Clean the machine. Watch http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-11319_7-6240575-1.html
Your biggest clue is that Linux also has issues. This is why I'll take the hardware path.
Recently my computer has started to crash whenever i attempt to open any application, firefox, Microsoft internet explorer, or my anti-virus COMODO are a couple. Sometimes the application will just close and i'll get an error message and other times my computer will all together restart.
I wrote down a few of the errors i've been getting. i got a window saying "Dwwin.exe application error" when i tryed to use firefox, and when i tried internet explorer i got "the application failed to initialize properly (Oxc0000005). click OK to terminate".
I keep trying to open up my virus scanner to update it, the updater gets to 30% and just stops and sometimes after awhile the computer will restart. Im running windows XP right now and the only thing that I've done recently that is out of the ordinary is make a Linux ubuntu CD to test it out. I never installed it on my computer though.
After the problem started i tried booting up to the Linux CD to see if i could run firefox and other applications, but when ubuntu gets to its first loading screen it will sit there for hours and then either freeze or my computer will go to a black screen and start spitting out error messages.
I'm writing this from another computer in my house so i dont have all of the specs for the computer that is having problems. I know this message is pretty vague but im hoping someone here has an idea of what could be wrong. I'm assuming a piece of hardware has broken or is out of order, obviously im not an expert though.
Just a note - if i dont try to open any type of application and just let the computer sit at the desktop it doesn't seem to crash. Also, sometimes when i open firefox/ internet explorer i can use them for a minute or two before they begin to shutdown.
- just got a new error message. "taskmgr. exe application error - the instruction at "0x7472f32a" referanced memory at "0x00002008". the memory could not be "read" click OK to terminate the program."
i just looked online on the symptoms of bad memory, it seems like this could be the problem.