Your computer may run into many power-related issues, such as the system not turning on or restarting by itself.
Among these issues, the computer turning on by itself may be a highly unlikely issue that seems weird and unsolvable.
The issue happens especially when you put the computer to sleep.
However, a wide range of factors can cause your computer to turn on without you being involved.
This article covers all these factors and how you can resolve them.
PC Turns On By Itself (Causes, Fixes)
1. Fast Startup
Fast startup is a built-in Windows feature that allows you to boot up your computer fast by putting the system in a powered-down state between hibernation and shutdown.
As a result, your computer isn’t completely shut off, and the Windows kernel is saved on the hard drive to speed up booting.
However, the fast startup feature can cause different issues for your computer, although it’s generally a harmless Windows feature.
Since the computer doesn’t truly shut down in the fast startup mode, you may run into issues like the PC turning on by itself.
How To Fix
If Fast Startup is causing your PC to turn on itself, the simple fix is to disable it.
Right-click the Start button and select Power Options.
You can also access it in the Control Panel if you can’t find it there.
On the right side, click the “Choose what the power buttons do” link and select “Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
Remove the checkmark next to Turn on fast startup (recommended) and save changes.
2. Scheduled Wake
Windows has a feature that automatically turns on the computer at a certain time every day.
This feature is perfect for those who use their PC for work and want it to turn on at a fixed time.
In addition, you can schedule a certain task, such as a Windows update, and get Windows to wake the system and get the task done.
It saves your time by hibernating the system when it’s idle and waking the system up when you schedule.
Whether you’ve enabled this feature intentionally or by accident, it may cause your PC to turn on by itself.
How To Fix
You can simply disable the scheduled wake-up feature and see if your issue goes away.
Here’s how to do it:
Under Preferred plans, click on Change plan settings in front of Balanced (recommended).
If you have a laptop, you’ll see two options for when the computer is on battery and when it’s plugged in.
Select Disabled for both options and click Ok to save changes.
Now, you can turn off your system to see if it turns on by itself.
A. Remove Scheduled Tasks
If you have already set scheduled tasks, try removing these tasks and see if it helps.
Type Task Scheduler in Cortana’s search box and press Enter.
Select the first result and then Task Scheduler Library.
Go to the Conditions tab and uncheck Wake computer to run this task.
You could also disable the task if you don’t need it by right-clicking the task and selecting Disable.
Alternatively, click on Properties and select Delete.
B. Scheduled Updates
Another scheduled task that can automatically turn on your computer is scheduled updates.
Scheduled updates set a specific time for Windows updates, and if your system is in the sleep or hibernation modes, it will wake up the computer to install the updates.
You can disable these scheduled updates and see if it solves your issue.
To do so, type Local group policy editor in the taskbar’s search box and press Enter.
Alternatively, you could open the Run box by pressing Windows and R keys and typing gpedit.msc.
In the new window that pops up, click on Computer Configuration to open the menu.
Here, you should expand different menus to get to Windows Updates.
Click Administrative Templates under Computer Configuration and select Windows Components.
Here, you can scroll down to Windows Updates and select it.
In the right pane, you can see a list of options to enable or disable for Windows updates.
Scroll down to find Enabling Windows Update Power Management to wake up the system to install scheduled updates automatically.
Double-click this option to open a pop-up window and select Disabled.
Click Apply to save changes.
C. Third-Party Apps
While the task scheduler feature is a good Windows tool that helps users wake their computers at a specific time, some third-party apps do the same.
You may use these apps because they’re more straightforward and automate the wake-up schedule more easily.
If you use one of these apps, it may be the culprit turning on your computer by itself.
Uninstall the app and see if it helps.
3. Automatic Restart
Automatic restart is a Windows feature that helps the computer restart when it crashes or has a blue screen of death.
Suppose you have your computer on standby and the system crashes.
In that case, the system will automatically restart, and you think the system has turned on by itself.
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How To Fix
You can fix this issue by disabling Automatic Restart.
Some experts suggest disabling this feature permanently to prevent the system from restarting when it crashes.
This way, you can see the error message that tells you what’s wrong with the system and what triggered the crash.
Here’s how to disable automatic restart:
Right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
In the Settings window, click on Advanced system settings on the right panel.
Go to the Advanced tab and click on Settings under Startup and Recovery.
In the new window, go to System failure and uncheck Automatically restart.
4. Automatic Maintenance
Windows built-in Automatic Maintenance is another feature that may lead your computer to start on its own.
This native Windows feature automatically takes care of optimizing your system and keeping it healthy.
It runs once a day to perform these maintenance tasks, including updates, defragmentation, or security scans.
This feature runs when your computer is on, but you don’t use it actively.
If it’s scheduled when your computer is off, you’ll miss optimization on that specific day.
As a result, some users schedule the maintenance routine at a specific time that they’re sure their computer is on.
If your computer is on Sleep, system maintenance will turn the computer on to optimize your system.
How To Fix
You can disable Automatic Maintenance to prevent the system from waking up by itself.
Here’s how to do it:
Expand the menu under Maintenance and go to Automatic Maintenance.
Select Change maintenance settings and uncheck Allow scheduled maintenance to wake up my computer at the scheduled time.
Click Ok to save changes.
5. Hardware That Can Wake Your Computer
When your computer is in sleep mode, you can use different hardware to wake it.
These devices include mice, keyboards, network and wireless adapters with the Wake on LAN feature, and the laptop’s touchpad.
If these devices are accidentally moved, your PC will turn on automatically.
How To Fix
You can disable the hardware and peripherals that can wake your PC and see if it helps with your issue.
