Best Practices After a System Crash

There’s nothing more frustrating than a system crash. It can leave you frozen in place, uncertain about what to do next without causing any more harm. In this blog we’ll look at how to fix a crashed computer, what causes system crashes, and the best practices for keeping your computer healthy. After all, as is often quoted, prevention is better than cure.

What is a system crash?

Also referred to as a system failure or a computer crash, a system crash is when your computer stops working unexpectedly. It can come from an issue with both the operating system or the hardware. This abrupt stop in normal function can sometimes cause you to lose unsaved work, damage files, or require intense restoration of your operating system.

Crashes can look like your screen freezing, audio issues, or the famous “blue screen of death” (BSOD). In terms of hardware failures, blown capacitors and broken sockets can cause a system crash that’s difficult to fix, as it requires the replacing of physical components.

What can cause a computer to crash?

There are lots of things that can cause your computer to crash. Understanding the causes and putting measures in place to prevent them is a great way to avoid annoying system failures. Here are some of the main culprits:

  • Malware and viruses: Another argument for making sure your computer is fully protected, malware and viruses can corrupt system files, making them unstable and prone to crashing.
  • Power failures: Surges, outages, or sudden shutdowns can corrupt data and crash your system. Sometimes power settings can be configured to help avoid this possibility.
  • Bugs: The software kind, not the creepy kind. Bugs in the operating system or using incompatible, buggy third-party software can lead to system crashes. Always check compatibility when installing new software.
  • Hardware issues: From something as simple as overheating to faulty RAM, hardware should be checked regularly for any signs of wear and tear that could lead to a crash.

What to do when your computer crashes

Here’s what to do when faced with a potentially data-threatening computer crash.


After identifying (or at least attempting to identify) the cause of your crash, you should look to restart your computer in recovery mode, also known as safe mode. How to do this will vary based on the make and model of your computer, but it achieves the same goal – booting the system with minimal drivers, in case it’s an issue with the rebooting process that’s causing your computer to crash in the first place. This should hopefully get you to the point where you can identify the cause of the crash without causing any further damage.


Now that you’ve identified the cause of the crash, you need to prevent it from happening again. For cases where the cause of the crash was related to issues with your software or corrupted files, you might need to repair or restart the operating system. There are various repair tools available depending on which system your computer runs on. If the crash was caused by a hardware issue, the affected parts will likely need to be repaired or replaced before you can continue using your computer.


The next goal should be to restore anything that has been lost or damaged from an external backup. You can restore your system from an external harddrive, or an online data storage service such as the cloud – but keep in mind, it’s good practice to scan your backup for any viruses before using it, otherwise you might cause further issues for your operating system. Making backups can help to soften the blow of potentially losing files and data, so it’s important to regularly back up any files that are important to you, either for work or personal use.

Keep your computer healthy

Operating system crash recovery won’t look the same every time – it all depends on the cause. However, no matter what causes the issue, chances are it’s already happened to someone else and there will be a solution available.

The best way to avoid any kind of system crash is by making sure you maintain the overall health of your computer – and this includes keeping it free from malware and viruses. As well as antivirus software, investing in tools that can quietly clean and fix issues while your computer is idle, and optimize your PC for daily use, can make all the difference in preventing crashes from happening. Coupling this with routinely inspecting your hardware for signs of damage is guaranteed to keep your computer running smoothly, minimizing the risk of lost data that comes with a crash.

Of course, it’s not always that easy. Sometimes system crashes catch us by surprise – and when that happens it’s important to have a recovery solution to hand. Our Search and Recover software can restore missing data to a wide variety of devices, including music players, CDs and flash drives, and can even save deleted emails from most major email programs. Whether you need to search in a particular location or scan your entire system for what you’ve lost, Search and Recover can find data even years after deletion.


For more tools to keep your computer running at full speed and with reinforced defenses, see our full range of products.

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What is iolo's Whole Home License?

The Whole Home License® is iolo’s licensing policy that allows you to install and keep your software running on all of your compatible devices within the same home. Previously, users were allowed to install and license their iolo software simultaneously on a maximum of three PCs. Under the Whole Home License, a single activation key allows you to use your iolo software on all of your PCs, other than any PCs you use for business purposes. What you need to know about Whole Home Licensing

  • You, your spouse, and your relatives living within the same household may use the same license on any number of PCs that you own which are not used for business.
  • For full legal terms and conditions, see

To install your iolo product on additional PCs:

  1. On the additional computer, download the latest version of your iolo product. Choose from the list of downloads offered here.
  2. Follow the steps in the installation wizard, and enter the same Activation Key that you used to install on your original computer.

You can view the Activation Key on the original computer from within System Mechanic > red menu bar > key icon > Activation Key.