7 Reasons Why Your Laptop Suddenly Shuts off and How to Fix It

At some point or another, everybody who uses a computer has had a problem with their hardware. Nobody wants their laptop to crash unexpectedly, throwing users away from what they were doing only to have to wait for the computer to boot up again. But there are a number of reasons why your laptop shuts down randomly and leave you feeling powerless and frustrated. Find out why and how to fix them!

Shutting down

Why Your Laptop Randomly Shuts off

1. Overheating

There’s so much to marvel at when it comes to laptops. We are all no strangers to the fact that laptops may unexpectedly shut down: I’ve experienced it too. Most laptops have a self-protecting mechanism of shutting down randomly when their parts get too hot due to overheating. Although it may be annoying, think of this mechanism as your digital savior trying to protect your precious laptop.

latpop overheat warning

Run your fingers on the sides and bottom of your laptop to check if the device is overheating. If it is just warm, feel free to skip to the next solution to see what may be randomly shutting down your laptop. Overheating is often a result of dirt obstructing the fan or has clogged up the exhaust vents or grills — which forms part of your laptop’s ventilation system. Since there’s nowhere for the heat can go, your machine boils up. 

It would be best if you also listened keenly to the sound your fan is making for any unusual sound or is malfunctioning. If it’s loud, it may be broken and therefore needs to be replaced.

how to fix overheating laptop
Of course blowing at it won’t help.

Some gadgets are designed to vacuum computers and laptops at these tiny exhaust ports or grills, even the keyboard. Use a compressed air duster to dust off your laptop.

However, if you’re a tech geek, you can take the long road of opening your laptop to clean it up. First, you will need to remove the fan gently by detaching a small connector pin that connects it to the rest of the machine. Then, you can clean it using a cloth, or better still, use the compressed air duster.

Alternatively, you could be running a program that is just too demanding for your device to handle. As a result, your machine will produce heat faster than the fan can get rid of. To avoid this issue, you may consider using laptop cooling pads or update your graphics card driver to cool down your laptop.

2. Hardware Failure

If overheating isn’t the problem, you could have some hardware-related issues, but this is usually rare.

A more straightforward way to check for the hardware issue would be to go to the Device Manager to look at some of the hardware components your laptop uses. That is your RAM, motherboard, drivers, USB controllers, and so much more. The device’s status should read: 

The device is working properly.

If there’s an error, that would be a good starting point for your problem.

Sometimes the failure could be due to physical damage to the hardware components, mainly RAM, motherboard, CPU, or graphics card.

hardware failure issues can be a reason to overheat laptop

If you recently installed any new hardware components, try removing them and see if the issue is resolved. If not, you may consider removing the non-essential hardware like modem, soundcard, or any expansion card that is not essential for your laptop to function properly.

This is, however, a complex problem to solve by yourself; therefore, you should go and have your laptop checked by experienced laptop repairers or by the manufacturer’s service centers.

3. Power-related Issue

However obvious this issue might sound, laptops may randomly shut down when they have no power or a power supply problem. This is especially common with old laptops, or even new laptops – which may shut off abruptly after excessive charging or longer use. It may also happen when you’re playing a game and you or a friend accidentally trip the power cable. 

Why Is My Laptop Not Charging Check your power setup

So, inspect the power cord and ensure it is appropriately connected to the power source. If you have a spare charger, try it out to see if it powers on your laptop. Sometimes it could be the battery being old and unable to hold a charge for a longer time. In this case, you may need to get a new one.

You can find what battery type your laptop has here. If this is not the problem with the abrupt shutdown, then read on for deeper insights.

4. Outdated or Crashing Drivers

Have you recently come across the infamous blue screen of death when using your laptop? 

Your PC ran into a problem

This blue screen of death often forces us to restart our laptops and indicate that the drivers are outdated, faulty, or incompatible with the machine. Note that this can happen to both new or older laptops that have been working perfectly for years. To update drivers, go to your Device manager and update all the drivers.

If the drivers crash, you may experience these random shutdowns. In this case, I’d recommend having your laptop serviced. No doubt, having our laptops regularly serviced significantly affects our laptop’s processing speeds. You can take your laptop to the manufacturer’s service centers or repair shops to have it serviced and cleaned. This will help you avoid issues like overheating and sudden laptop shutdowns.

5. Malware or Virus

There’s a possibility that your laptop may be infected with a virus or malware that is responsible for the random shutdowns you’re facing.

These viruses or malware can be activated when executing specific programs or applications on your system. Try downloading a free anti-virus like Malwarebytes and scan for the problem.

Note: For those using Windows laptops, Windows Defender may not be good enough to solve this issue. You might need to go for third-party software. 

Antivirus for PC and laptop

If you have one already installed, update it, then run a full scan. You can find some of the best free online scanners here.

6. Is your Fast Startup Enabled?

Your laptop may randomly shut down when the Fast Startup option is enabled.

Note: This feature is only found in laptops with Windows OS. Just as the name suggests, this feature is designed to enable your laptop to boot up faster after being shut down. It’s often enabled by default on laptops that are capable of hibernation.

This feature uses hibernation instead of a complete shutdown, and if, for example, you’re installing updates in Windows, they won’t complete before a complete shutdown. Even though it speeds up the boot process, you can see; clearly, it causes several issues on your laptop and even randomly turns it off.

To disable this feature:

  1. Go to the Control panel and select the power option.
  2. Click on Choose what the power buttons do in the left sidebar menu
  3. Uncheck the turn on fast startup box and hit Enter to apply the changes.
  4. Restart your laptop to solve the random shutdowns.
Turn on fast Startup
Turn off fast startup

7. Problems with your Operating System

If none of the above reasons explain why your laptop is randomly shutting down, then you could be having issues with your laptop at the operating system level. You may have tweaked some settings in your operating system, which could be troublesome.

Try entering BIOS Setup Utility using any of the procedures outlined here.

After you’ve launched the BIOS Setup, let your laptop sit idle for a while to see if it turns off automatically. If it doesn’t shut down, then possibly your operating system is corrupt, and you may need to factory reset your laptop and reinstall Microsoft Windows.

An out-of-date BIOS may also cause your laptop to have shutdown problems. First, go to your System Information window and check if you can find the system’s BIOS version. Then have it updated to the current manufacturer’s BIOS version. 

Tip: You can check the manufacturer’s website and download their updated BIOS version. Make sure to download the correct file, then install it on your laptop.

What to do if the Issue Still Persists

This question always pops up in everyone’s mind when trying to find a solution, yet the problem remains. So we honestly hope that one of the reasons we’ve given here applies to you and that the solutions we’ve given works for you.

Reinstalling Microsoft Windows operating system, which we recommended earlier, should fix the issue. However, if your laptop still shuts down randomly, other hardware components may be likely failing or damaged. You can have an expert check the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and even the video cards, which can be replaced entirely, although it is costly. Some laptop companies may also offer services that may help you out with the problem. You can also try visiting repair shops and get the help of an experienced repair technician.

Still, there are several reasons out there that may cause these random unexpected shutdowns on your laptop. Although it is a frustrating experience, we all expect a near-perfect experience or performance with our laptops. So share with us your issue in the comment section below, and we will help you. Hopefully, you’ll all have that reliable performance you require from your machine.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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