At first, you need to see which devices can wake your computer via the command prompt.
Type “command prompt” in the taskbar’s search box and right-click the first result.
Select Run as administrator to open the command prompt window.
Type powercfg -devicequery wake_armed in the command line to see the list of hardware that can wake your PC.
You can also see which hardware last woke your PC to get a better idea of what to disable and what to keep.
Type the following command in the command line:
And press Enter.
After discovering which devices can be problematic, you can disable their ability to wake the PC via Device Manager.
Go to Device Manager by typing it in the search box and find the problematic device in the list.
For example, if it’s the mouse, expand the menu under Mice and other pointing devices and right-click your mouse.
Select Properties and go to the Power Management tab.
Disable Allow this device to wake the computer by unchecking the box next to it.
You can repeat the same steps for all the devices and peripherals that can wake your computer.
A. Wake On LAN
If you need to wake your computer remotely for gaming or business, you may have enabled Wake on LAN for your network adaptors.
Many users have reported that the ethernet cable is behind this issue.
If you think the network adaptors are causing the PC to turn on accidentally, you can disable this feature, too.
You should also go to the Advanced tab, and under Property, select Wake on Magic Packet.
Expand the menu under Value, and select Disabled.
If you can’t disable it in the Device Manager, you can do it via the BIOS.
To enter the BIOS menu, restart your computer and press the manufacturer-specific key as the computer boots.
Once you enter the BIOS, go to the Power Management tab.
Depending on your system, you may need to find it under different menus, so you may need to dig deeper or search the internet for your specific brand.
The Wake on LAN option may also be differently phrased on different systems, so you may need to consult your user manual.
While you’re in the BIOS menu, you may also want to disable SATA Power Management.
It’s a feature that allows SATA-connected devices to come back to power from standby, but it can cause your computer to turn on by itself.
6. Hardware Issues
Your computer may turn on by itself not because of software that wakes it but because of purely hardware-related issues.
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Different hardware components can cause this problem, but the most likely culprit is the power button.
Since it’s a piece of hardware used frequently, it may go faulty or get stuck, especially if the system is old.
How To Fix
At first, you should determine whether the power button is stuck or it’s faulty.
Inspect the power button physically to make sure it’s not stuck.
You may also want to clean it by running a toothpick around it to remove any dirt or debris built up around the button.
Use a damp microfiber cloth to clean it thoroughly.
After making sure the power button isn’t sticky, you need to ensure it’s working properly.
To do so, power off the computer and disconnect all the cables and peripherals.
Press and hold the power button for a few seconds to drain the remaining charge.
Disconnect the power switch from the motherboard and locate the two pins that the power button was plugged into.
Place a flathead screwdriver on these two pins and check and turn on the computer.
If it doesn’t, the power button may be faulty.
You may also want to test your power supply using the paperclip test.
You’ll need a paperclip bent into a U shape to perform the test.
Turn off the power supply unit by flipping the switch on the back of the case to 0.
Unplug the power supply unit from the motherboard and locate the green cable going into pin 16 on the 24-pin connector.
Connect the pins 16 and 17 by inserting each end of the paperclip into one pin.
Pin 16 has a green wire plugged into it, and pin 17 has a black wire.
Turn on the power supply unit by flipping its switch to position 1 and see if it turns on.
If it doesn’t turn on, the power supply unit has an issue, and you need to replace it.
Another power-related hardware you need to check is the power socket.
If the power socket or the surge protector is faulty, you may experience power surges that cause the computer to turn on or off by itself.
Plug your computer into another socket and see if the computer turns on by itself again.
If you don’t experience the issue, you should switch to another power outlet.
You may also want to inspect all the physical connections inside the case to ensure there are no frayed wires or weak connections.
Look for any visible damage or loose connections and ensure all the components are correctly plugged in.
If wires are touching each other or other components, they may cause power issues that turn on the computer by accident.
If your motherboard has a reset button, check it to ensure it’s not stuck or another component is pushing against it.
7. Other Issues
If none of the above solutions worked, try the following and see if it helps.
A. Virus And Malware Infection
If your computer is infected with a virus or other malware, you may experience different symptoms, including power issues.
In extremely rare cases, hackers may have control of your system and force it to turn on.
It doesn’t hurt to run a full system scan to detect any vulnerabilities or threats that may have caused the issue.
You can use Windows built-in Defender if you don’t have a third-party anti-malware program.
B. Pending Updates
If your system isn’t up-to-date, you may experience issues for which you can’t find any specific causes.
Your Windows may have issues or bugs that Microsoft resolves through frequent updates.
You must ensure that your entire OS and other hardware drivers are updated.
You can make sure your Windows is updated via System Settings.
Right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
Click windows Updates and select check for updates.
If there are any new updates available, install them.
Make sure to check optional updates, too.
C. Run The Troubleshooter
If you can’t find any specific cause for your computer turning on by itself, you can rely on Windows built-in troubleshooter to detect it.
Open the Windows Settings app and click on Troubleshoot on the left pane.
Select Additional troubleshooters and scroll down to Power.
Click on it and select Run the troubleshooter.
If Windows finds any issues, it may suggest solutions, so follow the on-screen prompts to solve the problem.
D. Shutdown Issues
It may seem like an unlikely cause, but your computer may not have turned off in the first place.
If you use the power button to power off the computer, it may not shut down because of the above-mentioned power button issues.
You may want to wait until the computer shuts off completely if you use the Start button to turn it off.
A corrupt file or program may prevent the system from shutting down.
Stick around and check for any messages that indicate a program is preventing Windows from shutting down.