Why Do Computers Break?

Why do Computers Break?

We know computers always break at the worst possible time, but what exactly prompts that failure?

It’s easy to think it was something you did since you were using it at the time, but while your online gaming frenzy might cause a temporary crash, normal user actions are rarely the cause of a broken computer.

Here are the common reasons why your computer may break:

Liquid Damage can cause your Computer to break.

Physical Damage

With your computer being an electrical item, liquid spills are a big problem. Anything from a spill on the keyboard, to going overboard with the screen cleaning spray can cause damage. Additionally, laptop users need to be especially careful when choosing their work surface. If you're planning on working in a cafe or on a kitchen table, always check to make sure there aren't any puddles left behind. It's better to be safe than sorry!

Even if you always check the counter and are super careful about where you place your coffee, accidents do happen. Luckily, they don't always mean you need to buy a new computer. If you find yourself experiencing a liquid spill, there are a few immediate steps you should take to avoid further damage. Check out this page for step-by-step instructions.

Additionally, a dropped computer isn’t going to be happy, nor is one that’s been knocked around. Even a light thump of frustration can cause loose cables, disconnections, and internal damage.

A computer could break due to aging parts.


Computer parts have an expected lifetime, especially moving parts like fans or mechanical hard drives. Some computers can run 24/7 for a decade, while others can barely be used but fail within warranty. When age is the issue, there are usually early warning signs, like strange noises or slowing down. The actual ‘break’ will generally happen when you go to turn the computer on, perhaps after a crash. It might make a valiant effort before giving up, or nothing could happen at all. Sometimes lasting age is the luck of the draw with how it was manufactured. Although, quality does play a big part in how long it can keep churning.

Power Surges can cause your computer to break.

Power Surges

We like to think electricity is a constant stream that never varies, but computers are particularly sensitive to both surges (too much electricity) and brownouts (not enough electricity). You might notice the lights dimming or flickering during a brownout, or glowing just a tad too strong during a surge. These variations never last long, and they’re not something you can necessarily control (unless it’s just your house, it’s worth checking with your neighbors), but they can easily break your computer. A surge protector can guard against mild increases in voltage, but brownouts and strong surges can still cause damage.

Overheating can cause your computer to break.


Overheating is a big contributor to premature computer death. Some computer parts run hot and need plenty of cooling to keep them working. You might not feel it from the outside, but internal components can rapidly build up heat that needs to go somewhere. When your airflow vents get blocked with dust or pet hair, the temperature continues to increase until components literally bake themselves to failure. At set temperatures, the computer will automatically switch off to try and cool down. However, the more often this happens and the higher the temps, the more likely your computer is to break.

Hard Drive Failure can cause your computer to break.

Hard Drive Failure

Your data is stored on a hard drive. If you’ve got a mechanical hard drive (most people do), it works a bit like a record player with a spinning ‘platter’ and a needle that reads it. Small bumps, liquid, age, surges and overheating can all trigger hard drive failure. Along with breaking your computer, hard drive failure unfortunately means your data is also lost. While sudden breakage might leave you surprised, take note of any strange noises or repeated crashes and back up your data in advance.

Just like a car, your computer needs to be regularly serviced.

Trust Stan's Tech Garage to evaluate your computer's health. We'll make sure it's running how it should and isn't on track to break. 

Call us at 323-761-2634 or schedule an appointment through our online calendar: https://cal.vocus.io/stgbooking.
We'll provide a free evaluation, figure out what's wrong, and give you an approximate quote to repair it.
Click here to find out what to expect when you work with Stan's Tech Garage.

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