I’ve been having problems with my PC for a while now, where my machine has been freezing up every now and again. It’s been a pain in the arse on and off, so I was somewhat dismayed when it froze on me three times in five minutes. Unfortunately,when this happens there’s a good chance that the on/off switch will not work, the reset button causes the hard-drive to cycle but then nothing happens. I often have to turn it off at the wall to reboot. I’d fixed this before by rocking the fan on top of my processor and this seems to pacify the God of Athlon because I can then use my PC for days, even weeks, without it falling over. This time I thought I’d get a bit more invasive with my processor caressing activity, so I took my PC to bits. In order to get anywhere near the processor I had to remove both sides of the case. I still couldn’t see what I was doing so I removed the lid as well. It turned out that it was somewhat fiddly removing the CPU fan, so I took out the PSU too so that I could get my hands in. I removed the fan and heatsink, then levered out the processor, blew on it (top techie trick that is, fixes almost anything) and replaced it, before putting and fastening the fan and heatsink down. I reassembled my PC, and of course, as I’m an engineer, I had two screws left over. I had absolutely no idea where they were supposed to go, but I wasn’t overly concerned. The PC booted up fine and I’ve been surfing now for about 45 minutes without any sign of it falling over. The trick to being a good engineer is that when you take something to bits you must always have some spare parts left when you put it back together again. This is actually good working practice and good time efficiency, as it took less time to reassemble and will also mean that it’ll take less time to take to bits again when it dies the next time. I’ll be buying a new processor I think. My Athlon XP2200+ is fast enough normally but I’m suspecting that it’s causing me some issues with half Life 2, plus I also need to upgrade my nVidia Geforce 4 MX440 graphics card if I want to get any decent graphical performance out of it. I’ll be sticking with these parts, freezes and all, until I can afford it though.