Why does my computer randomly shut down and then refuse to start for several minutes?

Mira Stoyanov August 14, 2012

I’ve never had this problem before but for the last 2 month my computer has been randomly shutting off all on it’s own. Then when I try to immediately turn it on again it doesn’t work – trying to power on for 2-3 seconds then dies again. If I wait for 5-10 minutes and then try it’s like nothing ever happened (no errors just an unexpected shutdown message on my browser) almost every time it’s happened while I’m using Firefox. Is it a hardware problem(overheating?) or is there something else i should check?

  1. Ashok Sundar
    August 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    A thermal cooling paste to be applied over heat-sink of CPU.

  2. Mira Stoyanov
    August 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Hey thanks everyone, I honestly didn't expect to get so many answers. Saw some PC cooler replacement vids but I might be in over my head cause it doesn't look quite like my computer :| I think I'll just give it to the company I bought it from to at least get a price for how much it'll cost to repair, hopefully I don't have RAM problems as well as someone suggested. I learned so much so thanks again.

    • Dalsan
      August 16, 2012 at 7:06 am

      Absolutely nothing wrong with your choice if you are not comfortable in taking on this task. It can be intimidating, and if you are unsure, best to leave it to the pros as a simple mistake can sometimes lead to bigger problems. I wouldn't think it would cost too much, and won't take then long to complete the job. Just ask about the thermal compound they would use, a slightly better CPU cooler and such to make them know that you at least know what the problem is so they don't try to pull anything on you. Ask if it costs more to check the memory for errors as that might add to the cost.

  3. StefanyBaez
    August 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I had this exact same problem happen to me once. Turned out to be a combination of the RAM and Power Supply. The power supply was dying so energy would just stop getting across to the CPU and it would just shut off and not turn on for a couple of minutes. Changed the power supply and it would turn on right away, but still restart after a couple of minutes...that was the RAM doing it. I switched it with a brand new one and problem solved! Hope this helps.

  4. ha14
    August 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Does shuting happens when you use WIFI for browsing, if no then perhaps is driver problem or conflict with your security tool.

    Remove RAM clesn them and then reinsert, see if this can help you.

  5. Justin Fortin
    August 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    It's probably overheating. Clean it out with some compressed air.

  6. susendeep dutta
    August 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    You cleaned your cabinet's inside but it didn't helped out.So,it's clear sign of overheating and you witnessed it in the temperature of the processor.

    So,if you're comfortable,try applying Artic silver 5 heat paste into the processor.Your computer shuts down because some background process utilizes CPU power to 90% -100% like watching HD videos or running some video converter software.

    The processor does this to prevent any damage to it as well to other components.It's in the best interest to quickly remedy for this heating issue as heat is the enemy of electronic components and it reduces their life drastically.

    For more cooling,you may also like to put up extra 120 mm fans in your cabinet if it allows and replace the processor's stock cooler fan to some good aftermarket cooler like those of Antec,Cooler master.

  7. Dalsan
    August 14, 2012 at 8:42 am

    The probable cause would be overheating, but may also be signs of a failing power supply, just not very likely. Use software like SIW Home Edition http://www.gtopala.com/siw-download.php to check your system temperatures to see if it is high.

    • Mira Stoyanov
      August 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Yep I downloaded a program that does that and I tried the one you suggested as well the stats are kind of confusing. There're many different parts and how do I know it's too high? I looked at the CPU stats(which I guess are most important) and then googled my CPU and it's supposed to be a max. of 70 when mine goes from - 26 to 105 0_0 Whatever TEMPIN0 is it's also around 100 C that would just melt everything if it was true wouldn't it? aaaahhh

      • Dalsan
        August 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm

        There is a built in safety measure to keep things from melting, and your issues are what the symptoms are of these measures. The suggestions that susendeep have you are what you need to do to correct the problem. The wiring on your CPU fan may be loose or not connected properly, but having such high temperatures, replacement of the thermal paste and CPU fan would be highly recommended, especially for a better performing one. There are tutorials you can find on sites like YouTube that can help you as it is not that difficult to do, and would save you quite a bit of money doing it yourself.

  8. Bruce Epper
    August 14, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Check the Event Log messages just prior to the unexpected shutdown. It should give you a clue about what is happening, most likely an overtemp situation for some component in the system. A thorough cleaning may be called for as laptops are notorious for filling up with dust and lint which trap the heat in the unit.

  9. ferdinan Sitohang
    August 14, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Try to clean your PC from the dust, unplug all and then plug it again. If it is just the same, try to reinstall your computer. See if it will help

  10. Pk Apratwad
    August 14, 2012 at 5:51 am

    its a problem of ur power supply check it and repair it

    • Mira Stoyanov
      August 14, 2012 at 6:36 am

      Could be, I actually have a dozen things plugged into the same electrical outlet think that might've contributed? Anyway, thank you for your help :)

      • Dalsan
        August 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        The power supply is actually the part you plug the cord into on the computer that supplies the proper power and cords to the various parts on your motherboard and accessories like the DVD drive and hard drive. A failing power supply (PSU) could give you similar symptoms and issues. Don't worry about not understanding some of the language and terminology used here on MUO as sometimes we forget that we don't always talk to those that understand what we are saying. Feel free to ask any question you may have so we can help you understand better. We like to help as much as possible, and believe that if you can do for yourself and save money doing it, the better.

  11. Burhan Ahmed
    August 14, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Your gpu is overheating. If your pc is under warranty. Get it fixed. Otherwise order a good quality thermal paste from ebay. There are tons of videos available on how to o disassemble different kinds of laptops. You have to clean your old thermal compound to apply the new one. This should fix your computer. It is the most common issue on computers with graphics chips these days

    • Mira Stoyanov
      August 14, 2012 at 6:32 am

      Actually it's a PC which I guess I didn't make clear in the description but yeah that's why it's weird it's happening - I clean it from dust every few months and all but that's about as comfortable as I get with making hardware "repairs". I'll definitely check out some videos on overheating gpu see if it's not too complex for me. Thanks so much for your help

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