Solve Sudden Laptop Shutdowns

/ / Solve Sudden Laptop Shutdowns
  • If your laptop is randomly powering off then it could be a number of issues: Windows Corruption, Power supply problems or hardware issues
  • Driver problems can also cause your laptop to randomly shutdown 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 mother board. 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 shutdown entirely.

The issue with cooling and laptops is that there is 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!

Top 5 Causes of Sudden Laptop Shutdowns

Bad Airflow

The number one issue that most people have with a sudden shutdown of a laptop is nothing more that an air circulation problem. To make matters even worse is the fact that the more you do on your laptop at the same time, the hotter it gets. If you are used to running high CPU loads on your system with things like photo editing, gaming or data processing, then you will probably notice that the laptop starts to feel a little toastier than usual.

There are tiny little heat-pipes and heat-sinks inside of a modern laptop that require a certain amount of air to pass over them for cooling. Over time and without proper care and maintenance, the airflow path that the air needs to take gets more restricted. Eventually just a whips of fresh air makes it through, creating an oven-like environment inside your laptop. Once the temperature reaches a thermal overload threshold it will power down almost instantly to try and save itself from overheating to the point where components risk serious and permanent damage.

Cleaning out a laptop’s fan, air path and cooling components does usually require a basic amount of hardware stripping, so you will need to get a high quality set of small screw drivers and an instructional video series on YouTube. If you are not comfortable with taking this route then by all means send it to a computer shop. (We accept no responsibility if you decide to open your laptop)

Once inside the laptop you will have a far easier time of clearing out all the dust, fluff and dirt that accumulates over the months and years of a laptop’s life in service. Use a soft bristle brush and gently remove the dust from things like fan blades and heat sinks, then blow out the excess dust once you are done. Check that all the fans are spinning freely and that all the fan connectors are seated properly.

Faulty Hardware

Sometimes there are much more delicate problems with a laptop that cannot be solved with simple maintenance. This can range from a faulty voltage regulator module to a swollen or faulty capacitor on the laptop motherboard. Either way it is not usually something that can be repaired easily or cheaply, thanks in part to the fact that most components on a laptop motherboard are surface mounted and are very, very small. If you suspect that you have a component level failure then you will need to take it in for a repair.

But fret not, not all hardware errors are catastrophic to a laptop. In fact, most hardware errors are self inflicted – especially if you are a firm believer in self upgrades. Sometimes items like RAM, hard drives (both SATA and M.2 drives), and CPUs (if your laptop supports it) can cause sudden and unexpected shutdowns. If you have recently upgraded your laptop and the problem only arose afterwards then consider removing the upgraded item and try running it without it and see if that is your culprit.

If you are still able to get into Windows then you can perform a few checks to ensure that there are no hardware conflicts in the Windows Device Manager. Check each of the individual components and check that there are no yellow exclamation marks next to any of the listed devices, and that there are no grayed out items that cannot be clicked on.

Bad Software Configurations

Sometimes a sudden and unexpected shutdown is accompanied by a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). This is an error message that briefly appears on your screen for a few seconds before your laptop shuts down, or reboots. The information here can be Googled, and can sometimes lead you in the right direction. Windows itself can be the cause if there is file corruption or damaged operating system core files. Windows comes with some built in diagnostics and file repairs, so if you suspect an software issue then you can try those and see if it fixes your issues.

Other times, issues such as software drivers can cause issues with your laptop. Things like graphics card drivers, chipset drivers, and even firmware for your laptop’s system board can also cause random and unexpected shutdowns. Make sure that your Windows installation is up to date, and allow Windows to download and install Windows Updates when it needs to. Which leads us to another potential problem that can not only cause unexpected shutdowns, but also reboot loops – and that is Windows Updates. Never shut down your computer when Windows is busy installing its updates, the drama is not worth it,

Unsupported Customized Settings

If you are a gamer or a power user that needs to squeeze out extra performance from your laptop, then you might have dabbled with some overclocking or performance tweaks. If your laptop has started shutting down unexpectedly when you are gaming or not, then it is a good idea to try and roll back the over clock and tweaks that you might have changed.

Overclocking your GPU and CPU will result in additional heat, which can cause additional issues as we have already seen. If you are going to overclock any components on your laptop then makes sure that your cooling setup is sufficient enough to handle the extra load.

In extreme cases you can revert your system BIOS back to a factory state from within the BIOS menu itself, or simply locate the CMOS battery inside your laptop and leave it out for a few minutes. This will clear all the settings on your laptop, including the time, and will return your laptop’s BIOS settings back to their default settings. Take a note of all your configuration settings before doing something like this.

Bad Battery, Power Supply/Charger or Motherboard

This is a very common problem with laptops, especially as they age. You might have a combination of these issues and they can cause a complete system power down event like an unexpected shutdown. If your battery is not holding a sufficient charge, or if there is a bad contact between the battery and your motherboard, then sudden bumps and movements can cause your laptop to suddenly switch off with no warning.

If your motherboard has a  bad contact between the battery and the motherboard then you will also notice that sudden movements will cause it to switch off. The laptop charger is responsible for charging your laptop’s batteries, and in some cases it will also supply the correct wattage to your system when it is in gaming mode. If you are gaming and your laptop power supply is not supplying the correct power then you can also experience a shutdown. This is not good, especially if it is in the middle of a game!

If any of these items are faulty then you will need to have them replaced. A repair on a power supply is not safe, due to the high voltage components inside the unit unless you are a trained electronic repair specialist. If your system is still under warranty then it might be worth contacting the supplier and asking if you can have the faulty part replaced.


So there we have it, our Top 5 reasons for why your laptop might be shutting down without warning. There are many more reasons that could be causing this issue for your laptop, but these are the basics that you can check before you go out and spend the money on a new laptop. You might find problems like malware and viruses can also cause unexpected restarts, reboots and shutdowns as well, but this is far less common and you are more likely to find one of our 5 reasons as the potential cause of your laptop shutdown.

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