Why Does My Laptop Turn Off By Itself | How To Prevent

Why does my laptop turn off by itself

Do you have a laptop that randomly shuts off? Well, you are not alone. Laptops are prone to get hot and shut down. It’s a built-in self-protecting mechanism designed to protect your laptop from damage. Let’s look at why this is happening.

A laptop will automatically turn off by itself when components get too hot. Laptop motherboards are installed with microcode to monitor CPU temperature. If the CPU temperature exceeds 70 to 100 degrees Celsius the laptop will shut down. The exact temperature will vary slightly based on the manufacture and BIOS setting. 

When a laptop is in use the CPU generates heat. If the CPU gets hot enough it will cause the laptop to crash or shut down unexpectedly. As a safety mechanism, the laptop motherboard is loaded with a basic operating system called BIOS. The BIOS has a microcode which monitors CPU temperature and will shut down the laptop if the temperature exceeds 70 to 100 degrees Celsius to prevent damage to the laptop. The number one reason why your laptop is turning off by itself is most likely it’s not getting enough ventilation. And there could be several reasons why your laptop is not getting the air it needs.

Cleaning laptop vents prevent a shutdown


Laptops have a lot of components stacked into a very small space. And most all these components generate heat. Heat is a big enemy of electrical computer components. Heat tends to shorten the lifespan of computer components. So the lower you can keep the temperature inside your laptop the better. And chances are the longer your laptop will last. Laptops by nature do not have good ventilation. It’s difficult for air to circulate in between components. As a result, things get hot fast inside a laptop. Combine that with heavy computing, like playing a game and things heat up fast. The laptop is generating heat faster than the heat can be dissipated. The heat has nowhere to go. 

Laptops have vents and fans for removing heat but can get easily overwhelmed. They are not robust enough to remove heat faster than the CPU and motherboard can create especially when operating at higher capacities. Combine that with a dirty fan and you have a heat build-up. Dust can build up on the fan causing the fan to lose efficiency. Dust can build up on the computer case vents blocking airflow. These two problems can cause a heated build-up inside the laptop’s case. The heat can be hot enough that the laptop shuts itself off automatically. The best way to prevent this from happening is to clean the vents and fan with compressed air. Or a power air vac. I use the DataVac ESD Safe Electric Duster by MetroVac. This is an electronic duster. The reason why I use this one is that it produces a high power air stream that blasts dust off computer vents and fans with ease. It also comes with an anti-static wristband which is important if you need to open the computer case to dust off a fan. There are other very good vacs out there, but this is the one I have been using for the last 7 years. On a desktop computer, all the vents are readily accessible. However, on a laptop vents are not as accessible therefore you need a powerful stream of air to knock off the dust. It’s easy to remove a desktops case panel and clean the fans but a laptop is next to impossible. All you can do is blow out as much dust as you can regularly.

Blocked computer air vents cause shutdowns


Some laptop brands have vents on the bottom as in addition to vents on the sides. When vents get blocked heat quickly builds up inside the case. I remember one time I laid my laptop down on the bed. After about an hour when I came back to pick it up I noticed it was really hot to the touch. The bedspread blocked the side vents so no air could circulate and the laptop got very hot. This just goes to show you that you have to pay attention to where you put your laptop as not to block the vents. If your laptop is dirty and you are not able to give it a proper cleaning I suggest you take it to a local computer repair shop and ask them to clean it for you. In my opinion, it is well worth it.

How to monitor the temperature of your laptop


The temperature of your laptop’s CPU can be monitored. Some applications will allow you to monitor the CPU’s temperature so you can see the temperature. Other temperatures can also be monitored such as your hard drive temperature. I recommend a program called Core Temp. It’s a small lightweight but yet powerful program you can use to monitor your laptop’s temperature and other vital information. If your laptop has multiple CPU cores, which it most likely does, Core Temp will display the temperature of each core. A link to download Core Temp is in the reference section at the bottom of this article.

How is your laptop's temperature measured


Most computer manufacturers implement what’s called DTS or Digital Thermal Sensor. DTS is positioned in the CPU next to the hottest part of the CPU. The temperatures collected are very accurate. And the reason for its accuracy is because it does not rely on an external circuit located on the motherboard to report the temperature. The actual temperature value is stored in a special register in the processor so it can be accessed by software. The big advantage of using this design is it eliminates inaccuracies introduced by external components on the motherboard.

