My Computer Abruptly Shuts Off

Introduction

Turned off PC.
We've gotten used to using our computers daily for the most mundane tasks: checking e-mails, checking the news or the weather, playing games, listening to music or watching movies. Sometimes we may experience our computer to abruptly shut off while performing any of these tasks and it can be frustrating if it's happening repeatedly.

This guide will take you through some troubleshooting steps that may help resolve this issue.

? How does your computer behave when it shuts off?

  1. The computer shows an error on the whole screen
  2. The computer restarts after it shuts off
  3. The computer doesn't restart after it shuts off

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Turned off PC.
We've gotten used to using our computers daily for the most mundane tasks: checking e-mails, checking the news or the weather, playing games, listening to music or watching movies. Sometimes we may experience our computer to abruptly shut off while performing any of these tasks and it can be frustrating if it's happening repeatedly.

This guide will take you through some troubleshooting steps that may help resolve this issue.

Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

  1. Make sure you are using a working power outlet. You can test another electric device, such as a lamp, with the same power outlet. Bypass any power strips for troubleshooting purposes.
    Turned on lamp plugged into power outlet.
  2. Once you made sure the power outlet is working, firmly plug in your device into the working outlet.
    Power cable plugged into power outlet.
  3. If the device has buttons or a remote control, press the power button to turn the device on.
    Power symbol.
To better assist you, please answer this question.
  1. A laptop PC has an external power supply and connects like below:
    • One connector (1) plugs into the computer
    • The other connector (2) plugs into a power socket
    • And sometimes, a third (3) connector plugs into the supply itself
    Laptop PC power supply with annotated connectors.
  2. Examine all cables and connectors for visible damage. If they are damaged, they may need to be replaced.
  3. Make sure all connectors are firmly plugged in.

Computers heat up while they're running and their internal parts need to be cooled down and kept at a certain temperature to perform optimally. If the computer overheats it may result in it shutting down to prevent damage to its components. In worst cases, the components may also melt of get fried if the computer is kept running at a high temperature. To check whether your computer still has working fans, try the following:

  1. Look for any vents your computer may have: in the back, on the side or bottom.
    Vents pointed out on read of desktop PC.
    Vents pointed out on side of laptop.
  2. With the computer turned on, place your hand in front of the vents and feel if there is any air blowing.

    The longer the computer is turned on and the more complex the tasks it needs to perform, the warmer and stronger the air flow should be.

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first as System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

System restore will remove any programs installed and settings made after the selected date.

  1. Select the Start Menu, and type in rstrui. Select rstrui from the list.
    Start menu search for rstrui with Start menu, search field, and search result highlighted.
  2. System Restore will open. Select Next.
    System Restore welcome screen with Next highlighted.
  3. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Select Next afterwards.
    System restore with restore date and Next highlighted.
  4. Confirm your restore point by selecting Finish.
    Confirm restore to restore point with Finish highlighted.
  5. A message warning you that once started, the system restore can't be stopped or undone. Select Yes to proceed.
    Confirm system restore with Yes highlighted.
  6. Your system will take a few moments to ready the system restore.
    Readying system restore.
  7. Your screen will turn blue, and the system restore will begin.
    System Restore in progress

    It can take a long time, over an hour in some cases, for System Restore to complete.

    Do not turn off or power down your computer during a System Restore. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is plugged into power so the battery does not run out during this process.

  8. Your computer will reboot on its own when complete.
  9. After returning to your Desktop, a message letting you the System Restore was successful is displayed. Select Close.
    System Restore complete with Close highlighted.
  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select Update and Security.
    Updates and Security Settings
  3. Select Windows Update on the left, then select Check for updates.
    Update and Security with Windows Update and Check for updates highlighted.
  4. Once the system has finished checking for updates, it will automatically download and install the latest applicable updates.
  5. The system also may prompt you to restart, if it does, please do so at your earliest convenience, otherwise the update process will not complete.

    If you system was already recently updated, chances are that no further updates are available and your Update status will indicate: Your device is up to date.

