Two computer problems that make me want to hurt things

I bought a used alienware laptop from my coworker. It worked fine for him and for a couple weeks worked fin for me. Then it started crashing with BSOD/svhost errors. The errors I saw at first looked like they would be fixed by reformatting and reinstalling windows. I had to use nLite to get the sata drivers onto the cd, but when I did, I got several “windows cannot copy file” errors. I tried several different combinations and eventually decided that the only way I could get it to install was to boot up using the nlite cd, run the initial file copy using the windows retail disk, then complete the installation using the nLite disk so that I could use the matching cd key.

Unfortunately, as soon as I tried this, Windows decided that this was a good time to return an error every time I try to format the drive (it wouldn’t install onto the existing partition). I deleted and repartitioned the drive and it won’t cooperate. So now I need to know if my laptop has a bad hard drive or if there is something I can try to determine if anything else is wrong.

Second is that I finally got my desktop pc up and running after letting it sit in a corner with bad memory. I put in some shiny new Corsair memory and the thing picked right up with a life I hadn’t seen in months. I was so pleased that I figured that it would be a good idea to run memtest to make sure that it was totally error free. Apparently good ideas mean instant death because as soon as memtest started test 5, the pc TURNED OFF. The power supply fan turns, but if I push the power button on the pc, it lights the fans for about 1/8 a second and quits. Normally I’d think that this would be a bad power supply or MB, but both of these pieces are only a couple months old and were working without any problem before I ran memtest. In fact, the only thing in the pc that has had more than a couple months of usage is the hard drive. Everything else is in new condition. What the holy hell did memtest do to my computer and is there anything I can do to fix it that won’t involve spending another $100+?

The only way to win is not to play.

Yeah, I’ve been messing with computer hardware all weekend. Not fun (well, maybe a little).

Loosen timings.
Also hate to say it, but sometimes Nlite doesn’t copy the right drivers and you have to reinstall the hard way.
Up voltage (not recommended…)