Troubleshooting A Randomly Rebooting PC

PC troubleshootingMost troubleshooting tasks are unambiguous in terms of a solution. However problems such as randomly rebooting PCs require solutions to be applied that aren’t always apparent. As one gains more experience and becomes more confident in troubleshooting computer and network issues, solutions that are based on past experience often present themselves. The is no short cut to gaining experience and the more troubleshooting you do the more skilled you’ll become and the more solutions you will know.


You receive a trouble ticket saying that for the past several days, one of the computers in the Accounts Receivable department has been spontaneously rebooting. You are assigned to investigate.

Scope of Task


The amount of time required to accomplish this task will vary depending on the cause and solution. Under ideal circumstances, it should take an hour or so


As you will see when you progress through the steps, this issue is difficult to simulate and would require that you be presented with a PC that is actually experiencing this symptom.


Troubleshooting any computer problem involves both drawing on your experience and a certain amount of trial and error. As you gain experience you will be able to assess a particular problem in terms of the most likely cause. You can then test to see whether your assumption is correct. If so, you can implement the solution and resolve the issue. If not, you can move on to the next most likely cause and test for that. Sometimes however, the cause ends up being something unexpected.


This task will show you how to diagnose the cause of spontaneous reboots on a computer.

Equipment Used

Often when you begin troubleshooting a task, you don’t immediately know what tools or equipment will be needed. In this case, in order to successfully resolve the issue, you’ll need a screwdriver and ESD protection.


This task will take you through the steps of diagnosing the cause of a computer spontaneously rebooting, determining the solution, and repairing the computer.

  1. Locate the user of the computer
  2. Have the user explain in detail the nature of the problem. Before even touching the computer, it is important to get as many details about the issue as possible from the user. The following list includes some of the questions to ask in this situation
    1. When did the problem begin?
    2. Were any changes made to the hardware, software, or configuration settings of the computer just prior to the problem occuring the first time?
    3. How often does the computer spontaneously reboot?
    4. What tasks is the user performing just prior to a reboot?
    5. Is there anything that the user does on the computer that decreases or increases the frequency of the reboots

Once this basic information has been gathered it should be possible to use intuition and experience to identify the problem and solve the issue.