When Windows or one of its applications is seriously malfunctioning, the operating system typically halts and displays an error message. It is usually a memory problem when you have a General protection fault (GPF) or invalid page faults. They are caused by the operating system trying to hold information in memory that is already in use and corrupts the information. The operating system should be able to control this operation but the errors occur in many ways including the overheating of the computer or a power fluctuation. Rebooting the computer should bring the system back up normally. If the computer is warm then the hardware, especially the fans, should be checked. Most modern motherboards have a temperature monitor so that if the computer overheats a warning beep is sounded and/or the system closes down.
Other error messages that you may see when the system crashes are:
- Access violation
- Exception error
- Illegal operation
- Segment load failure
- Violation of system integrity
If these persist then you should run a hardware diagnostic tool which will check all the devices on your computer for errors. If errors are found then the faulty device should be replaced or repaired.
If you continue to use the computer that crashes regularly, there will come a time when it will corrupt the system's operating system, applications or your data. You will find that, if a system is not shut down properly, Windows will automatically run a check disk (chkdsk) on any drives that were in use at the time and may have problems. Any corruption will be automatically reported and fixed.