If your Chromebook keeps turning off by itself randomly, it can get extremely annoying. Real quick.
You’re in the middle of a project and it shuts off without saving your work.
Or you just hopped on a Zoom call and then mysteriously logged out.
Or you JUST turned it on and it shuts off on you even though you just charged the thing.
(Pro tip: Use Google Docs for your word processing for autosave every few seconds.)
What’s going on? Is your Chromebook broken? Is the battery in need of a replacement? Or is it just defective?
As versatile as Chromebooks are and as secure as Chrome OS, these laptops still glitch. Sometimes it’s a hardware issue, but most of the time it’s a software problem.
People have reported that it turns off as soon as they pop open the lid. Others say when they close the lid. Or when they unplug it.
There are a lot of different reasons why your Chromebook turns itself off. And there are a few solutions to fix it (assuming your power supply isn’t shot).
So let’s dive in and see we can do to get it up and running.
How to stop my Chromebook from randomly shutting off
So here’s a list of different troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve the intermittent shutdowns.
You should try out all the different ways to resolve it here, step-by-step, and see you can get it working like normal again.
Note that there are many possibilities of why this may occur, and there’s no “complete” guide out there that covers every single reason.
While this may help with some common issues, I can’t guarantee that it’ll fix yours specifically.
If you still can’t fix it after going through them all, drop a comment and let me know.
Update your Chromebook
The first and most obvious thing to make sure of is that your Chromebook is up to date.
Chrome OS updates automatically, but it does require that your Chromebook rebooted for the changes to take effect. If you rarely completely shut down and restart your laptop, now’s a good time.
Whatever brand you have (HP, Acer, ASUS, Samsung, Dell, etc.) it doesn’t matter. Chrome OS is the same across all devices and keeping it up to date is critical for bug fixes.
First, make sure you have the latest version of Chrome installed.
You can check by:
- Launch Chrome
- Click on the menu icon
- Go to “About Google Chrome”
- