When your computer turns on by itself, you may automatically assume either your computer is haunted by malevolent spirits or you are infected by a high-tech computer virus that is scouring your hard drive for credit card information, bank statements and other sensitive information that could ruin your life to the point you have to change your name and move to Brazil. While the latter is certainly possible, the fact that your computer turns on my itself could be because of completely harmless reasons. We’ll describe some reasons why your computer may be behaving this way and how you can correct the problem.
Why A Computer Turns On By Itself
First of all, there are two states a computer can be in prior to it turning itself on: The first is when the computer is completely powered off, and the second is when the computer is asleep. A computer that is totally powered-down will not usually wake up to perform Windows commands, so it is easier to troubleshoot. However, a computer that randomly wakes up in the early morning hours while you are in Dreamland can be puzzling and disconcerting.
Some reasons why a computer turns on by itself:
1. Wake On Mouse is enabled. If you walk in the room and the computer magically powers on, your mouse may have moved slightly and triggered the wake command. While you need Wake On Keyboard, you do not necessarily need Wake On Mouse to be enabled. To disable this, go to the control panel, then click on Device Manager (Some systems will be Control Panel>System>Hardware>Device Manager)
Once in the Device Manager, click on the Mouse icon, then right-click the mouse that is installed in your computer and select Properties. You should see a Power Management tab. Remove the check from the option to “Allow this device to wake the computer” and this will prevent unintentional mouse movement from turning on the computer in the future.
2. You have tasks scheduled. Your computer may be turning on because you previous setup scheduled tasks. For instance, you might have your computer set to perform a daily disk defragmenter utility to run every morning at 3:00 AM while you are asleep. To check this, go to Start and type Task Scheduler in the search box. Or if you’re running an older version of Windows, navigate to Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools and launch the Task Scheduler from there.
Click the Task Scheduler Library and see what options appear. You will likely see several programs listed and you can safely delete them if you want. Many programs will set themselves to automatically check for updates when you are logged in, but some may set themselves to update whether you are logged in or not. Remove or change the schedule to suit your needs.
3. Wake On LAN is Enabled. Network activity may be triggering your computer to power up by itself if the Wake On LAN option is enabled in the BIOS. In general, you should have this disabled unless you specifically need to have it turned on. Enter your computer’s BIOS when first powering on the computer and disable this feature.
Computer Turns On By Itself Conclusion
As you can see there could be numerous reasons why your computer turns on by itself. Most will be benign, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure your computer is current with its Microsoft Updates and that you routinely run virus scans. If you have other computer repair concerns, be sure to join our free forums or read our other troubleshooting articles.