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Strange graphics problem


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#1 Fishbed

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 08:53 PM

Occasionally - usually very rarely but has happened twice in the last two days - I will have problems where text and icons disappear from the Windows taskbar. For example, if I am using Firefox, the label will vanish from the taskbar, as will the word "start" from the start menu button, the time and most (or all) icons next to it. On the desktop itself, the text for icons loses the shadow that makes them easy to read over the background image. Anything affected usually reappear if I move the mouse over it or select it, but typically vanishes again moments later.
The problem seems to escalate over time - if the computer is left to carry on, desktop icons may vanish entirely or be replaced by a generic (sometimes discoloured) program icon, and an image of the start menu appears at the top of the screen. Folders such as My Documents or My Pictures become unusable, and images opened in Picture and Fax Viewer are replaced with a "Drawing failed" message.
I've never known the problem go away by itself and, fortunately, it has always been fixed by reseting the computer. What I am wondering, though, is whether this may be a symptom of something more sinister. Might something in my PC be about to die? Computers always have little problems, but is this likely to be one to worry about?

(I have noticed that these problems have only ever appeared during hot weather, and since I have moved the computer to a warmer room. Is it possible that these graphical glitches are caused by something as simple as overheating?)

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:48 AM

IMO, overheating is the greatest enemy of any computer system...that's why there are fans in the PSU, coolers for hard drives, heatsink/fan for the CPU, coolers for some video cards, case fans, upper temperature limits for CPU operation, etc.

Computers, like humans, just don't function well when an excessive amount of heat exists on/around components.

I would do my best to eliminate that from the list of possible factors affecting my system.

Cases, How to Avoid Overheating - http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/142

Cleaning the Interior of your PC - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/cleaning-the-inside-of-your-pc/

Computer Cleaning Information - http://www.computerhope.com/cleaning.htm

The worst part about overheating, IMO, is the fact that there are insufficient mechanisms to warn the user that such has occurred...and users often ignore typical signs that may signal such. No error messages are generated reflecting overheating by Windows...probably because the O/S is not capable of detecting any evidence of such until failure occurs in some part of the O/S.

Louis




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