Why is my computer turning off randomly?
May 25, 2018 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Since yesterday my Windows 10 PC just pops up "shutting down" and then either shuts down or reboots but I can't figure out why. I miss BSODs

Yesterday at around midday - after I'd been using the computer for 3-4 hours a message popped up asking me to reboot for updates - I told it to remind me later. A few minutes later, the screen went grey and said "shutting down". It shut down completely rather than rebooted, at the time I assumed it was related to the updates and it had decided I'd said "remind me later" too many times.
Possibly relevant, I mostly use the computer over RDP, the actual computer is located 2 floors above me (so all this reboots the day after leg day are making me grumpy!)

After I turned it back on, it still hadn't installed the updates, so I told it to reboot and install... 2 hours later it finally finished and everything seemed fine for the rest of the day. It also remained on overnight without issue.

This morning, after using it for a few hours without any problems, it again said "shutting down", so I limped upstairs and found it had rebooted instead of just shutting down. I used it for about an hour then stepped away and it had clearly rebooted when I got back. Then I went for lunch and came back to it having shut down. I went upstairs to turn it back on and it booted up fine then I loaded speed fan to check the temperatures - 50C, a little warm but not shutdown warm. Then it again did "shutting down". It did this a couple more times - shutting down within a few minutes of turning on then and now its working fine again for the last hour.

There are no critical events in the event log and nothing that seems like it should cause a shut down (nor the same event coinciding with every shut down). I used to consider myself quite good with computers but this is giving me nothing to work with so I don't know where to start
posted by missmagenta to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
When I had a computer do that several years ago it turned out to be the power supply was going bad.
posted by jtexman1 at 8:11 AM on May 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

My experience is that sometimes Windows just goes ahead with the reboot and update.

I also had a situation where the updates were failing, and Windows would try again a few days later. It took a bit of work to figure out what was causing the updates to fail and how to fix it.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:11 AM on May 25, 2018

Windows has a system log that is supposed to record the reasons for reboots. I've had very mixed results trying to read it though, there is a lot of crap to filter.
posted by Nelson at 10:02 AM on May 25, 2018

The OP mentions examining the event log already.
posted by XMLicious at 10:08 AM on May 25, 2018

If you haven't already, make sure you look at both the Application and System logs on your computer and correlate them by time. You cause could be in the App log. Assuming this is a desktop PC, I'd look for what's been mentioned - failing Windows Updates attempting to install over and over, overheating in some other component (though that should be logged) and a failing power supply. It could also be bad RAM, but I think that usually causes BSODs.
posted by cnc at 10:59 AM on May 25, 2018

I had this happen two years ago, and it was one of my (old, brought forward from an old computer) hard drives failing. I have also had power supply failures do it too.

posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:08 PM on May 25, 2018

You can turn off the automatic reboot on BSOD if you want and just come back to an ugly blue screen.

Anecdotal but I just tried to fix my parents' computer that was doing this and there was a Video Card Driver (on their 8 year-old Gateway) that Windows had suddenly decided wasn't up to snuff.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:15 PM on May 25, 2018

FWIW, I also had this happen with a PC, coinciding with Windows updates, and it was a hardware problem. Not that helpful I know, but I also wasted a lot of time wiping Windows cuz I thought I’d screwed up the update, when it was a failing mobo from the get go.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:23 PM on May 25, 2018

Why is my computer turning off randomly?

Single most likely cause is Windows Update being a broken, buggy, under-designed and yet somehow over-engineered Rube Goldberg fustercluck, via which MS has taken to delivering updates that repeatedly re-install themselves for no good reason.

Since it's now May, and the April Patch Tuesday just delivered a major version update for Windows 10, I would not be at all surprised to find that it's going to take a lot of rebooting before Windows 10 boxes settle back down and start pretending to be usable computers again. Count yourself lucky that yours still boots at all.
posted by flabdablet at 5:57 AM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

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