PC Randomly Shuts Down

by Olga
(Canada)

Dusty Computer Fan

Dusty Computer Fan

One of the most weird problems with my home PC started unexpectedly, as they all do. My PC was about 4 years old and running fine.

My PC would suddenly start up and work for a little bit, then turn off randomly. I would lose my work. At times I could recover some of my data, but it was frustrating having to do it all of the time.

This was no way to go.

One would argue that it's time to get a new PC, but my frugal nature dismissed this kind of thought, especially in the current financial climate.

Another thought was to call a technician, as there are some good quality small business computer repair companies in my area, but I decided to at least try to troubleshoot the problem myself.

I read documentation about my motherboard, and found out that it had intelligence to shut down when temperature around it increased to certain level, unsafe for its components.

The temperature is supported by the fan that cools the motherboard down.

I opened my PC up and found out an enormous amount of dust on my fan. It was stuck to it. This explained why my fan had produced bizarre noises.

My fan was trying hard to work through the resistance built up by years of dust, and do its work.

It seems instead of cooling the environment, it was heating it up, and tripping the motherboards inbuilt intelligence to shut down.

After a little clean up and careful vacuuming, my PC was back to business. My PC is now over 7 years old, and it is still doing great!

The best advice I can give is don't hurry to replace your equipment. Read the manual first! Then have the confidence to give it a go yourself.

You will surprise yourself at what you can achieve :)

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Jan 17, 2012
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PC Unexpected Shutdown Problems
by: Steve

Thank you Olga for sharing your experience with everyone. It is very much appreciated!

Your contribution echo's the theme of this site, which is if you have a computer problem, have a go at fixing it yourself first. Become your own computer support technician!!

Computers can have lots of fans. The Central Processing Unit (CPU), Power Supply Unit (PSU), Computer Chassis (the computer itself you switch on to power up), Graphics Cards and Motherboards can all have fans to regulate their running temperature.

Dust is a nasty combination of dead skin cells, dust mites, pollution etc., I won't labour the point! :) It gradually builds up inside of your computer over time.

Computer components run at higher temperatures with a layer of dust on them. This shortens their life expectancy, particularly when they begin to overheat. This can also cause your computer to start running slowly.

Computer Fans cannot run as quickly to keep the component temperature down with a layer of dust on the blades. They also need to work harder with the additional weight they are holding, which can cause the fan itself to become faulty when the bearings wear out. This can be a cause of your computer sounding like an aeroplane taking off!

I tend to clean the inside of my computer every 4-6 months. Of course it depends on the environment your computer is working in.

There are also products to assist you in cleaning the inside of your computer, such as anti-static compressed air cans, which blows the dust off your computers internal components.

Remember to do this in a place where you can hoover up or collect the dust later. You may want to wear a face mask too!

If you can maintain your computer regularly in this way, your 3-4 year old computer could last you 7 years or more, just like Olga's.

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