Why is my laptop shutting off when I unplug it? (And Other Problems)

If you are experiencing problems with your laptop shutting down, here are some helpful tips on what to do. Your shutdown could be caused by overheating or a faulty power cord. It is also possible that your computer’s BIOS needs to be updated or the cooling fan in need of repair.

How do I keep my laptop from turning off when I unplug it?

If your laptop is turning off when you unplug it then there is a fault with the power plug, your power adapter, or your laptop battery. Your laptop should be plugged directly into an outlet, not through an extension cord or surge protector.

What if my laptop turns off when it is unplugged and I know that there is no problem with the power cord?

If this is the case then you probably have a faulty laptop battery or laptop charger/power adapter.

Why does my laptop only work when the charger is plugged in?

This is normally due to a flat battery. The reason your battery is not charging could be for one of the following reasons:

  • faulty battery
  • faulty laptop charger
  • faulty power cord
  • bad charging circuitry on your laptop’s motherboard.

Why is my laptop just shutting off?

If your laptop is randomly powering off then it could be several issues: Windows Corruption, Power supply problems, or hardware issues

Driver problems can also cause your laptop to randomly shut down and reboot.

If your power management settings are not correct then you will have problems with your laptop going into hibernate mode and waking back up again.

Your laptop has a lot of advanced power settings at its disposal, set them up properly for best results

Your laptop might be powering off randomly because it has moisture on its components from environmental humidity, liquid spills or even insect infestation in extreme cases.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, or how good you are with computers and laptops – a random issue can catch us all by surprise. We want to help you to solve sudden laptop shutdowns by checking the basics.

The main culprit is usually caused by the thermal overload controls on your laptop’s motherboard. That means that your critical components like the CPU and chipsets on your laptop’s motherboard can usually detect excess heat and then either warn you with a beep or alarm or in extreme cases just shut down entirely.

The issue with cooling and laptops is that there is an area within the laptop, which makes airflow a problem.

Most laptop components are very close to one another to save space, which is not always great for system thermals. Our top 5 tips should help you to narrow down the issue, and hopefully, fix it yourself.


There is probably no worse feeling than when your laptop powers off unexpectedly. Sometimes this is just an inconvenience that happens rarely, or maybe even only once. Other times it can be catastrophic as you can lose the progress of the work that you were busy with.

If the issue starts becoming a regular occurrence then you need to start troubleshooting as soon as you can. We have put together a quick guide to help you figure out what is causing your sudden laptop shutdowns, and how you can try to fix it for yourself. Let’s get started!

Starting Point:

The first thing to do in the event of a sudden laptop shutdown is to check your cooling system. If your laptop was running for a prolonged amount of time, it is possible that you have issues with your cooling fans or ventilating unit.

Review the location of the fan and/or ventilating unit and look at it for dust build-up, sticker residue, water damage, or anything else obstructing its airflow.

Make sure that the blades are not broken, or bent. If a fan is weak, it will cause your laptop to overheat.

Check the back vents on your laptop for dust or obstructions. Sometimes a small speck of dust can have an adverse effect if your cooling system is not working properly. 

Remove any excess heat sinks, and check the thermal paste between each surface and its corresponding chip. If there is no thermal paste, then it’s time to add some in.

Windows Corruption

Windows corruption is not fun. It can be a real headache to fix, and it can cause all sorts of problems for your computer. Windows corruption issues are usually caused by long periods of high CPU usage, or maybe your hard drive is starting to fail.

If you have a sudden laptop shutdown issue while playing video games, then the beginning of the end of your gaming session is probably a good idea to shut down your laptop.

If you are getting random restarts while using programs or applications, then there might be some corruption in Windows that is causing the problem to occur. You can fix Windows corruption by running a chkdsk scan on your hard drive.

If you are having problems with the scanner tool, then you will need to check that the computer is being recognized by your Device Manager (Control PanelSystem & SecurityDevice Manager). If not, then you will need to update your network card and/or fix any issues there.

Hardware Issues:

If you have a hardware issue, the shutdowns may be related to the graphics card. The power cord going into the device may also not fit snugly in the outlet or have loose pins inside of it.

If your laptop is shutting down randomly while plugged in then try checking with another power cord or by using a different one to plug into.

Other hardware issues such as motherboard or video card issues can be another cause for your laptop to randomly shut down. A video card issue might have an effect on the CPU, which could also contribute to a shutdown.

If your laptop is shutting down when you are playing games or performing other CPU-intensive tasks then you should try running a virus scan and defragmentation of your hard drive.

You should also check that you do not have any overheating issues with a laptop cooling pad or by adding more fans to your computer.

There are many reasons why laptops randomly shut down, but most of these issues are easy to fix. It does require some attention and persistence, but it is usually worth it in the long run!

Power Supply Problems

To check if your laptop is suffering from faulty power supply issues, you will need to plug the laptop into a different outlet. If it starts working again then that was the problem! It may be time for an upgrade as well.

You can also check that the power cord is securely plugged into the laptop and the electrical socket. If there is a loose connection anywhere, then you should be able to see it or feel it with your hands.

If your laptop still thinks that it is not getting any electricity, then you will need to look at replacing some of the internal parts.

If your laptop still thinks that it should be getting electricity even when you are sure that all parts are properly connected, then there might be a fault with the motherboard.

That is not to say that this will happen in every case. Some motherboards might have electromagnetic interference issues from something like a cordless phone or a wireless router.

It’s a good idea to try running your laptop on battery power and checking if it is still shutting down.

Driver Problems

  • Laptops are just computers at heart, so they can suffer from many of the same issues that desktop computers do. Drivers are one of those things that can cause huge problems for your laptop without you even being aware of it.
  • You will need to go and install new drivers. Sometimes they come preinstalled on the laptop but more often than not, you will need to go out and download them yourself.
  • It’s always a good idea to put your drivers in a separate folder on your computer in case you ever want to uninstall them again. It will make it much easier to find the right drivers and uninstall them if you ever have a problem with one of them.
  • If your drivers are outdated or corrupted then they may not be doing their job correctly. This could contribute to many different issues including random shutdowns.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, these tips can help you narrow down why your laptop is shutting down. If you have found your way of diagnosing random shutdown issues then drop us a line and let us know how you managed to fix the problem yourself without having to pay somebody else to come and repair it for you. Also, check out this article that we featured on Pavius.net for more hints on keeping your computer in tip-top shape.