The dreaded computer shutdown issue. This can be a pain in you know what!
There you are, working on your computer, and all of a sudden…lights out, your computer goes dead. No signs, no warning, just a black screen with nothing else on it. Your first response is “what the… happened?”.
Fill in the blanks with your imagination. I’m sure your use of language was a bit more colorful.
But why does your computer keeps shutting down on its own? That’s what we’re going to help uncover in this article.
Computers can be a little mysterious when you don’t fully understand what makes them tick. So let’s get some understanding as to what could be causing that dreaded computer of yours to randomly shut down.
Possible Viruses or Outdated Software
Let’s start with outdated software.
Outdated software could be the culprit if it’s not being updated regularly. The reason software programs require regular updates and security patches is, so they can stay up-to-date and be compliant with other new software and technology.
In case you’re not aware, patches that come with updates are used to figuratively patch the vulnerable holes an outdated software may have. Making it susceptible to possible virus infections which can cause other problems.
This is to ensure that software stays safe and operable.
The software that can be affected the most is your computer’s OS (Operating System), such as Mac OS, or Windows OS. Since I work mostly with Windows-based computers, I’ll talk more about Windows.
The reason it’s imperative that Microsoft keeps pushing updates to your computer (although it can be annoying at times) is so it can keep your computer protected from viruses and malware, which I eluded to earlier.
Viruses and other malware are being created on a daily basis by the masses. Over 500,000 malware are detected each day!
So, always ensure that all your software is updated regularly to avoid any potential malware-related issues.
Now let’s talk about those nasty viruses.
Viruses can do all sorts of damage to your computer system. It can definitely cause your computer to shut down randomly if it infects your Operating System’s system files, such as the registry. The registry of the Windows OS for example is responsible for how your OS operates.
Should any of those files gets tampered with by a virus, your entire computer will be compromised.
The best defense against viruses and other malware for that matter is installing third-party antivirus protection, such as Norton, McAfee, or Bit Defender. Malwarebytes is also another good choice for added security. They have been doing a great job in recent years to protect computers against viruses and other malware programs in real time.
Failing Hardware Components
This one involves a little more internal diagnostics. Meaning, you need to open up the computer to see what’s going on inside. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, ask a professional tech to assist you with this.
This can be quite an involved process to diagnose and fix. Consider this phase as performing surgery on your beloved computer.
Here are some internal components that could be contributing to your shutting down at random, and how to go about remedying them.
The CPU or Central Processing Unit is the main engine of every computer. If this major component is not functioning properly then your machine won’t either.
One of the main reasons why your CPU could malfunction is that it’s overheating. When a CPU is overheating, that usually means it’s not getting enough ventilation to keep it cool. The first place to look here is the CPU fan. If the CPU fan is not working, then either the fan itself is faulty or the computer’s motherboard may be bad.
Try disconnecting and reconnecting the power going to the CPU fan, and see if that works. If you’re still having the issue, then replace the fan with a new one. Nine times out of 10, that usually will solve an overheating CPU issue.
If replacing the fan doesn’t solve your issue, then the CPU itself could be bad, or again, the motherboard it’s connected to is bad. Replacing either one would be considered a major replacement. So before you undertake such a major replacement, consult with the manufacturer of the computer you’re using.
If it’s a major brand like Dell, Hp, Lenovo, etc., reach out to them first to check if that system is under warranty. Big-name computer makers usually have proprietary parts that can only be replaced by them. Oftentimes, they also cover them with several years of warranty to replace them for free.
If you have a custom-built computer, then you should be able to replace those parts with other universal parts.
Bad RAM can lead to sudden shutdowns, strange errors, and slow performance.
If your computer keeps shutting down without any warning, it might be time to check whether the RAM is working properly or not. There are some ways to easily test to see if you have faulty RAM installed.
There are several third-party memory testing software that you can use to run a test on your RAM. To pull this off, you don’t need to be all that tech-savvy. Another effective way to test is to physically remove all RAM sticks that are installed and install one at a time, and power on the computer after each one is installed, and see if that solves your shutdown issue.
The motherboard is the main board that connects all the internal components of your PC together. So if this major component fails or gives issues, then this will definitely contribute to your computer keep shutting down. But that’s the least of your troubles.
A failing motherboard ultimately means a new computer.
But I will give you some troubleshooting tips if you suspect that the motherboard might be causing the issue
Try the following to help remedy a problematic motherboard:
- Disconnect all components connected to the motherboard, except the power supply unit, and the cables connected to the power button. All the other components, such as the CPU, RAM, video and sound cards not integrated, hard drives, and other media drives, should all be disconnected.
- Remove also the CMOS battery as well.
- Disconnect the power from the outlet, but leave the power supply unit still connected.
- At this point, the only thing that should be connected to the motherboard is the power supply connector and power button connectors.
- Press and hold down the power button of the computer for about 5 seconds to deplete all the stored power that may still be going to the motherboard.
- Connect each component back onto the motherboard one at a time, and test after each one is connected by turning on the computer. Make sure the computer is plugged back into an outlet.
The first set of components that you would want to install at first are the CMOS battery, the RAM, and the CPU. Otherwise, you’re going to get a lot of beeps from the motherboard.
If the computer stops shutting down after this particular troubleshooting, then that reset may have solved your issue. If you’re still having the issue, however, then it’s time to either replace your motherboard or get a new computer altogether.
But like I said in the section above, contact the manufacturer first if you have a branded computer, as those components may be more proprietary.
Power Supply Issues
This could be an obvious one but often overlooked.
A bad power supply.
The main indicator of a faulty power supply is loud noises. A bad power supply tends to make a lot of grinding-like noises when the computer is powered on.
If your computer keeps shutting down at random times, this is probably one of the first places to look to troubleshoot. With power supply units, it’s best to replace them when they’re faulty than trying to repair them.
Unless you’re a licensed and trained electrician, don’t try and open a power supply when troubleshooting one. You may end up doing damage to yourself more than anything. They can retain their charge for a while, long after they have been unplugged.
So you could possibly electrocute yourself, and that wouldn’t be a good day for you. Take my advice, and just replace the unit if you suspect it’s bad. A standard power supply unit costs between $60 and $150. You can purchase a power supply from Amazon at a very affordable price.
In closing, if your computer keeps shutting down randomly, hopefully, some of the tips suggested here were found to be helpful.
We mentioned taking a look at outdated software like your computer’s Operating System, and being susceptible to a virus infection. Failing hardware components such as the CPU, the RAM, and the motherboard could also be playing a major in this issue.
And of the main components that should be one of the first places for you to check is the power supply unit. This is the until that controls the power that goes to your computer, so be sure to check if the component is not faulty.
As a final bonus, ensure that you replace the power cord and the power strip that it may be connected to.