My Computer Keeps Restarting | Causes And Solutions

by Rod Dunne on November 27, 2010

in Articles, Hardware, Performance

My computer keeps restarting | Causes and PC system software solutions
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You will often find a computer keeps freezing or a PC keeps restarting involuntarily if there are hardware/software conflicts or internal components are overheating. In this article, I’ll go through some of the PC system software utilities and troubleshooting checks I do when my computer keeps restarting itself.

Troubleshooting why the computer keeps rebooting

1: Overheating components

When my computer keeps restarting itself without showing an error message then the initial concern is that there is an internal hardware fault. In particular, the major concern is that components are overheating. This may be due to air vents/air inlets being blocked with dust so make sure that these are kept clear. You could also find your laptop keeps freezing up if left on an uneven surface (which blocks vents) are left beside a radiator.

Restart the PC and enter the BIOS mode by hitting the F10 or F1 key as the system starts. Go to the health check settings/diagnostics to look at the CPU temperatures and fan speed metrics. You will need to check these against your manufacturer guidelines to make sure they are not exceeding or approaching the automatic restart temperature (also provided in the BIOS menu settings).

If the temperatures are quite high then clear the air inlets of dust and open the PC to check none of the fan blades are damaged, the heat sink is not dislodged and all fan filters are clear of dust.

2: Computer keeps freezing at startup

If you are unfortunate enough that the computer keeps freezing even before you get a chance to login then your options become quite limited. Here are some things that you could try (in this order):

  • Start the PC using the emergency boot disk and run the various diagnostics scans (e.g. for bad sector checks).
  • Start Windows in safe mode by hitting the F8 key as the PC boots. This runs Windows using a reduced number of services so can bypass the problem if one of the automated services is the root of the problem. You can then check the error logs (see below) and troubleshoot the issue.
  • Start Windows using the last known good configuration. This is also accessed using the F8 key as the computer boots up. This restores OS programs and the registry file back to earlier healthy versions stored on the hard disk and will work around the issue if the fault lies with these files.
  • Start Windows using a boot disk from a PC repair utility.

3. Use the Event Viewer Log

If the PC keeps restarting without showing you an error code/message then it is quite possible that the Event Viewer log will have a note of what the problem is. This application is started from the Start menu > Run > enter eventvwr.

Check for messages detailed around the time that the restart last occurred and look for error codes containing STOP messages or IRQ codes (for example, IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL). With this information you can research the fault online and the best place to start is the Microsoft support website. This site has the largest amount of information about what the root hardware conflicts or software issue actually is.

4. Check the Device Manager

If my computer keeps restarting itself after installing new hardware then it is quite possible that there are some component conflicts or device driver issue with the system.

Open the Device Manager utility (start > control panel > system > hardware tab) and check for any noticeable warnings about hardware problems. The troubleshooting wizard in this tool is quite useful for proposing different checks/tasks you can do to resolve the issue.

Related posts
Knowing how to reboot computer systems to work around virus damage or OS faults.
Top three reasons why your computer keeps crashing.

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