Dear Computer Lady,
My daughters computer recently shut down. That is, she was downloading a file and all of a sudden her computer began to slowly shut down as if it was slowly losing power. Now she can’t even turn it on! We initially thought it was the power source but have unplugged everything and bypassed the power strip and plugged it directly into the wall outlets (which does have “juice”) but with no luck.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much! Bruce
First, this answer assumes that your daughter’s computer is a desktop, not a laptop.
You are probably on the right track thinking about the power.
Since you have already ruled out the power strip and you know that the wall outlet does have power, there is one other thing you need to get checked.
Your computer has a component inside called a power supply. The power supply is a box that takes the AC from your wall outlet and converts it to the small DC currents that the computer needs to operate. This power supply also absorbs any spikes in the flow of AC into your computer. (I don’t recommend that you rely just on this power supply to protect your computer from the fluctuations in AC power, I always use a good UPS [Uninterruptible Power Supply] for my computer.)
Often, a computer power supply will wear out from absorbing the many small spikes and surges that are often coming into your house through the power lines. If this is what has happened to your daughter’s computer, you can take it to your local computer shop and they will be able to replace the power supply for you. (They will test first to make sure this is indeed the problem). This is a repair that I do for my customers quite often.
In the future, you can protect your computer in the following ways:
1. Always unplug your computer during thunderstorms. Even the best surge strip will not protect you from a nearby lightening strike.
2. Always unplug your computer when the power goes out. When the power comes back on, it often comes on with a surge that can damage sensitive equipment like your computer.
3. Invest in a good UPS. Instead of depending on your computer’s internal power supply, I would suggest that you get a good UPS. It is a heavy duty surge suppressor with a battery that will switch on when the power sags or turns off. This will protect your computer in the event of the lights flickering on and off, and also give you time to shut down your computer correctly when the power goes out. Once you have shut down your computer, unplug the UPS until after the power comes back on.