Thirty years into the age of personal computers, there are not too many weird errors and occurrences that the average user is yet to see. Computers stall, they freeze, they make giant whirring noises, sound alarms, ping warnings, and tells us in their maddening calmness that it’s time for an update and “This might take a while.”
But when you see a computer just flat shut down without a single warning message, it usually means you have something meaner or nastier on your hands. Most computers have hardwired defense systems in place that trigger a shutdown if they are endangered of overheating their components and frying them, but that’s not the only reason.
Sometimes it’s a pulled or frayed power cord, sometimes a piece of hardware is giving out and this is your first (hopefully not your last) warning sign. But sometimes the problem is a good bit more insidious. Sometimes, the problem is a virus or piece of malware sneaking in your system. Here’s a quick guide to realizing if your power outage problem is something natural in your computer’s setup or the work of an insidious third party attempting to gain control or mess around with your computer’s most precious components – your data and personal information.
Is it a Power Problem?
It’s pretty simple to check if there’s a power outage with your computer. Check the power cords for any sign of physical damage. If you can’t find any, take the power supply cord and connect it to something else that uses an extension, such as a household appliance or a power tool in your garage. Take it to the same outlet as the computer and plug it in. If it’s dead, you need a new cord. If it powers right up, your computer problem is elsewhere.
Is it a Hardware Problem?
The two most common types of hardware problems are a failure in a system or an overheating issue. Computers should be shut down when they are not in use to keep them from running constantly or running at a hotter temperature than normal.
Is it Malware or Virus?
When you rule out power problems or hardware problems, you need to take quick action to rule out the presence of spyware, adware, Trojan, or some other malicious man-made creation. If you have already installed your own choice for computer projection, run a scan immediately to see if it can catch anything in the act. If you haven’t settled on a commercial solution, you can run a scan with a built-in defense like Windows Defender that is built to protect your computer in just these types of situations. When you activate it, you’ll usually get a choice of running a quick scan versus a full scan. The quick one looks for obvious problems, but this is usually not an obvious one. The full scan will take a few hours to get through, but it’s going to give you the most comprehensive view of your computer and the best shot at rooting out what’s causing the disruption.
Is it an Antimalware Service Executable Error?
Antimalware Service Executable is Windows Defender’s background service that is always on. It can gobble up an enormous amount of your computer’s CPU usage which can, in turn, cause your computer to overheat and shut down. You can fix it by adjusting the Windows Defender schedule settings to that it only runs once per day, preferably when you are not using the computer.