“Why does my computer keep crashing?” is an annoying question you hope you never come across. Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why your PC keeps shutting down randomly. Worse, if you keep getting the infamous “Blue Screen of Death,” your computer is having a meltdown.

From high disk usage and overheating to viruses and malware damaging your device, a computer will crash if the system can’t handle these common errors.

Whatever the case, there are several ways to fix the problem.

This guide will help you fix Windows PC crashes and give you tips on how to keep your computer safe with the best antivirus.

Computer keeps crashing: Quick fixes

Figuring out why your PC keeps crashing can be tricky, so we recommend following each step below until it’s fixed. Even if you update drivers and clean out your computer to stop it from overheating, there may be a virus or malware hiding in plain sight – which could be the true culprit.

  1. Check your PC hardware for issues

    PC randomly turning off overheating computer

    The first step is to check if your computer is experiencing any hardware issues. 

    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.

    Proper ventilation will stop your PC from overheating, which can cause constant crashes. The best way to clean is by using a PC cleaning kit or a can of compressed air

  2. Update your drivers

    Windows Graphics Driver Update Settings

    If your computer has outdated or corrupted drivers installed, it can cause your PC to crash. 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.

  3. 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 crashing. 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. 

  4. Restart in Safe Mode to remove suspicious apps

    Lost Administrator Rights Windows Safe Mode Settings

    If you notice suspicious apps on your computer, they may be causing your computer to crash. They could be malicious, like a virus or malware, so these will need to be removed safely.

    You’ll need to put Windows into Safe Mode. There are a few ways to do this, but a simple way is to head into Settings.

    Type in “Change advanced start-up options” in the search box located on the taskbar. Under Recovery, click Restart now next to Advanced startup. Then click Restart now.

    From here, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. Using the number keys, select Enable Safe Mode.

    Once done, go to Settings > Apps > Installed apps. Find the apps that showed up unexpectedly without your permission. Click the menu (horizontal three dots) next to the app and select Uninstall

    Additionally, you can head to Apps for websites to see if there are any unwanted apps you don’t need and toggle the switch to off. 

  5. Remove unfamiliar process with high disk usage

    High Disk Usage Task Manager Settings on Windows

    If a random app you’re not familiar with is causing high disk usage, making your PC crash frequently, you’ll want to remove it. Once you identify what’s taking up a significant amount of read/write operation resources, you can quickly stop the process. 

    To do this, you’ll need to open Task Manager. Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC or right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager to open the app. 

    Click on the Disk tab to see all running apps and background processes in order of disk usage. 

    If a process is highlighted orange and runs over 1MB/s or 2MB/s, it takes up a lot of disk usage. If you see anything near 100% disk usage, these will contribute to this and need to be stopped. This is especially true if there’s an unfamiliar process running without you realising it. 

    Right-click the app or background process taking up resources and select End task

  6. Update your software

    Windows PC Update Settings

    Updating your Windows PC software can often fix minor glitches, such as if your computer keeps crashing. 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. 

  7. Change your passwords

    Norton 360 Password Manager

    If you’ve experienced an annoying computer crashes 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. 

  8. Use antivirus software to detect and stop malware

    Norton 360 Security and Settings

    If you can’t find any way to stop your PC crashing, 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 stop your PC crashing due to an overburdened system.

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

Why does my computer keep crashing?

It’s incredibly annoying when your PC crashes all the time, and the cause may not be the fault of you or your computer.

One common reason a computer crashes 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 crashing 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 Utilities Ultimate 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 PC keeps crashing 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 your Windows PC to frequently crash, 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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