To add to Ken's instructions, let me add some specific hardware tests.
Download a copy of Memtest86
and burn the ISO to a CD using Iso Recorder
or another ISO burning program. Boot from the CD, and leave it running for at least 5 or 6 passes.
For hard drive: http://www.carrona.org/hddiag.html
Try this free stress test: Free Software - GIMPS
- extract the contents of the zip file to a location of your choice
- double click on the executable file
- select "Just stress testing"
- select the "Blend" test. If you've already run MemTest overnight you may want to run the "Small FFTs" test instead.
- "Number of torture test threads to run" should equal the number of CPU's times 2 (if you're using hyperthreading).
The easiest way to figure this out is to go to Task Manager...Performance tab - and see the number of boxes under CPU Usage History
Then run the test for 6 to 24 hours - or until you get errors (whichever comes first).
The Test selection box and the stress.txt file describes what components that the program stresses.