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If your computer is turning on by itself– you might suspect that it’s haunted. Rest assured, it’s not.
Below, we’ve gathered some common fixes for this problem.
One easy way to diagnose the issue is to run the Windows Command Prompt to figure out what was the last event to turn your computer on.
The way this works:
- Click the Start Menu
- Type in cmd.exe and press enter to launch the Command Prompt. (Or locate it in the System32 folder.)
- Once launched, type in “powercfg -lastwake” without the quotes and this will provide a description of the service that last woke your system.
You can read more about these powercfg command-line options over at Microsoft.com.
Once you figure out what program is waking your computer up, you can dive into Device Manager, or the specific program’s settings, to appropriately re-configure it.
11 Fixes For A Computer Turning Itself On
Solution #1 (Check Task Scheduler)
Over in the CNET support forums, one user complained that his custom-built personal computer was turning on by itself at night. One of the top solutions comes from a use who suggested examining your computer’s Task Scheduler. This will let you see if any software operations like disk defragmentation is scheduled to run late at night.
You can click the Start Menu, type in Task Scheduler, to examine scheduled tasks.
How to use Task Scheduler In Windows
Solution #2 (Update Settings)
Another user said that they fixed it within Control Panel- you’ll want to modify your update settings so that it checks for updates at a reasonable hour.
Solution #3 (Fast Startup)
Another user in the Microsoft Support community said that their Windows 10 operating system was activating itself at all hours- with nobody nearby. It wouldn’t stay off for more than a few hours at a time. One user suggested disabling fast startup.
- Navigate to Control Panel
- Power Options
- Choose what the power buttons do
- Change settings that are currently unavailable
- uncheck “Turn on fast startup (recommended)”
- save changes
Solution #4 (Wake Timers)
That same user said that you should examine your wake timers. Go to advanced power settings -> Sleep -> Allow wake timers and disable it.
Solution #5 (Automatic Restarts)
A Microsoft technician provided another system settings fix.
1. Navigate to Advanced System Settings (you can type it into Windows Search to locate it)
2. Next, select the Advanced tab.
3. Head over to Settings beneath Startup and Recovery.
4. Uncheck the mark on Automatically Restart and then click OK.
Solution #6 (A Bios Fix)
One user in Tom’s Hardware poster wrote that he was experiencing this midnight wakeup issue with his ASRock H170M-ITX/DL board. This board has the AMI BIOS.
The problem turns out to be a ‘BIOS feature’ that is default enabled, which permits your computer to power on from either the keyboard or a USB mouse.
The user clarifies that this isn’t the same as the computer waking up from sleep or hibernation. The fix this user suggests goes like this:
- Enter BIOS and change to the Advance Screen
- Head to ACPI Configuration
- Beneath PS/2 Keyboard Power On, switch to disabled
- Beneath USB Mouse Power On, switch to disable
- Exit and Save your Changes
How To Get Into The BIOS On Windows 10
Solution #7 (Close Programs)
Another Tom’s Hardware user said that the stunningly simple solution he came up with was closing all his programs before shutting down. Once he did that, the 3 am startups stopped!
Solution #8 (Another Bios Fix)
Another Tom’s Hardware user wrote that his computer would turn back on after shut off after 15 seconds.
The accepted solution came from a user who suggested the following fix: Check in BIOS options and see if in the power settings you have Restart System After Power Loss enabled “YES”. If it’s enabled- try switching it to “NO”.
Solution #9 (Network Cards)
Over in the Bleeping Computer forum, one user posted that his computer was turning on by itself. After using Speccy, which provided some useful system information, a tech speculated that the network card is set to wake on LAN because it’s probably doing updates.
They recommend opening Device Manager, finding your card, selecting Properties, then the Advanced tab. You should be able to locate the to turn it off there.
If you need some help working with Device Manager, check out the video below.
Windows 10 Basic Device manager and drivers explained
Solution #10 (Mouse Or Keyboard)
Over at SuperUser, a poster wrote that after going to bed, Windows 7 Pro computer would power on. He was wondering if he was undergoing some sort of malicious hack.
The top solution recommended scouring Device Manager for devices that are permitted to wake the computer up. It could be a network adapter, a mouse or a keyboard.
Additionally, there are scheduled tasks like backups that could be waking your computer in order to perform them.
A popular YouTube tech blogger recorded a solution. He says that when he wakes up in the morning, he had been discovering that his computer has already been started up.
When the night before he was a hundred percent certain he had put the personal PC to sleep, but by some means each morning it is already turned on.
So he believed there was clearly some kind of trouble with the hardware, however, he did a bit of analysis and determined that it was in reality merely a software problem.
He walks you through a ‘powercfg’ fix to help you diagnose and repair the problem.
Solution #11 (Power Troubleshooter)
Microsoft support shares the following solution: Power Troubleshooter will quickly help resolve some typical problems with Power Plans.
Run the Power troubleshooter to change your personal computer’s power settings.
The Power troubleshooter investigations things like your desktop’s timeout settings, which decide how long your computer waits before switching off the monitor display or getting into sleep mode.
Changing these configurations will help you conserve power and lengthen your personal computer’s battery lifespan.
- In Windows use the search option to type “Troubleshooting”.
- Choose Troubleshooting and then click System and Security.
- Head over to Power and carry out the onscreen steps.
Ryan is a computer enthusiast who has a knack for fixing difficult and technical software problems. Whether you’re having issues with Windows, Safari, Chrome or even an HP printer, Ryan helps out by figuring out easy solutions to common error codes.