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A laptop makes your life easier because it goes anywhere you go. One of the problems you might have with a PC is that it shuts down and won’t come back on unless you unplug it. Check out the causes of the problem and possible solutions as well as why you should never unplug a PC that’s on and how to protect your data.

It would be best to look at why your computer shuts off and won’t work unless you unplug it and the solutions that can get it running again with its power cord.

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5 Common Causes of PC Power Issues

Is there anything more frustrating than seeing your PC decide to shut down in the middle of a project? While that situation is rough, it becomes even worse if you discover that the PC won’t work unless you unplug it. Take a look at some of the common reasons why this happens to computers.

1. Static Electricity

Static electricity is just one of the culprits behind your PC power issue. Do you feel shocks when you walk through your house and touch electronics like your TV or computer? The cause often relates to your flooring. There is also a chance that your PC has a buildup of static electricity.

2. Faulty Hardware

Before you start freaking out or worrying about buying a new PC, check your power cord. Power cords are susceptible to damage, especially if you take a PC with you or have a habit of tripping over it.

Make sure it looks good and doesn’t show any visible signs of damage or wear and tear. You can then unplug the PC and check the outlet you use, whether it’s in the wall or a surge protector.

Try plugging in a lamp or another device to see if the outlet works. You can also use a multimeter to check the voltage of the outlet.

3. Dirty Parts

Dirty parts and components are another problem that can make your PC not work unless it’s unplugged. While the vents on your computer do a good job releasing the hot air inside, they also attract a lot of debris around your house like pet dander and dust.

Skin cells and pet or human hair can also get inside. When the debris builds up on your components, they have a hard time working the way they should.

4. Bad Wiring

Did you recently buy a new PC and find that it only works when you unplug it? Now is the time to stop reading and contact the manufacturer. Whether this is a known issue or one they never heard of, your warranty requires that the company find a solution for the problem.

This will include either sending you a new PC or paying for repairs at an authorized repair center. If your PC is no longer under warranty, go ahead and open the case to check the wiring. Pay attention to loose connections and missing wires.

5. High Temperatures

No matter where you use your PC, high temperatures can make it shut down. Though this usually lets you use the computer once it cools down, it can prevent you from using it unless you unplug it first.

When your PC gets too hot , you will hear a whirring noise coming from the case, which is a sign that the fans need to work harder to keep the components inside cool. You will also feel some heat coming off the case. PCs can also release warning messages, too.

How to Fix a PC That Won’t Work Unless Unplugged

Two easy ways to fix a PC that won’t turn on unless you unplug it includes changing the outlet and the power cable. If you have a faulty outlet or surge protector, you should not keep using it. Always replace your surge protector after 3 to 5 years of use, even if you think it still works.

Outlets are harder to replace, but you’ll find online videos that show you how to do it. An electrician can usually replace an outlet in about an hour. If you have a faulty power cord, buy a new one from the manufacturer.

1. Reseat Your Connections

Reseating is the best way to fix faulty wiring in your PC. Remove any of the peripherals that you usually use before you open the case. Reseat any connections you find that are loose and replace any missing wiring.

Now is also a good time to check for wiring that looks worn or shows some signs of wear and tear. Just make sure you use the right wiring and voltage for each area. You can also replace any wiring that causes electrical shorts.

2. Get Rid of Excess Power

If you have static electricity around your home, you need to try getting rid of the excess power from your PC. Unplug all of the cables and cords that you have on the PC. Make sure the computer is off before you press and hold the power button. This causes the PC to release all of the static electricity inside it. Go ahead and turn the PC back on to see if it works right.

3. Clean Your PC

Cleaning your PC is an easy way to get rid of the buildup that affects your power supply. You should try this step if your computer keeps running hot or overheats.

Once you turn off the computer and unplug all peripherals and cables, you can spray canned air through the vents on your laptop. If you have a desktop, remove the panel from your case and spray the air in the areas where you see buildup. You can also pay a tech to clean your PC.

4. Cool It Down

Cooling down your PC may help with the problems you experience. This solution will only work if you have a computer that overheats or runs hotter than it should. Try to move it as far away from any vents and windows as you can.

The heat that comes through the windows can increase the internal temperature by a few degrees or more. Vents release a lot of heat, increasing the PC’s temperature. If you have a laptop, a cooling mat may offer some relief. You can also use fans that sit near your vents.

Can Unplugging Your PC When It’s On Damage It?

No, you cannot and should not unplug your PC when it’s on because this can damage it. When your power button stops working, you’ll likely look for an alternative way to shut down your computer.

This button can become stuck or stop operating all together. While you may feel tempted to pull the power cord right out of the wall, never unplug a PC until you turn it off.

What Happens When you Unplug Your PC?

When you shut down your PC, it closes all of the apps and programs currently running. The process usually takes 60 seconds or less but can take much more time if you have multiple apps open.

If you unplug the computer, it will cause all of those apps and programs to stop immediately. Your PC will not save any of the data it didn’t yet save.

Take for example, what happens when you pull the plug from a PC with a word editing app open. Any content you added since your last saved point will not be there when you turn the PC on again.

