I'm running Windows 7 on an HP pavilion dv4-2045dx. My hard drive is partitioned and I am dual-booting with Linux Mint in the other partition. Both operating systems were working fine for over a year until a few months ago.
A few months ago I started getting blue screens in Windows 7 with increasing frequency.
Now, in Windows 7 I am getting frequent blue screens, usually within 5 or 10 minutes of startup, to the point where I can't even use the computer. I also sometimes just will get a hard freeze during, or after startup. Sometimes, the computer doesn't even turn on at all, and my num-lock and caps-lock lights flash 4-times in a repeated pattern with a black screen. According to the HP website this indicates a problem with the graphics card, but it only happens intermittently. Sometimes, after booting up, I will get a Windows 7 message that says the graphics driver has crashed, but has recovered. Typically, I will get a blue screen or a hard lockup within 10 minutes of this message.
In Linux Mint, I will often get a hard freeze within 10 minutes of startup, or it will stall during the boot process.
Since I am having similar problems in both operating systems, I am wondering if this is definitely a hardware issue or if there are viruses/rootkits/etc. that could infect both OS simultaneously.
I am running AVG in Windows 7 and it is up to date. A couple months ago, something happened where it had stopped updating, even though I had not asked it to stop getting updates. I had to fiddle with it to get it updating again.
My wife also has an HP pavilion laptop with similar specs (but is not partitioned or dual booting), and has never had blue screens in 4 years of owning it until it happened once yesterday. This was shortly after I used a portable hard drive to access some of my backed up files on her computer. This behavior makes me wonder if it could be a virus that spread from my computer to hers. Her computer is working fine at the moment.
Any help diagnosing the problem would be greatly appreciated!