Why Does My Computer Turn on and Start up by Itself?

Updated on September 3, 2018
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Why Does My Computer Turn On By Itself?
Why Does My Computer Turn On By Itself?

Does your desktop computer suddenly turn on at the same time each day? Does it randomly power-up during the night? Could it be a problem with the computer itself, a weird glitch, a ghost or something completely different?

You are not alone.

Hundreds of people have reported this event. Some claim their computer ‘wakes’ out of hibernation, or sleep mode and others are adamant that it turns on completely of its own doing.

Media Centre Updates: Check that you do not have any any media updates scheduled.

  • Open Media Center and click on Tasks > General > Automatic Download Options
  • Un-tick "Automatically download Windows Media Center data between the following times".
  • Click Save.

Device Manager: Check there are no wake up settings activated.

  • Go to Device Manager > double click or right click onto Network adapter.
  • Click onto your network device
  • Select Properties > Power Management tab
  • Un-tick "Allow this device to wake the computer"
  • Then press OK.

Power Button: If your computer is old, could your power button be broken or slightly stuck?

Power Surge: Check that the power socket is not faulty. Try moving to a different location with a different power supply.

Virus: Your computer could have a virus of some sort. Run a full system scan on your computer.

Possible Causes Of Your Computer Turning On By Itself

When we are talking about a computer turning on, we need to assume that we are referring to a computer that is suddenly woken up from ‘sleep’.

Scheduled Updates: Windows operating systems have tasks scheduled to run automatically. Take a look at the ‘task scheduler’ on your computer.

  • Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Scheduled Tasks.
  • If yours is set to check for updates everyday at 2 AM, change that time to something less disruptive. Consider changing the frequency also, or alternatively turning the automatic updates off.

A BIOS issue: You can enter the BIOS area by restarting your computer and immediately pressing the Delete key repeatedly until you enter the BIOS Utility Screen.

  • Once you are in BIOS, go to the Power Options
  • Scroll down to Wake On LAN and/or Wake On Ring and change the setting to ‘disable’.
  • Press F10 and then choose YES to save and exit
  • Your computer should restart and the problem should be fixed.
  • Alternatively, in BIOS, go to "Power Management" and look at the "Wake Up on Alarm" or Auto Time On. It might be set to a daily event. Simply disable it.

Shutdown Issues: Shutdown problems in Windows can be caused by many factors including incompatible hardware, conflicting programs, or even a damaged driver. As a result, on shutdown, the system automatically reboots itself. Anything compromising the operating system during the shutdown could force this reboot.

  • To stop this occurring, you need to ‘disable the “restart on system failure” feature.
  • Right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click the Advanced tab.
  • Then under “Startup & Recovery,” click on Settings and under “System Failure,” untick the box in front of “Automatically restart.”

Why Does My Computer Take So Long To Shut Down?

Is your computer having a really hard time shutting down? Does the hourglass continue to display along with the 'Windows is shutting down' message?

Possible Reasons:

  • You may have a lot of active applications running in the background which all need to be turned off in order before total shutdown.
  • You may have a virus or malware. Run your anti-virus software
  • You may have low memory or limited operating space. Try clearing out old files, temp internet files and run the defrag option to fix your computer's 'filing' system.
  • Your computer could actually be freezing. So you may need to investigate that option also.

Are you absolutely sure that no one in your home turned on the computer, or may have used it after you and didn’t turn it off properly? Are you sure that instead of powering down you accidentally put it into sleep mode?

A computer shouldn’t go from off to on without you triggering it unless it’s something accidental or a glitch. In which case that would be very rare.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 AnswerQuestions


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    • profile image


      11 months ago

      Ive have a similar problem, where my laptop would sometimes randomly turn on by itself, even after being shut down, i have checked for any wake timers, but wasnt able to find any, and the "powercfg lastwake" command told me that the laptop was turned on using a power button,even though i checked it straight after it turned on, all of this got me thinking that my pc might be part of a botnet, but what is strange, is that the cpu usage, was quite low after the pc being turned on, so if it is a "zombie" then what is the purpose of it, if the hacker isnt using any cpu power? after doing a full pc virus scan, which prooved negative, i began to get very concerned of why is this happening.

    • profile image


      15 months ago


      My CPU shuts before windows could load, the fan takes two to three rounds and then restarts again.

    • profile image

      Annonamous 2 years ago This is the ONLY information I've found similar to my problem but it doesn't help me but ma 

      4 years ago

      Annonamous 2 years ago

      This is the ONLY information I've found similar to my problem but it doesn't help me but ma

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is the ONLY information I've found similar to my problem but it doesn't help me but maybe someone can give me an answer. One night at like 3 am my LAP TOP turned on and started up all on it's own. It was completely turned off but it was connected to the charger. Was not in sleep mode. I'm not sure if it is something to worry about but it kinda freaked me out a little bit. Made me think of hackers or something.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My laptop occasionally turns on by itself. Turns out that occasionally the USB keyboard sends a wakeup signal that brings it out of sleep mode. Solution: shut down, or disconnect the keyboard on going to sleep.

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 

      7 years ago

      Interesting hub. I didn't know it was actually possible for a computer to turn on by itself. But if that happened to people, it would be a cause for wonder and confusion. It's good that you provided the possible causes and solutions for this. Can laptops also turn on by themselves? And I suppose that if a computer is unplugged or if a laptop is out of battery, then there's no way it can turn on by itself?

    • leeba ann varghes profile image

      Leeba Ann Varghese 

      7 years ago from India

      Interesting hub..


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