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Ask Dan Your Own Question

Dan , Computer Support Specialist
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 1292
Experience:  25 Years working with computer troubleshooting and networking. Comp TIA A-Plus Certified.
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My computer keeps turning on and off by itself

Customer Question

My computer keeps turning itself off and on. I've checked, and all the cables seem to be plugged in fine...

Computer OS: Windows XP
Browser: Chrome

Already Tried:
I just now turned it off, and will turn on again.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  Dan replied 4 years ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting JustAnswer, I would be happy to help you today. Has it always done this or has it just started?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
It's been doing it for the past couple days and seems to be getting worse, as it's happening a lot more often, like every 5 minutes

Dan :
Does it turn on as much as it turns off or does it do one more than the other?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
It turns off, then turns itself right back on, so it's equal.

Dan :
Is this a laptop or desktop, have you installed any new hardware or software recently, and how old is your computer?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
It's a desktop; I've probably had it two years or so, but I bought it reconditioned from a computer place. Nothing new installed recently.

Dan :
Would you be comfortable opening the computer case?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
... maybe.How do I do it?

Dan :
What brand of computer is it? Do you know the model number?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
P4, does that make sense?

Dan :
That is probably the processor type. The side of the case will come off and are usually held in place by either a couple of small screws on the rear or possibly a latch to release it. If you look on the back, you may be able to find the model number.

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
Whoo hoo! There were latches on either side. It's open.
Model # is SOHC-4836K. Is that what you need?

Dan :
Good job!! How dusty is it inside?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
VERY! I've been blowing it off...

Dan :
Good. What I would like to have you look for is a small fan that should be located in about the center of the mother board.

Turn on the computer and watch that fan and see if it is running at what should be a high speed.

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
Well, the computer was already on and it does appear the fan is running very fast.

Dan :
But is hasn't shut off yet?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
Do you mean has the computer shut itself off, or whether the fan has shut off?

Dan :
The computer.

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
It shut itself off and turned itself on again just now.

Dan :
Do you have a can of dust off that you are blowing out the computer with?

JACUSTOMER-61otbd7i- :
No -- just me ;0

Dan :
I like that!! Here is what I am thinking. This may be related to a heat problem possibly related to the power supply. As dusty as the inside of the computer is, the power supply will be equally as bad. You should use a can of dust off to blow both out. When blowing out the power supply, you will need to do it from bout inside and outside through the air vents and through the cooling fan. Your power supply may also be failing but cleaning it out first is a good place to start.

Why don't you give that a try when you can get the dust off then get back to me and let me know.

Expert:  micromaster-live replied 4 years ago.

It seems that your computer was overheating.

-Overheating may be due to dust or a bad cooling design..
-You can also disassemble your computer and clean up clogged air vents / dust and pathways of your computer.
-This was so delicate, this may affect the functionality of a computer.
-When you don't have any experience or you have less knowledge about computer hardware troubleshooting, better call a professional, to help you disassemble and clean your computer.
-But, if you were insisted to (DIY) do it yourself, you better take note of what you have removing/disconnecting inside the unit. Make sure that you turn off the computer and unplug it from electrical source before working inside the CPU.
-If you still have the computer manual with you, you may refer and read that before touching/removing anything. When you are done cleaning the whole unit, double check all connections, and make sure it all fits and tightly connected.
-Overheating computer may damage your motherboard or any other system components such as your cpu or your video card. Overheating computer usually runs slower than a cooler computer.
-Running your computer from overheating can also keep the computer from slowing down.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Dan, I have used the dust-off stuff all on the inside and around the sides, etc., and since I turned it back on, it has turned itself off and on twice -- in the space of a half hour or so... Now what?
Expert:  Dan replied 4 years ago.

Check the cooling fan at the rear of the computer. This should be the fan located inside the power supply. Make sure it is spinning at a high speed and you can feel air flow coming from it. If it is running properly then we will need to check a few other things to see if we can determine what is going on. Let me know when you can.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi. Checked the rear fan and it is running well, too.
Expert:  Dan replied 4 years ago.
This could be power supply problem as well as a couple of other things that can cause these symptoms. Can you look and tell me how many memory modules (RAM) sticks you have installed. They look like little circuit boards that will be installed in a socket on the mother board. If you have the computer lying flat, they will be standing up vertically.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Expert:  Dan replied 4 years ago.

Well a bad RAM stick can take down your computer in the way yours is acting. A bad power supply can also do the same thing. At this point it would be trial and error to try to figure out which one it is. I don't suppose you would happen to have an extra RAM just lying around do you?

Dan, Computer Support Specialist
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 1292
Experience: 25 Years working with computer troubleshooting and networking. Comp TIA A-Plus Certified.
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