There are a few simple things that non-computery people can check.
(don't open the case or touch the inside of the computer with it turned on or plugged in)
1) determine if the ventilation fans are turning when the computer is on. You should be able to hear them 2) check for dust blocking or clogging the vent on the back of the computer where the power supply fan is. you can buy a can of compressed air at any office supply store to gently blow dust out of the case (If you blow it on the fans, very gently hold the fan blades in place while blowing the dust away, because forcing the fan to spin may damage the bearings) 3) Make sure your computer is somewhere open with plenty of room for air circulation around the case. 4) If you have pets, pet hair can collect on and around the various fans preventing them from cooling the computer properly. 5) It's probably better not to have your computer on on near the floor where more dust and dirt tend to gather 6) If your computer case feels very warm, that might indicate a heat problem. 7) don't run more than one program at a time if you are experiencing crashes or lock ups.
smaller files and fewer layers may help reduce the strain on your computer.
Haha... well, I'm bright enough to know not to open/touch the inside while plugged in.
1. Yep, the fans are turning, though they were dusty. I took some canned air and cleaned the inside out very well. 3. Yep, it has lots of "elbow" room! 7. That was the biggest problem. Since it isn't connected to the internet, and all files are scanned before going on my flash drive, I disabled my anti-virus from starting up, as well as any program that I don't use. There weren't many programs to disable since nothing much is installed on there, but it was a HUGE help! I got HOURS of drawing time each day this week!
Fewer layers... time for a new computer! I have so many layers on my art.
It sounds like a hardware problem. Go take your computer in and have a computer-savvy person check it out. Since you don't know much about computers, your guesses are going to be kinda random and that's no way to get anything solved.
"He said it needed a new hard-drive and he put one in. It worked fine for a couple of months, but now it is crashing again. "
Well, yeah. This is like saying "I had a bike, it got a flat tire, a friend helped me change the tire and now a few months later my bike is having problems again." Nothing says that replacing one component is going to make your machine work forever. Stuff breaks. It might even be the new hard drive, new components can be wonky too. Go take it in and get it fixed. You can do some diagnostics yourself but it's a giant pain in the butt for someone not used to dealing with hardware.
I never said I was going to fix it myself, but just wanting suggestions in case there might be an easier solution I was overlooking. And yeah, of course replacing one part of the computer isn't going to be a magic fix. I was just stating that I had a new hard-drive put in so maybe others would think that might not be the most likely problem...
I disabled some programs from starting up when my computer boots up or running in the background. Since it isn't connected to the internet, and all files are scanned before going onto my flash drive, I disabled my anti-virus. Now it's running much better and I can paint for hours without it acting up.
Still... it's time for a new computer. Well, new to me. I'll buy a used one that has plenty of life left, but it's previous owner got a new one or something.
It could be either overheating (PS CS4 sounds a bit too much for a Pentium 4) due to a poor ventilation or data corruption due to faulty memory. Since you had hard disk problems, the problem could be realted to one of the ram sticks, if one's damaged it could corrupt data on the HDD slowly and cause errors, hangs or even a BSOD as you describe. To check if the RAM sticks are working properly you can use Memtest86: [link] As for the overheating, just use other programs or games to stress the computer then use Speccy to read the temp. sensors: [link]
Acctually, I've been running PS CS6 on a computer with similar specification and it was running pretty smooth if the operations were not too complicated. I'd rather say it's an overheating-or-similar type of problem, since the PC I used at the time was pretty well-maintained.