My Dell XPS has surely started to fail, but I’m not sure what the best course of action is. I don’t remember how old it is — my guess is only about three years — and the symptoms make me wonder if I just need to replace a part or reinstall Windows rather than buy a new machine and take on the PITA factor of transferring all my stuff and recycling the old one.
This summer, while I was playing those Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! games, a fan started kicking in suddenly already at high speed — just WHOOOSH out of nowhere, and then subsiding to normal near-silence after a few seconds. Sometimes it seemed to be linked to putting the game window behind another window, but it usually didn’t seem to correlate with anything I’d done. There was no screen noise or software hang or anything like that, just the fan.
I opened the case to blow out dust, thinking it must be overheating. But there was hardly a speck of dust, no matter how or where I blasted. The whooshing continued unaffected.
This week the PC wouldn’t wake up from sleep, so I did a hard restart, but Windows (10) couldn’t start. The Dell startup BIOS or whatever it is gave me troubleshooting options. The restart option just brought me to the same place. The other options were 1) reinstalling Windows and losing my software but keeping my files and 2) starting everything totally over.
I had somewhere to go, so I did a hard shutdown. The next day I started up again…And WIndows loaded. Fan behavior the same. Lasted a few days, and then this morning I was watching Critical Role on Youtube when the screen suddenly turned into static vertical black pinstripes on a white background (looked quite nice, actually) and everything froze 100%. A hard restart sent me back to the paragraph above.
Reinstalling Windows and all my apps isn’t so very terrible, but it too is a PITA, and if my hardware is failing what’s the point?
So is my whole PC failing, in which case I’ll buy a new one and transfer everything as best I can? Is one component failing (fan? graphics card?) that I should just replace? Or is it a Windows problem and I should just reinstall? Or is there both a hardware and a Windows problem?