Your PC will also need to resolve itself the next time you turn it on. It needs to find any temporary changes you made and weed them out from the permanent changes.

You may also experience a problem called a hard crash. Which happens when your PC goes from a rapid pace to a complete stop. Not only can this lead to data loss, but it can also prevent you from ever turning on your computer again.

Incomplete files are another problem that can occur when you don’t safely shut down your PC. If the computer is turned off while you had files open, it can consider them incomplete files when you restart your system. If you’re lucky, the computer will save old versions of your files or even save the most recent version you made.

There is a big chance that you’ll find corrupted files on your hard drive. These files usually show a lot of random symbols and not any of the work you did. You also risk seeing a serious repair that may require expert or professional help.

How Can You Turn Off Your PC?

If you have a PC with a power button that stops working, you can turn it off and restart it without using it. Most Windows PCs have a “Start” button on your screen’s lower left-hand corner. After you click on this button, select the “Power” option. From here, you can either restart your PC or turn it off.

You can also use “Alt” and “F4” on some systems, such as Windows 7 or 8. When you press both buttons simultaneously, Windows brings up a new screen that lets you either restart or shut down your PC.

Can You Use the Power Button to Shut down a Computer?

Yes, you can use the power button to shut a PC down. Usually located on the upper right-hand side of the keyboard on your laptop, holding the button down for a second or less is an easy way to turn your computer off.

You should see your PC going through the shutdown steps and closing any open apps. If you hold the power button down for up to 10 seconds or longer, you tell the computer to shut down immediately without going through the full process. Desktops have a power button located near the top of their towers.


What Data Can I Lose From PC Crashes?

A computer crash will not necessarily cause you to lose all of your data. You should be fine if you closed all of your programs and saved your work before the system crashed. It depends on whether you experience a hardware crash or a software crash. A software crash occurs when an app or program has an error/issue that causes it to shut down.

Software crashes can happen when you have too many tabs open in your web browser, or you try to use multiple apps simultaneously, which uses a lot of your system’s resources. Most of the damage these crashes do only happen to the files used by the software.

A hardware crash is more dangerous because it can damage any hardware you use. A power surge is one of the leading causes of hardware crashes .

Using a surge protector keeps you safe from this problem, which causes a large amount of power to run through your PC. Lightning strikes are another example of an issue that can cause a hardware crash. Hardware crashes are usually rarer than software crashes.

You have a chance of losing all of the data on your PC because of a computer crash. This includes family photos and videos that you didn’t save anywhere else and papers that you wrote in school.

If you’re a gamer, there’s a chance you’ll lose the original games you downloaded as well as the progress you made in each one. A computer crash can also wipe out your apps and programs.

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How Can You Avoid Losing All Your Data if Your Computer Crashes?

When your PC crashes, you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You don’t know if the computer will still have all your data when you turn it on or if you’ll see a blue screen and a flashing cursor. Check out the best ways to avoid losing your data during a crash to ensure that you retain all of your files.

1. Always Keep a Backup

Many PC users don’t think about backing up their files until a crash happens and they lose all of their data. You should back up all of your files at least once a month and as often as every week or daily. External hard drives are just one option. They come in sizes that are big enough to save all of your data, even if you are a big-time gamer.

A USB thumb drive has less storage but allows you to keep a backup stored in a safe spot. You can also invest in cloud storage, which lets you access your files from different devices as long as you use the right password and email address.

2. Use Anti-Virus Software

Never listen to people who claim you don’t need anti-virus software. You absolutely need anti-virus software on your PC, no matter what you do with it. Are you a gamer who plays online and downloads games? Anti-virus software keeps you from snagging a game that has a virus hidden inside it.

If you spend a lot of time online, you’ll love that you get protection each time you visit a new site. Anti-virus software will also alert you of any issues it finds that can affect your operating system or power supply.

3. Avoid Overheating

You can usually diagnose an overheating PC when you pick up one of three common signs. Those signs include the PC makes loud noises when you turn it on, it feels hot when you touch it, and the computer has fans that run all of the time.

Even if the fans shut off now and then, they’ll likely kick on when you open an app or try to keep a few tabs open on your browser. As soon as your PC exhibits one of these signs, shut it down and let it rest until it cools off.

4. Make Smart Choices

While you know you should not open an email claiming you won a huge prize, you might not use as much caution when you receive emails that look like they come from reputable sources.

Scammers often send emails that look almost exactly like those sent by banks. They ask for your account login details and direct you to a site that drains your bank account before you know it. Never open any link or attachment that looks slightly suspicious.

Use just as much caution when you’re online, too. If a site looks too good to be true, avoid it. You’ll find sites claiming they offer free downloads of popular video games and movies but attach malware to your PC. Be smart when it comes to deleting files, too.

Never delete any file you do not recognize or remember seeing before because they may relate to your OS. Avoid eating or drinking around your computer as well, no matter how hungry or thirsty you feel. It only takes a split second for you to drop food on your keyboard or knock over a drink that spills inside your PC case.


Computer crashes happen every hour and every hour of the week, but with some solid tips, you can protect your data. Learning how to stop crashes can also help you avoid the problem of a PC that shuts down and won’t turn on unless you unplug it first.