The Computer Restarts Unexpectedly (Windows 7)
This document pertains to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
If Windows 7 suddenly starts without warning, or restarts when you try to shut it down, it may be caused by one of several issues. Windows could be set to restart automatically when certain system errors occur. This feature of the Windows 7 operating system can be disabled. A BIOS update can also resolve the issue. Use the information in this document to resolve issues with the computer restarting unexpectedly.
NOTE:In addition to the steps in this article, updating video card drivers is known to resolve many of the problems that can cause the computer to restart.
Windows restarts for no apparent reason
If your computer restarts unexpectedly, follow the steps in this section until the problem is resolved.
Step 1: Disabling Automatically restart option to view error messages
Many hardware driver or operating system errors will cause the computer to display a specific error message before stopping the operation or shutting down the computer. However, an error may cause the computer to stop operating, but it will not display an error message if the Automatically restart option is enabled. Disable this option to allow the computer to display the error message.
You can prevent the computer from restarting by turning off the Automatically Restart option using one of two options. Follow the steps in the appropriate section.
If the computer opens to Windows, use these steps to disable the Automatically restart option:
- If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- Click Advanced system settings .
- Click the Advanced tab, and then select Settings in the Startup and Recovery section.
- Remove the check mark next to Automatically restart under System Failure , and then click OK
- Restart the computer.NOTE:The computer no longer restarts automatically when a problem occurs. Instead, a blue screen appears with more useful information. You can now search for a resolution using the text from the error.
Many hardware driver or operating system errors will cause the computer to display a specific error message before stopping the operation or shutting down the computer. However, an error may cause the computer to stop operating, but it will not display an error message if the Automatic Restart on Error option is enabled. Disabling this option will allow the computer to display the error message.
- Restart the computer and press the F8 key to open the Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Select the Disable automatic restart on system failure option.
- Restart the computer to accept this change.
If the error continues, the computer can display a message to help you identify and correct the problem.
Step 2: Checking for failed hardware
Hardware problems can cause the computer to restart unexpectedly. For more information about checking for hardware problems, see HP Desktop PCs - Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 7) or HP Notebook PCs - Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 7 and Windows Vista) .
Step 3: Updating the BIOS
A BIOS update can resolve issues with the computer shutting down unexpectedly. Follow the steps in the following sections to use HP Support Assistant or to check for a BIOS update at the HP website.
If you have the latest version of HP Support Assistant installed on the computer, HP recommends running the Tune-up which automatically updates the BIOS and searches for all other updated software and drivers for the specific model.
To use HP Support Assistant to download and install the latest version of the BIOS automatically, follow these steps.
- Click Start , click All Programs , click HP , and then click HP Support Assistant .
- Follow the prompts to permit HP Support Assistant to download and install the updated BIOS and device drivers.
- Wait while HP Tune up updates the BIOS and/or device driver(s).
The most current version of the BIOS and device driver(s) are now installed on the computer.
In some cases, HP support may have recommended that you download and install a specific softpaq or you may have realized that a specific softpaq should be installed after reading another HP support document. To locate and download the latest version of the BIOS for the computer manually, follow the steps below.
- Go to the Support & Driver Downloads page.
- If you are presented with a page to enter your model number, type in your model number. For example, Pavilion p6230f or TouchSmart 600-1050uk.
- Select the version of Windows the computer is using.
- Click the BIOS link.
- If a BIOS update is not listed, HP does not have a BIOS update posted for your computer at this time.
- If there are several BIOS updates available for different motherboard or system board names, you need to find out what board is installed in your computer. On notebook computers, click Start , click Help and Support , and then click System Information . On desktop computers, press CTRL + ALT + S .
- Once you have found a BIOS update, continue to the next step to download and install the BIOS update.
- Save the file to a convenient location on your hard disk drive, such your desktop. Consider renaming the file to something that is easy to remember.
- Double-click the BIOS update to install it. Follow the on-screen instructions.
Step 4: Performing a System Restore
If an issue has begun recently, restoring the computer to a point before the problem began can resolve the issue. For more information about using system restore, refer to Restoring Windows to a Previous Point .
Step 5: Recovering the computer
If the troubleshooting fails to resolve an issue, recover all software on the computer back to its original configuration using HP System Recovery. For more information, see Performing an HP System Recovery in Windows 7 .
Windows restarts after a Windows Update
Your computer may experience system restarts after running Microsoft Windows Update or performing an Automatic Update.
If your computer restarts automatically after a Windows Update, perform the following steps:
Step 1: Uninstalling the latest Windows Update
To uninstall the latest Windows Update, follow these steps:
- Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
- Under Programs , click Uninstall a program .The Uninstall or change a program window opens.
- Click View installed updates .
- Check the Installed On column to find the latest update installed.
- Click the name of the update to uninstall, and then click Uninstall at the top of the program list.
- Read and respond to any messages that may open while the update is being removed from your computer.
- If the problem is resolved, proceed to the next step to prevent the update from reinstalling on the computer.If the problem is not resolved, repeat these steps with older updates until the problem is resolved.
Step 2: Preventing Windows Update from reinstalling an update
Windows Update may try to reinstall updates that you uninstall. To prevent Windows Update from reinstalling an update on the computer, follow these steps:
- Click the important or optional updates that are available.
- If the update you uninstalled is listed in the next window, right-click the name of the update and select Hide update .The update is now hidden and will not be installed. To install hidden updates in the future, click Restore hidden updates in Windows Update.