Try to write down the STOP error code in the blue screen. You can use that text to search the MS KB and other online resources.
the blue screen dissappears very quickly and I have no time to read it. is that info dumped anywhere?
You can check in your system Event Viewer, for any errors.
To prevent the computer from rebooting
In startup and recovery on the advanced tab of My computer, uncheck the Automatically restart box.
Then google the STOP code/
The System Event Viewer should have the information, as youfoundjake pointed out.
I've also heard of people using a digital camera to take photos of their screen to catch these errors that flash by. ;)
a couple of thoughts
1. Make sure you are getting good power. Use a UPS and/or check the voltage with a voltmeter. I often find new clients with crashes because they have a space heater on the same circuit.
2. Try creating another user and logging in as that user to see if it is a machine problem or is specific to one user's configuration.
3. as youfoundjake said, take a close look at the event viewer. Look for the time period when the crash occurred under system and application.
4. Check for overheating. I've been in client's offices and homes where everything was immaculate. Yet the machine had a layer of felt over the air intakes. I had to add an auxiliary slot based fan to my system. I had the same problem with an older laptop. It would get super hot. I purchased a chill mat (now a chill hub) for about $30 and it runs perfectly as long as I use that.
Have you changed your RAM settings or anything RAM related recently?
Thanks for all your replies.
I think I do have overheating issues, but I think the main problem is memory (although the 2 issues could be related).
After unchecking the auto-restart box in my computer (thanks youfoundjake) I can see that MEMORY_MANAGEMENT is the cause and the stop code is:
STOP 0x0000001a (0x00041284, 0x0f877001, 0x0000d1cb, 0xc0883000)
Should I be researching each of those STOP codes individually to get the the root of the problem?
Have you kept your machine updated? There was a patch for XP STOP 0x0000001a errors [support.microsoft.com] last week: [microsoft.com...]
RAM is frequently the cause of Windows crashes. If you have not changed your RAM, it may be that the RAM has become faulty.
If you do add RAM, try to replace all the RAM with matching sets, RAM from different manufacturers can cause issues to Windows.
I do have matching sets of ram (2 sets of matching 2x512mb), and am now trying each module in turn to see if any of them are faulty...
jd: I have automatic windows updates on, but will check to see if that one has gone through.
I used a memtest application to check my RAM chips one at a time and one was indeed faulty.
Thanks for your help everyone :)
yay, good job, now watch out for black screens of death..