Performing a Windows 10 Reset keeps your personal files, settings, and apps that came installed on your machine intact. For portable devices: Before proceeding with a Reset, make sure the device is connected to a power outlet to avoid power loss during the reset process.
You will lose any and all customized settings made, as well as any extra programs you've installed since you first got your computer.
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
  2. Select the Settings button on the left side of the start menu.
    Windows 10 Settings
  3. Select Update and Security.
    Windows Settings with Update and Security highlighted.
  4. Select Recovery.
    Update and Security Settings menu with Recovery highlighted.
  5. On the left, under Reset this PC, select Get started.
    Update and Security settings Recovery options Reset this PC section with Get started button highlighted.
  6. Select Keep my files.
    Reset this PC with Keep my files highlighted.
  7. Take note of any apps that will need to be reinstalled, then select Next.
    Reset this PC apps list with Next highlighted.
  8. At this point, the system is ready to be reset. This process may take quite a while, and the system will automatically restart when needed. Select Reset when you're ready to continue.
    Confirm reset with Reset highlighted.
  9. Windows 10 will start the reset process and may reboot several times while running. Follow any on-screen instructions that may require your attention.
    Windows Resetting PC
  10. Once the process is complete, you may use your system again.
Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

Dust buildup inside a computer.
If you had a computer for more then a few months, it is likely to have accumulated some dirt inside and out. Dust, grime, hair and other debris can build up on fans, heatsinks and other parts. Components can also come loose or become unseated over time. All these can affect a computers performance in a negative way.

Using a compressed air duster is the best and most recommended way of cleaning inside a computer.

When blowing compressed air, keep the can upright at all times and never shake it to prevent the liquid refrigerant from leaking onto your electronics. Use short bursts of two or three seconds. When the can gets too cold to hold, set it down for a few minutes until it warms up again.

For a desktop computer

  1. Turn the computer off and unplug its power cable.
  2. Open the computer case and remove the side panel.

    Only perform this if your computer is out of warranty.

  3. Blow compressed air to clean up the inside of the computer. Pay special attention to the fans. Also remove any wires or objects that may be touching the fan blades.

    Using gas duster to clean inside a computer.

  4. Blow some air through the vents as well, from the inside and the outside.
    Using gas duster to clean computer vents.
  5. Locate any fans and peel back their sticker partially to see the bearing. If there is a protective cap underneath, remove that as well. Add one or two drops at most of oil.
    Dropping oil into fan bearing.

    Only use lightweight mechanical oil. Do not use cooking oil or spray lubricant.

  6. Once done, put the side panel back in place, reconnect the power cable and turn the computer on to test it out.

For a laptop or all-in-one computer

  1. Turn the computer off and unplug its power cable.
  2. Locate the air vents or other openings.
  3. Blow compressed air to clean up the vents or other openings.
    Using gas duster to clean laptop vents.
  4. Once done, reconnect the power cable and turn the computer on to test it out.
  1. An All-In-One desktop PC has an external power supply just like a laptop PC has:
    • One connector (1) plugs into the computer
    • The other connector (2) plugs into a power socket
    • And sometimes, a third (3) connector plugs into the supply itself
    All-In-One Desktop PC power supply with annotated connectors.
  2. Examine all cables and connectors for visible damage. If they are damaged, they may need to be replaced.
  3. Make sure all connectors are firmly plugged in.
  1. This type of desktop PC has an internal power supply included in the PC case.
  2. The power cable looks like below. Examine the cable and connectors for visible damage. If you find any damage, the cable may need to be replaced.
    Desktop PC power cable.
  3. Make sure one end of the cable is firmly plugged into a wall outlet.
  4. Make sure the other end is firmly plugged into the power socket on the rear side of the PC case.
    Backside of a desktop PC with power connector highlighted.
  5. Some power supplies have an I/O switch. Ensure this is set to the on position. If the I (1) is pressed in, it means the power supply is turned on. If the O (2) is pressed in, the power supply is turned off.
    Power supply IO switch.
To better assist you, please answer this question.

