Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Sometimes it's easy to feel almost cursed if computer after computer you deal with has problems. It's often not you at all, but rather the environment.
Being absolutely serious here, do you know if certain people have something (possibly just static) in or around them that can cause computers to crash? I used to joke that I was so "electromagnetic" that I caused computers to crash. Not so funny actually, because I have had several new computers each crash in turn. This happened as early as two days new, to 6 months new. I've had a motherboard die, a monitor die, a notebook that had a fatal crash and never turned on again and another notebook that had critical errors causing running problems 36 days in use. Most recently, my beloved HP pavilion's hard drive went bad after only 4 months!
As I wait for a new hard drive to be shipped, I am very discouraged. I do not believe it's computer error causing these problems. I keep everything up to date, virus protection, anti spyware, firewall running, router has a WEP, and I planned to change it to WPA as I heard that was safer. Have you ever heard of anyone else with such bad luck? All of this happened within the last 1-2 years. I can't afford to have another one die.
Wow. You certainly have had a string of bad luck, to be sure.
I know there are days I feel positively cursed; days when it feels like everything I touch turns to garbage. But, thankfully, those tend to pass.
While I'm not aware of anything biological related to you, there are some things I would look into...
My gut reaction when reading your tale of woe was to wonder about the condition of the electricity, and the electrical wiring in your home.
We all tend to take electricity somewhat for granted - we assume that it's either on or off. The fact is it often not that simple.
The two most common issues with electricity are:
Low or High voltage - either can cause your computer's power supply to work overtime attempting to regulate the power that it needs to provide to your computer's components. Eventually the power supply itself my fail, but that can sometimes be a slow decline, rather than a sudden failure. Along the way, other components within your computer can be damaged.
Power spikes or dips - ever notice the lights dim when your air conditioner or refrigerator turns on? That's a power dip, and your computer might notice as well. More dangerous is a power spike or surge, which can send spikes of suddenly high voltage through the wires. Depending on the quality of your power supply, your computer's circuitry or the power supply itself can become damaged.
In most cases people recommend a surge protector, which protects against those power spikes. In fact you may already have one, as many power strips that we've all come to use to turn a single outlet into 5 already double as surge protectors. (Though many do not, so be sure to check.)
The problem is that if your location power regularly suffers from spikes and dips and other anomalies - often called "dirty power" - a surge protector isn't going to help. You'll need to upgrade to a more expensive line conditioner, or, as I've done in at least one place, install an uninterruptible power supply or UPS. Both product clean power, regardless of what comes in - and in the UPS's case, that includes nothing coming in at all, for as long as the batteries last.
The problem with this solution is that neither is particularly cheap.
Another common issue, particularly in older homes, is a lack of a good ground. That third prong in North American electrical plugs is intended to be connected to ground - quite literally an electrical connection to the ground. It wasn't always required, and many older homes don't have the wiring for it - as a result it's often connected to nothing - either at the plug, by an adapter, or by people literally chopping off that third prong. That can lead to, or amplify, some of the power problems we've discussed already.
If you live in a lightning-prone area, fuses on your phone line, and power conditioners or UPSs become even more important. Nearby lightning strikes can frequently cause power spikes and temporary outages.
All this is compounded with the fact that I'm simply guessing - problems that tend to cluster around a single location sound like they might be a power related issue, but I could easily be wrong. The only way to be sure, of course, is to have a qualified electrician check it out. Sadly, also not inexpensive.
The fact that you've had problems with your laptops could even be taken as a counter example. By its very nature, laptops are always running on a type of UPS - their internal battery. However, depending on what else your laptop is physically connected to, issues with power, particularly ground, can also manifest through those other connections as well.
As I look at other things that could be common to all your computers - besides you, that is - the environment comes to mind. If you're in a particularly dusty, dirty or smoky environment your computer's components could suffer premature problems. If you suspect this as an issue, you might pop the cover on one of the desktop machines and see just how dirty it is inside. Excessive, or quickly accumulating dirt (or in my case, pet hair :-), could lead you to simply cleaning the machines periodically, or moving them to a cleaner environment.
Heat is another factor that could lead to issues. If your machines are in a consistently warm environment, say over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then they could be overheating. Air conditioning, or at least more air movement, could be called for.
Another item that comes to mind is static electricity. If you live in a dry climate, static can often be a problem. If you "spark" when touch metal objects in your home, that could be an issue. If that happens with your computer, it's like a mini power-spike, depending on when, where and how strong it is. Again, this is where household ground is important: your computer must be well grounded, and you should discharge any built up static by touching something also grounded before you touch your computer.
And it probably goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway - physical abuse could also cause all of these problems. I've known people with a short fuse who regularly slap, hit or otherwise physically abuse their computers when something's not working perfectly. Needless to say, those computers didn't last long.
But all in all, those are the directions I'd be looking into. I'm certain that there are "electric" personalities out there, but the real issue is probably much more mundane.
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