The PC that I built for H has been ailing for some time, and today, I took a long look at it. The fact that I am writing this post at its keyboard is a good sign.
First off, it’s been powering off randomly. When I first started testing, it would not stay on for more than 30 seconds. The brief time that I could look at the BIOS screen told me overheating was not the problem. Its power supply is relatively new – and if it was dead, there would be no power at all – so I suspected an iffy power switch, especially since there was a distinct click every time the power went off.
Sure enough, substituting the reset switch for the power switch eliminated the problem entirely. I don’t have a spare power switch, but the reset switch is basically the same thing, just on the opposite side of the front panel, so functionally it’s good to go.
Second, Firefox has been crashing randomly and frequently. Updating Firefox did nothing; if anything, the problem got worse. As soon as I hit any other site than the Google front page, Firefox would lock up. Sometimes I would be able to scroll a little, then it would hang hard and require a restart.
Firefox is a pretty stable and well-supported program, so it had to be something unique to this install of Firefox. So I looked at the addons. First, I turned them all off and restarted. Bingo, Firefox didn’t crash. Then I turned them on one at a time until I found the one that triggered the crashes. There is no update for it, but it’s a reasonable tradeoff for a working Firefox.