crash. He gave the machine back to me but I have yet to replicate these issues.

Are there any software programs out there that will let me flex this machine to the point where I would find an issue before I give it back to him? I want to try to replicate the issue or find new issues before the machine ends up 4.5 hours away from me.

Finding actual component problems would be best, too. Maybe the issues are caused by a single component that I can easily replace.
posted by decrescendo to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does he live somewhere hot? Long shot, but it might be overheating? If so, then Speedfan will give you a read on that. Has it got enough memory? Also, if he was crashing on websites with flash in them it could be an adobe problem - had lots of issues with that on my wife's laptop.

To help you diagnose it, 'reliability monitor' (type that into the search box in Win 7) will have documented the crashes and the event viewer holds a record of all system events.

\Might not still be called event viewer, but that's what it was in WIn XP.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:31 PM on December 19, 2011

I initially assumed it was overheating so I moved it out on top of the desk as opposed to inside it. It supposedly still froze up. I assumed it was the video card since it's a fanless video card and he thought it froze while watching videos on

I'll ensure the Flash is up-to-date. He has 4GB of memory.
posted by decrescendo at 3:35 PM on December 19, 2011

I have a free account at and I think its the even better than sliced bread. I use it all the time to fix my parents computer but the only time it doesn't work is when they have no internet access.
posted by FusiveResonance at 3:36 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

He's running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. Intel Core i3-540. 4.0GB of RAM.

Here is a screenshot of the hardware:

Anyone see any issues?
posted by decrescendo at 3:39 PM on December 19, 2011

Logmein is what you want. I support several grandparents and great grandparents using the Mac equivalent.
posted by procrastination at 3:51 PM on December 19, 2011

Seconding Logmein. It really rocks.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:10 PM on December 19, 2011

Videos? I'm guessing Adobe Flash. It's been a pig lately. Can't recall offhand the fix, but a bit of googling should help you. Start by disabling all your browser extensions.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:39 PM on December 19, 2011

Tangential, but why is LogMeIn is better than just doing Windows Remote Assistance (used it a couple times with my dad) or Remote Desktop + DynDNS?
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:01 PM on December 19, 2011

More to the point, memtest86, try to get him to tell you what he's doing moments before the freeze/crash (yeah, yeah, I know), and S.M.A.R.T. diags on the hard drives.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:34 PM on December 19, 2011

You could torture test (also called "burn in") the CPU and video card and see if they hold up and that the cooling system is adequate. I would use something like FurMark or MSI Kombustor for the GPU side and Prime95 for CPU+rest.
posted by Edogy at 5:58 AM on December 20, 2011

I've used (similar to LogMeIn) frequently to deal with family computer issues. Not all PCs have remote desktop - my "server" computer is some flavor of Windows 7 that doesn't have it included (our old "server" computer was the same on XP). (So in this case, I use VNC).
posted by getawaysticks at 6:15 AM on December 20, 2011

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