Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

How is it possible that my computer turned on by itself?

Asked by JLeslie (60105points) May 2nd, 2010

Last night the screen went blank/black, and I could not get the computer to come back, so I turned it off by holding the power button. This morning I was watching tv, and all of a sudden my computer turned on. It booted up exactly as it would if it had been turned off, not like it was in hibernate or stand by, or some other mode that it is technically still on.

What could cause this? Could it be a virus? Some setting I enabled that I don’t realize? Or, do I just have a ghost in my house?

Is it something I need to worry about?

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18 Answers

Zen_Again's avatar

Read the article on middle-aged brains and forgetfulness, dear.

Parrappa's avatar

Well unless your still having problems, I wouldn’t think too much about it. Technology does weird things all the time.

HungryGuy's avatar

Sounds like a faulty power switch/supply combination.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Is your home,built on an old Indian Burial Ground ?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

No electronics ever seem to turn completely off anymore. They all have power save instead. Like when you press the power button on your PC, it goes to sleep but doesn’t shut off. If the mouse gets nudged, boom: power on.

I never understood “power save”. It seems so paradoxical that power save means you’re not using as much power as when it isnt in power save, but you’re still using power when the computer is off.


slick44's avatar

Mine has done that, and then one day it just didn’t come back on. Took it in and had massive viruses. Do you have spywear or any kind of protection?

jerv's avatar

First off, I want to point out that many people don’t actually turn their PCs off; they put them to sleep. Unless you changed the settings, many Windows computers only turn off if you explicitly tell them to Shut Down.

Now, my old rig did that when I put it to sleep; the cat would jump up on the desk and turn it on by pressing a key or moving the mouse. However, if you went through a full boot then this is unlikely.

Sometimes a power flicker can do that too. Many PCs have a setting in the BIOS as to how to handle a power outage; on, off, or “last state”. I always have mine set to “off” but you have to manually set that since the default is usually “last state” which means that a sleeping PC will turn on or sometimes “on”, which will cause “any” computer to start up after an outage.

If the “Wake on LAN” is turned on then a signal from your router (like a “keep alive” ping) can turn it back on. Again, many systems have that set to “On” by default and you have to go into the BIOS to turn it off.

@Captain_Fantasy That is the difference between “Power save” and “Power Off”. That little power draw is the price to pay for getting the computer up and running in 10 seconds as opposed to 30–60 when you turn it on next.

@slick44 I think that there was more to your problems than that. No virus I can think of will prevent a computer from doing a POST; they generally don’t do anything until the computer has at least read something from the hard drive, like trying to boot an operating system.

Fred931's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly Talladega Superspeedway is built on a Native American burial ground as well.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Mischevious ghosts? ;)

JLeslie's avatar

It was not power save. When I shut down/turn off my computer, then when I start it up it goes through the process of choosing who is going to sign on, my husband or I. When it is in a power save type of mode, like hybernate, it goes straight to my desktop when I wake it back up. It was very strange. I am inclined to the my computer is going the way of @slick44 computer. Every time I scan it finds at least 15 problems, sometimes 25. I think I have all sorts of viruses on it.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Then might I recommend a top-tier AV [program like Avast! or Avira? I have yet to get one in years, and that one was on a machine with AVG.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv I have never even heard of those. I will mention it to my husband.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah, most people only know about Norton and McAfee since many people get one of those pre-installed.

Read this comparative test to see why I like Avira.

mattbrowne's avatar

It could be the first sign of an emerging artificial intelligence. You gonna be rich !

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne Hahahaha!!

This morning I have had internet pages just close down on their own. Ugh. I guess I need to make sure I back up my important documents.

@jerv Interesting. I have Trend Micro something or other I think? My husband takes care of all of that stiuff. I have turned into one of those wives after 17 years that leaves a bunch of stuff up to her husband.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Trend’s anti-malware program is only 90.7%, making it the 2nd worst program of the 19 that were tested in that report I linked you to.

Avira was #2 at 99.3%, McAfee took the #5 slot at 98.9%, Norton was #7 at 98.6%, and AVG was #14 at 94.2%

One other thing that makes Avira stand out is that if you just want the anti-virus part of it then it’s free! A $0 program that stops >99% of known viruses and has the best logarithm for detecting mutations and new viruses seems like a no-brainer to me :)

@mattbrowne If it were true intelligence, it would be on a Linux box :P

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv Thank you so much for all of this information.

Fred931's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Ghosts that make this and this and this… happen.

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