There are two ways to power up a MacBook:

  • Using the power supply without the extension cord:
    MacBook being connected to power with power supply without extension cord.
    1. Examine the cable and connectors for visible damage. If they are damaged, they may need to be replaced.
    2. Make sure the power supply is firmly plugged into the power socket and power connector into the computer.
  • Using the power supply with the extension cord:
    MacBook being connected to power with power supply with extension cord.
    1. Examine all cables and connectors for visible damage. If they are damaged, they may need to be replaced.
    2. Make sure the power supply is firmly plugged into the power socket, the extension cord into the power supply and power connector into the computer.

  • The power adapter shapes and way of connecting them have stayed the same over the years, however the connector types that plug into the computer have changed somewhat and can be of the following types:
    1. Magnetic T style
    2. Magnetic L style
    3. USB-C style

    Different types of MacBook power connectors.

Computers heat up while they're running and their internal parts need to be cooled down and kept at a certain temperature to perform optimally. If the computer overheats it may result in it shutting down to prevent damage to its components. In worst cases, the components may also melt of get fried if the computer is kept running at a high temperature. To check whether your computer still has working fans, try the following:

  1. Look for any vents your computer may have: in the back, on the side or bottom.
    Vents pointed out on read of desktop PC.
    Vents pointed out on side of laptop.
  2. With the computer turned on, place your hand in front of the vents and feel if there is any air blowing.

    The longer the computer is turned on and the more complex the tasks it needs to perform, the warmer and stronger the air flow should be.

  1. Select the Apple menu, then App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. You will now see the app store pull up. Select Updates.
    If Your Mac is Running 10.14 Mojave or Later App Store side bar with Updates highlighted.
    If Your Mac is Running 10.13 High Sierra or Earlier App store menu bar with Updates highlighted.

Any version of macOS 10.7 (Lion) or older can check for available updates through the Apple Menu and Software Updates.

Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

Dust buildup inside a computer.
If you had a computer for more then a few months, it is likely to have accumulated some dirt inside and out. Dust, grime, hair and other debris can build up on fans, heatsinks and other parts. Components can also come loose or become unseated over time. All these can affect a computers performance in a negative way.

This is a generic method on how to clean the vents for any type of computer. If your computer looks differently than the one represented in the picture below, the steps you need to follow are exactly the same.

Using a compressed air duster is the best and most recommended way of cleaning a computers vents.

When blowing compressed air, keep the can upright at all times and never shake it to prevent the liquid refrigerant from leaking onto your electronics. Use short bursts of two or three seconds. When the can gets too cold to hold, set it down for a few minutes until it warms up again.

  1. Turn the computer off and unplug its power cable.
  2. Locate the air vents or other openings.
  3. Blow compressed air to clean up the vents or other openings.
    Using gas duster to clean laptop vents.
  4. Once done, reconnect the power cable and turn the computer on to test it out.
  1. An iMac is powered up by plugging it in directly into a power socket.
    iMac being connected to power.
  2. Examine the cable and connectors for visible damage. If they are damaged, they may need to be replaced.
  3. Make sure one end is firmly plugged into the back panel of the iMac and the other end into a power socket.
  1. A Mac Pro has an internal power supply included in the case.
  2. The power cable looks like below. Examine the cable and connectors for visible damage. If you find any damage, the cable may need to be replaced.
    Mac Pro power cable.
  3. Make sure one end of the cable is firmly plugged into a wall outlet.
  4. Make sure the other end is firmly plugged into the power socket on the rear side of the case.
    Power socket highlighted on rear side of Mac Pro.

Mac Mini with internal power supply

  1. Some Mac Mini computers have an internal power supply:
    • One connector (1) plugs into the computer
    • The other connector (2) plugs into a power socket
    Mac Mini being plugged into power.
  2. Examine all cables and connectors for visible damage. If they are damaged, they may need to be replaced.
  3. Make sure all connectors are firmly plugged in.

Mac Mini with external power supply

  1. Other Mac Mini computers have an external power supply and plugs in like below:
    • One connector (1) plugs into the computer
    • The other connector (2) plugs into a power socket
    • A third (3) connector plugs into the supply itself
    Mac Mini being connected to power.
  2. Examine all cables and connectors for visible damage. If they are damaged, they may need to be replaced.
  3. Make sure all connectors are firmly plugged in.
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