If your computer keeps restarting it can often be fixed in software, but there are many different things that can cause a system to crash and keep rebooting. Modern Operating Systems will not usually produce a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Instead, Windows will simply restart the computer and hope for the best. The theory is, if something critical to the Operating System failed, a reboot will correct it. This is often true. But if a computer is having a hardware problem, this may not work. So the first step in solving your computer restart problem is to isolate the source.
Here are the steps to fix a computer that keeps restarting:
- Turn off the Automatically Restart option.
- You can analyze your mini-dump files using a program called WhoCrashed. Mini-dump files are the BSODs you are seeing.
- Restart in Safe Mode.
- BSODs are often caused by driver issues, but hardware errors can also cause this. Test your hard drive and memory.
Turn Off The Automatic Restart If Computer Keeps Restarting
If your computer keeps restarting, you can turn off automatic restarts by right-clicking My Computer and selecting Properties. Under the Advanced tab, look for Startup and Recovery and under the Settings find and uncheck the Automatically Restart option. Now, when your system crashes, you should receive a blue screen error that will have some type of information you can use to find a solution to your restarting issue. Write the entire error down and visit us on our forums for a diagnosis.
Restart in Safe Mode
Restart the computer and tap F8 to get into Safe Mode With Networking. By starting in Safe Mode you can uninstall any recently installed software that might be causing the crash. You can also update drivers, perform a system restore and even scan for and remove malware that might be causing the restarts. By successfully running in Safe Mode for an extended period of time, this tells us the problem is likely related to software. If the computer keeps restarting or shutting down, the problem is likely hardware-related.
Scan Your Memory If Your Computer Keeps Restarting
You can run utilities in Windows that scan your Memory and hard disk for errors. If you have faulty RAM, this can cause massive instability with your system.
Scanning your RAM will require third-party software. We like Memtest86. Download and burn the image to a floppy or a CD and reboot to that drive to begin the scan. You may need to change how your PC starts in the BIOS. If you make a CD, go into the BIOS setup and make sure the CD ROM is first in the Boot Sequence option. If you’re running Vista, you can access their RAM scanner by going to the Administrative Tools area of the Control Panel. From within that section, look for the Memory Diagnostic Tool.
Scan your HDD for errors by opening My Computer and right-clicking the C drive. Select Properties, then under the Tools tab, look for the Error Checking area and click the Check Now button. Check both options and hit OK. The computer will run a thorough scan when the system boots next time.
If your computer keeps restarting at this point, you can try is flashing the BIOS. If there is a known flaw with hardware on a machine that software can fix, a BIOS update will be issued by a manufacturer. Contact the manufacturer of the computer or the motherboard for specific details on how to flash the BIOS.
If at this point the computer keeps restarting, you should look into replacing the power supply, then the motherboard in that order. The power supply is a cheapest and easiest thing to replace and is often the source of the problem for shut-downs and reboots. Be sure to replace the power supply with a name brand you recognize. Cheaper is not better when it comes to power supplies. Also, be sure to get the same wattage or greater. For instance, if the power supply is 350 Watts, you can get the same of go higher.
If your computer keeps restarting, write down as many details you can about your system and join our free computer forums, or read more of our Windows tutorials.