How To Fix A Computer Restarting On Shutdown

A computer that restarts instead of shutting down can be frustrating. I’ll show you as much as possible to eliminate this problem.

Common causes include an old or faulty power supply, overheating or malfunctioning hardware, BIOS/Firmware issues, viruses or malware, driver issues, settings, or Windows Updates in progress.

Covering various causes will give you the best chance to eliminate the problem, seeing as every situation is different.

Tip: Try to apply one change at a time and shut down/turn on your computer twice to test if it worked.

Fixing a Computer Restarting on Shutdown

Follow our guide for you to follow to narrow down the cause of the problem.

Does a software or hardware issue cause it?

Computer restarting on shutdown.

This step can save you lots of time. You will be able to determine whether you have a setting in Windows causing reboots, BIOS settings, or hardware components misbehaving.

Although I won’t say this is a necessary step as it’s a little technical and not a perfect result every time.

This method involves installing a live operating system on a USB flash drive.

Tip: Before you begin, take note of important settings in your BIOS like boot drive priorities, SATA mode, etc. and clear the BIOS back to default. I highly recommend unplugging your PC from power and removing the CMOS battery for 2 minutes.

Get any USB flash drive you can back up and format clean.

  1. Visit the Pen Drive Linux site and download and run the USB installer software to prepare the drive with a live version of Ubuntu. They also show you how to perform the installation step by step.
  2. Boot from it once you’ve finished setting it up. Usually, you can keep pressing F12 for most computers on the post screen to open the boot menu to select the USB drive as a boot device as a once-off.
  3. Once the live version of Ubuntu has loaded, select shut down from the drop-down menu on the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If your computer shuts down correctly, while Windows doesn’t, you will want to focus on the Windows setting fixes portion of this article.

If nothing changes, and your computer still restarts on shut down, then focus on the hardware causes and diagnose the hardware components area of this article.

Changing Windows settings to fix it

Several Windows settings can cause this problem. The first one I mentioned has been the most common culprit I’ve personally found.

Change the Registry setting for PowerdownAfterShutdown

  1. Open the Registry Editor. (In the Start Menu type regedit and click on the Control Panel app.)
  2. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  3. Right-click on PowerdownAfterShutdown and click on Modify… .
  4. If the value data is 0, change it to 1. If the value data is 1, change it to 0.
  5. Then click on OK.
  6. Close the Registry Editor and shut down your computer.

Turn your computer back on, then try shutting it down again to test the change.

Turn off the automatic restart option when a system failure occurs

One of the ways that a computer can reboot on shutdown is when there is a system failure, and Windows is set to restart when this happens automatically.

If this is the case, it will most likely exhibit a blue screen issue instead of shutting down.

Here are the steps to turn it off:

  1. Open the Control Panel. (Press the Windows key + R. Type in control and press enter or return.)
  2. Search for system in the Control Panel’s search bar.
  3. Click on View advanced system settings.
  4. Click on the Settings button next under Startup and Recovery.
  5. Under the System Failure area in the newly opened panel, uncheck the Automatically restart option.

Turn off the hibernation feature

To turn off hibernation, the easiest way is as follows:

  1. Open the Command Prompt with Admin privileges. (Windows key + R, then type in cmd and press enter.)
  2. Type in powercfg /h off and press enter.

You will also save some disk space by turning this off.

Check the behavior of the power button setting

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Search for power in the search bar.
  3. Click on Change what the power buttons do.
  4. Select Shut down in the drop-down menu.

Although this won’t affect the shutdown procedure overall and is simply there for the power button on your computer, it’s still best to have this set to shut down unless there is a specific reason not to.

Disable fast startup

This is the least likely to cause issues, but it’s still recommended to give it a try to disable fast startup in power options.

Note: This option will still only be present if you have chosen to opt out of disabling hibernation.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Search for power in the search bar.
  3. Click on Change what the power buttons do.
  4. Click on the blue text: Change settings that are currently unavailable.
  5. Uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended).


A coin cell CMOS battery in a socket on a motherboard.

You can eliminate a few things when trying to eliminate the BIOS causing the restart problem.

Note down all your important settings first. Some of these may include:

  1. Overclocking: All settings with memory profiles, CPU speed, or other clock speeds.
  2. Hard drive boot order: It is important to ensure the machine boots off the correct drive every time it’s powered on.
  3. SATA mode: There is usually a feature to change between IDE mode and AHCI. You will get a blue screen if it’s set to the incorrect one at startup.
  4. Date and Time: Correct the date and time if you have done a complete clear CMOS procedure by removing your battery while the computer has been removed from power (which I recommend).

I recommend clearing all BIOS settings by unplugging the computer from the power outlet and removing the CMOS battery.

After a 2-minute waiting period, install a new CMOS battery and enter the BIOS setup.

Tip: If your computer won’t boot into Windows afterward, restore the settings you noted down that has anything to do with the boot drive order or SATA mode.

Update the BIOS

It’s also a good idea to update the BIOS to eliminate the possibility of a bug causing the issue.

The motherboard manufacturer will have BIOS updates and the required tool to perform the update.

Perform a Google search for the make and model of your motherboard to find the result that takes you to the manufacturer’s relevant page.

Hardware causes

Here are the most common hardware components causing this kind of issue that I’ve seen:

  1. Motherboard: Find a second-hand working one for the cheapest repair. Otherwise, a new one can be an option if you can still use your old RAM and CPU.
  2. Power Supply: They are relatively cheap, and it’s always a good idea to replace them after 5 years. Not to mention having a spare known working one goes a long way in diagnosing problems.

Unfortunately, there aren’t reliable/simple testing methods that you could employ on a motherboard or power supply that will give a definite result that it is the cause of the rebooting problem. Unless there is something significantly faulty that makes it easier to diagnose.


Motherboards have been the most common hardware cause (in my personal experience) of a computer restart when shutting down. Many motherboard components can fail to cause this fault.

It would be a very complex task to diagnose problems on a component level and best left to a competent professional, which is hardly worth it in most cases.

One obvious sign that your motherboard is approaching the end of its life, in general, is finding bulging capacitors.

It is also true that a motherboard can continue to run just fine with bulged capacitors, but it’s clear evidence showing that it has aged significantly.

Bulging capacitors.

Power supply

As mentioned before, after the age of around 5 years, it is good practice to replace the power supply with a new one.

It will keep the rest of the components in your computer running happier and promote their longevity.

Test the hard drive or SSD and run the system file checker

To test the hard drive, download, install, and run a program called Crystal Disk Info to check its health.

If the drive tests fine, open the Command Prompt and type in:

sfc /scannow

and press enter.

If certain problems cannot be repaired with the scan, consider backup up important files and settings and performing a fresh Windows installation.

RAM Modules

Pull one out at a time to eliminate the RAM modules, and try a shutdown test with one installed module at a time.

If you get the computer to shut down normally with one of the modules removed, find some replacement RAM for a permanent repair.

I also recommend cleaning your RAM contacts. A common issue is dirty RAM contacts that cause system failures, such as random computer restarts.


I have personally encountered this problem many times. Usually, with older hardware, however, software problems can also creep in at any time.

If you are convinced that it isn’t a hardware issue, your last option to try is to perform a system reset. You can do this by opening the Start Menu and Settings app. Select System, Recovery, and then the Reset PC button next to Reset this PC.

I hope I have delivered enough information for you to get rid of this unwanted rebooting problem and get your computer shutting down reliably for good.