The laptop turns off by itself conclusion


You now know the most common reason why your laptop will turn itself off. And you also know you should clean the vents on your laptop regularly. Dust can clog and block airflow and cause ventilation problems trapping heat inside your laptop. This of course prevents your laptop from cooling itself properly. A laptop placement is also important. It should be placed on a clean hard surface where it can properly ventilate itself. Vents should not be blocked or it should not be set near a heater vent. Do not put a laptop down on a mattress allowing it to sit while the vent is blocked. It’s also a good idea to check to make sure your laptop's fans are in working order. If in doubt or you are not able to clean all the dust and you can see the dust but just can't get to it, it's a good idea to take your laptop in for a cleaning. There are many other reasons why your laptop could be overheating that were not mentioned in the article. For example, if you overclocked your CPU and now your laptop is overheating, well you know if you overclocked your CPU, so you know the cause of the shutdown. Also if you have a bad device driver you most likely will get a BSOD, Blue Screen of Death, and not a shutdown. And lastly, I’ll mention computer viruses. I have never experienced or heard of a virus turning off a laptop. But it might be possible however I am guessing that is not common. So I hope I have spared you all the unlikely reasons on my laptop turned itself off and provided you with the correct answer. I would love to hear your experiences and how you solved your problem. Please comment below.

Have you considered a laptop cooling pad


Nowadays manufactures have packed an incredible amount of electronics into an ever slimming and thinner but more powerful design. Laptops are getting thinner and thinner. Plus they are getting more and more powerful. This of course brings huge benefits to users but also contributes to a massive heat problem. And as you well know by now heat is your laptop's worst enemy. Excessive heat could cause your expensive laptop to wear out prematurely. The laptop has come a long way recently in terms of power. It can rival desktops in performance. In some cases, it can have near-desktop equivalent GPUs. And of course, with that kind of graphics power comes the challenge of even more heat. So how do you cool these parts and prevent performance throttling? My opinion is to get an upward-facing laptop cooling pad. If I just spend over a grand on a nice laptop jam-packed with the latest CPU and a nice GPU and I am going to spend a few dollars more and purchase a laptop cooling pad to help protect my investment. I want to get three to five years or more out of my laptop. And having my laptop die due to an overheating condition is not something I want to happen. 

So this is where laptop cooling pads come in. They provide upward cooling that can help immensely. Fans on the cooling pad push cool air upward into the bottom of the laptop. The cool air hits the bottom of the laptop case and helps cool the internal parts. When your laptop is engaged in a performance demanding processing the additional airflow hitting the bottom of the laptop case can help with performance throttling. When your laptop is engaged in incredibly demanding tasks the CPU and GPU temperatures rise. The extra airflow from the laptop cooling fans could potentially prolong the longevity of your laptop. If the vents on your laptop case line up with the fans on a laptop cooling pad even the better. But regardless even if they do not align your laptop will still benefit by the extra airflow.

Up until now, I mentioned fans that blow air at or into your laptop but there is another option. Another cooling option is a fan that sucks the air out of your laptop case. So instead of blowing air its sucking air and it is equally effective at cooling. You might even make an argument that’ the design is better due to the compact size. The bottom line is you are making the inside of your laptop much cooler by removing heat.

Cooling features I look for in a laptop cooling pad
Feature Description
Price Must be reasonably priced
Fan control Speed adjustment on fans
Portable My laptop is portable so should the cooling pad
Quiet Whisper quiet
Quality Must have excellent build quality
Cooling This is the reason why I am purchasing so it must have good air flow


These are a few laptop cooling pads that will help in cooling your laptop. And in some cases, if your laptop internal fan has died you might try one of these instead of having to take your laptop in for repair. Or at least it might buy you time until you can get it to a computer repair shop.

Recommended laptop cooling pads
Model My thoughts
Targus Laptop Chill Mat I like the fans are powered using a standard USB connection that can be connected to your laptop or computer using a mini-USB cable.
Thermaltake Massive 20 RGB I like the built‐in control panel for controlling lights, color mode and fan speeds.
Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim Ultra-Slim Powerful 180mm, thin and lightweight and a great price. My first choice!
Targus Portable Chill Hub and Chill Mat Dual fans and 4-Port hub.
Thermaltake Massive 14 Steel Mesh Adjustable fan speed and LED ON/OFF control.
Cooler Master NotePal X3 200mm fan with Built in fan speed controller.
Thermaltake Massive 23 LX Steel Mesh Panel Oversized 230mm ultra-quiet fan.
OPOLAR Laptop Fan Cooler with Temperature Display Displays the air temperature from your laptop vent. 13 speeds. Noise is less than 70dBm
Cooler Master NotePal U3 PLUS Elegant sand-blasted aluminum surface. Slim and lightweight. I like Can easily attach 120 mm fans if you do not like the fans that come with the pad.
Thermaltake Massive V20 Steel Mesh 200 millimeter LED fan with adjustable fan speed.


References
Core Temp
Photo by karsten madsen from Pexels

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