Why Your Computer Shuts Down Without Warning, And What to Do About It


Have you ever been in the middle of doing something on your computer, and it just shuts down without warning? This problem can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it. This article will discuss some of the most common reasons why your computer might be shutting down unexpectedly. We will also provide some tips on how to fix the problem.


If your computer is getting too hot, it will automatically shut down to prevent damage. Some computer motherboards have circuitry that allows you to see the current temperature of the system, or you can use a third-party utility like CoreTemp for Windows or TG Pro for macOS.

If the utility warns you that your CPU temperature is too high, make sure that nothing is blocking the vents on your computer and that the fan is running correctly. You can also use a cooling pad to help keep your laptop cool. Finally, check out our article about program crashes for a section on cleaning dust and dirt buildup inside your computer.

Low battery or battery charging problems

If you are using a laptop, it is possible that the battery is very low and causing the computer to shut down. Connect your laptop to a power source and see if this solves the problem. Check the charging indicator in Windows or macOS to ensure that battery is charging to 100%. If the battery is not charging correctly, make sure that the battery is properly seated in the computer. Try cleaning the battery contacts with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Check your charger for any signs of damage, and if it has an indicator light to show operation, make sure that light is glowing. If possible, try a different charger if you have a spare. If none of these solutions work, you may need to replace the battery.

Software issues

Sometimes, software glitches can cause your computer to shut down unexpectedly. Try restarting your computer and see if the problem repeats with a particular program or under certain conditions. You may need to update/reinstall the software or contact the developer for support if it does.

Sleep mode settings

If your computer is going into sleep mode or hibernation unexpectedly, it may be due to your power settings. Check the power settings in Windows or macOS and make sure that sleep mode is set to a time that you are comfortable with. If you still have problems, try changing the setting to “Never” to see if this solves the problem.

Problematic OS

If you are using an older version of Windows or macOS or have not run a system update in a while, this can cause all sorts of problems, including unexpected shutdowns. Update your computer to the latest version of your OS to see if this fixes the problem.

UPS or surge protector failure

If you are using a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) or surge protector, it is possible that it has failed and is causing your computer to shut down. Try plugging your computer directly into a wall outlet and see if the problem persists. You will need to replace the UPS or surge protector if it does.

Power supply failure

If your computer is shutting down frequently, the internal power supply may not be providing consistent power to the computer. If you cannot turn the computer back on, the power supply may be completely dead. Many desktop computer cases have an indicator light on the back, where the power cord is connected, to show if the power supply is energized. This light usually glows even when the computer is off. If it’s not, check for a loose connection and make sure its plugged into a working outlet. If you suspect that the power supply is the problem, you will need to replace it.

Hardware issues or loose internal parts

Hardware problems with internal components can cause your computer to shut down unexpectedly. These kinds of issues can be challenging to diagnose. Check out our article on computer crashes for some tools to scan your computer hard disk and RAM for any signs of failure. 

Internal parts like RAM or expansion cards that are not seated correctly or have dirty contacts can also cause shutdowns and crashes. If you feel comfortable doing it, you can open the case of your powered down and unplugged computer and check that all components are seated securely. If you recently added new internal or external hardware to your computer, and that is when the crashes started, try removing that item and see if the issue resolves.

If your computer is shutting down due to hardware problems, you will likely need to get the help of a professional. Take your computer to a repair shop and have them diagnose the problem.

Out-of-date BIOS

If your computer is shutting down unexpectedly, the BIOS (basic input/output system) may be out-of-date. Check with the manufacturer of your computer or motherboard to see if any updates are available. Updating the BIOS can be a delicate operation, so if you are not confident in doing it yourself, take your computer to a repair shop and have them do it for you.

Malware/virus infection

One of the most common reasons for a computer to shut down without warning is a malware infection. Malware can cause problems on your computer, including making it shut down unexpectedly. If you suspect that your computer has been infected with malware, you should scan it with an antivirus program and remove any malicious files. Many good free programs are available, such as Avast, AVG, and Malwarebytes.


These are just a few of the most common reasons your computer might be shutting down without warning. If you are still having trouble, you may need to contact a professional for help. In the meantime, we hope that this article has helped troubleshoot the problem.

Happy Computing!

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