Why does my Windows computer spontaneously reboot?

Fred Broder January 14, 2011

My wife has a problem where she’ll be on her computer and it will suddenly reboot itself. Sometimes she can’t get it to boot back up until she takes off the side panel and jiggles the RAM sticks. Any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks for your help.
Fred Broder

  1. Anonymous
    January 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    It may be related to any one or more of the following:

    •a corrupt file on the hard drive. Dying HD?
    •a corrupt Windows system file
    •a corrupt or incompatible hardware driver. A bad HD can definitely cause system problems and BSOD's
    •a newly installed program, antivirus. Some reported problems with AVG. So uninstall and check?
    •a Spyware or virus infection. Reboot to safe mode and scan with clamwin
    •a hardware error [bad ram, video card, etc]

    some says its the fault of tdx.sys, issue with my network adapter driver (example Broadcom NetLink Gigabit Ethernet).when 'TDX.SYS' causes a BSOD it is usually the result of a driver(s) (and some antivirus apps) that aren't fully compatible with Windows 7. You should run WinDBG and find out what driver is causing the error. It's not as hard as you think! So download new drivers.

    For a corrupt or incompatible hardware driver: Spontaneous reboots are more often than not a result of a bad video driver (or bad RAM). Try to instal a new video drive. For RAM try to make a memory test http://www.memtest.org/ or buy a new one.
    Your PC spontanously rebooting because it has crashed and a default setting in Windows is telling Windows to reboot when it crashes. So, first stop it from rebooting so that we can see any error messages:

    1. "Start > Settings > Control Panel > System" to Display System Properties
    2. Choose Hardware tab
    3. From the Startup and Recovery section (It's under "advanced".), choose Settings
    4. Under System Failure, de-select "automatic restart"
    5. Verify that "write an event to the system log" is selected
    6. Choose OK to close each dialog

    The computer will halt with an error message (rather than spontaneously rebooting) and a message will be written to Event Viewer.

    Once you have the message, you can research the message on the internet to see exactly what is happening.

    You can see a history of events (crashes, etc..) in Event Viewer: Start > Programs > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer

    One thing you could try is to run in a "clean boot" environment for a period of time - follow Step 1 to clean boot:
    Try that for a period of time and see if there is any improvement.

    Also check here:

    Start > Control Panel > System and Security > System > Performance Information and Tools > Advanced tools

    In the Advanced tools, under "Performance issues" are there any link(s) that may be related to issue you are having?

    If so, can you click these links for more info.

    Also, under "Performance issues" click "View performance details in the Event log"

    Click through some of the warnings and errors and see if any third party driver is causing an issue.

    Also, under "Performance issues" you can click "Generate a system health report" and see if it reoprts anything related.

    About adjusting the voltages up you can try this Prime95 on Windows, play with the modes and see for instance Then I adjusted the settings up to Turbo Mode.

    your problem can be your cpu is overheating. you need to fix that fan or buy a replacement fan your cpu generates alot of heat, so when it gets to hot, you computer uses the fan to cool it down, because your fan is not working, your cpu has nothing to cool it down and just continues to get hot. so your computer restarts or shuts down to protect your cpu from overheating and shmelting and burning your computer.

    January 15, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Make sure to keep your computer off the floor, specially if it is carpet. Open your tower and use a can of compressed air to clean the fans and the your cooler. When cleaning the fans, make sure that you put something in between the blades so that the bearings of your fans do not get damaged. Also make sure to clean the dust from your power supply unit. Do not be jiggling the ram. Make sure that you set the ram sticks the proper way and that they are set right and do not touch them anymore. Hope that helps.

  3. Tina
    January 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm


    are you sure jiggling the RAM sticks helps? That description gives me the shivers! Please don't do that to your hardware!

    A spontaneous reboot usually is caused by one of two things:
    Either the computer is overheating or there is malware at work.

    Since taking off the sideboard appears to have an effect, I would guess the computer is just overheating. However, do not conclude that taking off the sideboard is a permanent fix!!! Optimal airflow inside the computer and hence cooling is only achieved when the sideboard is in place. If the cooling is blocked due to dust, removing the sideboard may provide temporary relief, but it is not a fix!

    I recently wrote an article on How To Fix An Overheating Laptop. Now you're dealing with a desktop PC, so the fixes are different, but similar. They are actually easier because it's easier to access the fans etc.

    First of all, make sure overheating is the cause. Does the reboot happen when your wife does CPU intensive things on the computer, e.g. when she has a lot or programs open or when she does image editing (e.g. Photoshop) or when she plays graphic intensive games?

    If that is a possibility, install a program that will monitor your computer's health: 3 Laptop Computer Temperature Monitor Apps That Could Save Your Hard Drive and How To Use SpeedFan to Remotely Monitor Computer Health.

    These tools should shed a light on whether your CPU is getting too hot and causes the computer to reboot.

    Now what you can do right now, is apply the hardware fixes described in my article about How To Fix An Overheating Laptop. Turn off the computer, take it off the power strip, find the button to switch it off, and ground yourself (see article). Then use your vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the power adapter and all fans you find in your computer. Be gentle!!! Yet try to remove all dust possible.

    You can also check whether the RAM sticks are properly mounted. Also check whether there are any loose cables, e.g. from the motherboard to the hard drive or CD/DVD drive etc. Just make sure everything is where it should be and is properly connected. Do not apply force. Be gentle!

    Then re-connect power, turn on the computer and see whether the temperatures have improved.

    Let us know whether this solved your issue or whether you require further assistance.

    • Grey
      September 25, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Absolutely, 100% wrong. Desktop PCs almost never spontaneously reboot for any of the reasons given. They reboot due to defective motherboards or defective memory modules, and sometimes defective power supplies. Intel and AMD CPUs pretty much never fail unless they've been excessively overclocked.

    • Oron J
      September 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Both overheating and malware *can* cause a computer to reboot, but it doesn't sound like the case here. The "jiggling the RAM sticks" seems to be important since you state that the computer will not start again without it, so I'd suggest faulty contacts are the issue. The faulty contacts can be on the motherboard (RAM sockets), on the modules, or even a hairline crack on either.
      The first thing to do is use known good memory if you can source any, swap it in and see if it makes a difference. If you can't get hold of any, try removing one the half of the RAM modules, and try again. You can try the modules in the same position and in the empty sockets and see what happens. You can then try the other modules in the same way. You should be able to build a picture of which slot or RAM module is causing the problem.
      There are plenty of possible causes for such crashes. In my experience, the most common one is a faulty power supply. Poorly cooled CPU is another (e.g. when the thermal paste dries out), bad drivers, faulty components (pretty much anything on the motherboard or in an expansion slot) etc, but as mentioned above, the fact that the PCwon't start up without reseating the modules points in one direction.