Hand reaching for laptop power button for PC randomly turning off

Wondering why your PC turns off randomly? From overheating and outdated drivers to malware hiding on your device, many irritating problems can force your computer to shut down.

It can be the worst thing in the world if you’re working on a document or in the middle of the game, your computer suddenly shuts down or restarts and all your unsaved progress goes down the shoot.

Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions to try.

This guide will help you fix your PC randomly turning off and give you the best way to keep your computer working properly with a reliable antivirus.

Windows PC randomly turning off: Quick fixes

Follow the steps below to fix random PC shutdowns. They’re quick and easy to do, but we recommend following each step to solve the problem, as malware may have snuck onto your computer. If you don’t get rid of it, you’ll be going around in circles.

  1. Check for overheating

    PC randomly turning off overheating computer

    If your PC’s fans are way too loud and your computer is hot to the touch, it’s a good sign your device is overheating. As a safety measure, your computer will force a shutdown if it’s getting too hot under the hood. 

    This is caused by the environment your PC is in, malfunctioning fans, dirt or dust clogging up your device and overclocking. You need to keep your computer as cool as possible at all times, especially if you run demanding apps or programs. 

    To prevent your PC overheating, make sure to keep it out of hot areas (like direct sunlight) and that nothing obstructs its air vents. If you use a laptop, try using a cooling pad or laptop stand to keep temperatures low. 

    If fans aren’t working, they may be broken or have accumulated too much dirt and dust to function. Make sure to change fans if needed and clean out any dust.

    While you’re at it, clean your whole PC of any dirt, dust, hair, grime, specs of food – whatever there is that’s causing your device to overheat and shut down. Keeping your PC free of dirt will help stop your computer from turning off randomly.

    Overclocking your PC means increasing its power beyond its limits, and your computer components may be unable to handle that for extended periods. If your PC keeps shutting down when doing this, you’ll need to stop using overclocking utilities. 

    You can check your computer’s temperature using a monitoring tool like HWMonitor

  2. Disable Fast Startup

    PC randomly turning off Power Options Settings

    Fast Startup helps your PC start faster after a shutdown, putting it in a low-power state instead of turning off completely. However, it can also cause random shutdowns. 

    That’s when you need to turn it off. 

    To disable Fast Startup, type “Control Panel” in the search box on the taskbar. Select Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options > Choose what the power buttons do. Uncheck the box next to Turn on fast start-up (recommended). If this option is greyed out, select Change settings that are currently unavailable at the top. 

  3. Update your drivers

    Windows Graphics Driver Update Settings

    If your computer has outdated or corrupted drivers installed, it can cause your PC to shutdown. If this is the case, it’s time to update your graphics drivers. 

    This can be done in two ways. You can visit your graphics card manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers there. For example, if your graphics card comes from Nvidia, you can visit the company’s website and search for a driver update to download or go through the Nvidia GeForce Experience app. 

    You can also update your graphics drivers in Windows settings. In the search box on the taskbar, type in “Device Manager” and select Device Manager > Display adapters > right-click on your GPU > Update driver and follow the steps. 

    If graphics driver updates are available, download and install the update to see if this fixes the issue.

  4. Defragment and check your hard drive

    High Disk Usage Update Hard Drive Settings

    There could be an issue with the hard drive itself if your PC keeps turning off. High disk usage can overburden your PC, so easing the pressure can help fix the problem.  

    You can check for hard disk errors and repair problems through the CHKDSK tool. What’s more, using the same method, you can defragment to optimise your computer’s drive. This will rearrange files on your disk so they are stored more efficiently. 

    Head to File Explorer > This PC > right-click and select Properties on your chosen drive > Tools tab. From here, you can select Check under Error checking and Optimise under Optimise and defragment drive

    If you get a message stating, “Restart your computer to repair file system. You can restart right away or schedule the error fixing on next restart,” follow the instructions to fix the issue. 

    To be safe, make sure you have your hard drive data backed up so you don’t lose any important data. 

  5. Update your software

    Windows PC Update Settings

    Updating your Windows PC software can often fix minor glitches, including your PC randomly turning off. However, they can also fend off malicious software.

    Cybercriminals take advantage of security vulnerabilities on your device. These zero-day vulnerabilities allow threat actors to exploit computer systems until developers mitigate them, which can cause major damage. 

    Updating your system’s software can resolve the issue. A software update often contains security patches that help protect your device, as developers work to protect users from known zero-day attacks and other forms of malware trying to infect your device. 

    You can update your device through its settings. For example, you can update your Windows PC by navigating to Start > Settings > Windows Update > Check for updates. If there are any, download and install the update. 

  6. Change your passwords

    Norton 360 Password Manager

    If you’ve experienced an annoying system shutdown without warning and nothing will fix it, chances are your PC has been infected with a virus or malware, and your online accounts and devices are at risk of being compromised.

    To help mitigate potential malware threats or hackers taking control of your accounts, change your passwords and use a strong password to stop suspicious activity. 

    Using password managers such as LastPass or 1Password can help manage all your passwords in one place, create a complex, near-unbreakable master password and encrypt your information. 

    Changing passwords will stop hackers from trying to steal any sensitive information and your online accounts. 

  7. Use antivirus software to detect and stop malware

    Norton 360 Security and Settings

    If you can’t find any way to your PC turning off randomly and malware may be the issue, using one of the best antivirus software like Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) will keep you safe from any malicious software, like ransomware, adware, spyware, phishing and more.

    That’s not all; antivirus software can provide extra features like VPNs, dark web monitoring and more. Norton 360 has all these features and extra security tools that can backup your data, prevent online identity theft and stop malware. 

    What’s more, Norton 360 comes with monitoring features to identify all suspicious activity on your device. Select packages also feature cloud storage to help you save hard drive space and a PC booster like Norton Utilities Ultimate to, well, boost PC speeds and clean up your device. It will help get rid of unnecessary apps and files causing annoying shutdowns.

    Check out our Norton 360 review and Norton 360 Platinum review to see which antivirus package suits you best.

Why is my computer shutting off randomly?

Random PC shutdowns and restarts are incredibly annoying, and the cause may not be the fault of you or your computer.

One common reason a PC shuts down is due to overheating. Whether from dust build-up, blocked air vents on your device, overclocking or a malfunctioning fan, once your PC reaches unsafe high temperatures, it will turn off automatically. This is a programmed safety measure, so keeping your computer nice and cool is always best.

If your PC drivers aren’t up to date or are corrupted, it can cause several problems that your device can’t handle when turned on. It will randomly shut down if it doesn’t know what to do.

Other factors that may not seem obvious are damaged PC components, a faulty power supply and even a power surge. You may need new parts to fix the issue, so a trip to a computer repair shop wouldn’t hurt.

However, what can cause significant damage to your system and your private information is malware. If your computer keeps turning off randomly and there are no obvious issues, malware may have infected your computer.

Malware can sneak onto your device through a number of ways, including mistakenly clicking a suspicious link in an email or going to a dodgy website, thanks to phishing attacks.

To identify and remove malicious software and prevent infections from happening, it’s best to use an antivirus like Norton 360 to detect any malicious activity and stop the malware from causing more harm.

Norton 360 Platinum on Laptop

Will a PC booster fix random shutdowns?

PC boosters are made to clean up files and apps taking up diskspace and make your computer more efficient. If your device keeps turning off randomly because it can’t handle the pressure apps and programs put it under, leading to overheating, a PC booster like Norton Utilities Ultimate (from $39.99/year) can take the legwork out of cleaning up your files, disabling unnecessary processes and keep your computer working at its best.

Norton’s PC cleaner and optimizer tool for Windows computers can help clear out junk files, find unwanted software needlessly taking up space, turn off programs slowing down your system and even clean up browser data.

Its selection of advanced tune-up tools and simple yet effective user interface make it a fantastic option for anyone looking to give their computer a much-needed boost – and keep it that way.

There are free PC cleaners around, but they will provide fewer handy features to keep your PC in prime condition. Check out our Norton Utilities Ultimate review for a better look at how it performs.

Can any antivirus software stop viruses and malware?

The best antivirus software will stop malware in its tracks. Not all antivirus software is equal, as some don’t have high malware detection and protection rates or have accredited lab scores to back them up.

However, many high-standard AV protections offer near-perfect scores when detecting and protecting against malware, meaning even complex malicious software can’t go unnoticed. Even if it’s a hidden app running in the background and causing high disk usage, an antivirus will be able to detect and eliminate it.

Services, including Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) and Bitdefender (from $19.99/year), include device monitoring features to help uncover suspicious activity early and offer the tools to fight off cyberattacks. Whether its a phishing attack, ransomware, spyware or infostealer malware, these security products have the tools to protect you.

These services have protection features that block malicious activity on your device, along with extra features like cloud backup and PC boosters. To make sure your device is ready to identify and block malware damaging your system, set yourself up with an antivirus.

Best antivirus to prevent viruses and malware

1. Norton 360 🥇From $19.99/year
Best overall antivirus of 2023

Norton 360 on Laptop scaled

“Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990. 

Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats. 

Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.

If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.

Read our full Norton 360 review

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2. Bitdefender 🥈 From $19.99/year
Best security features and tools

Bitdefender Lead Image scaled

Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.

Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.

It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need. 

Read our full Bitdefender review

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3. Malwarebytes 🥉 From $44.99/year
Best antivirus for Windows PC

Malwarebytes Logo scaled

Hundreds of malware emerge every minute, and it’s Malwarebytes’ mission to detect and conquer them all. Does the antivirus do this successfully? Yes, but there’s wiggle room for improvements.

Malwarebytes’ no-nonsense approach to protecting your devices from the onslaught of malware and viruses is effective for those who need a reliable antivirus that will detect and remove malicious software, especially with its free version. However, while its premium service provides 24/7 real-time detection, conveniently blocks vicious ransomware and shields users from malicious websites, it doesn’t go beyond on the feature front.

That’s no bad thing, as sometimes a user only needs a powerful antivirus to keep them safe from cyber threats. But considering its competitors add a few more security tools, such as data breach monitoring and a firewall, there’s room for improvement. 

Read our full Malwarebytes review

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4. Avast One 🙌 From $39.99/year
Best antivirus for beginners + free plan available!

Avast One logo on laptop

With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.

Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.

It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.

Read our full Avast One review

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5. AVG👍 From 4.99/month
Best antivirus for + free plan available!

AVG Antivirus logo scaled

You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.

AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.

Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.

Read our full AVG Antivirus review

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Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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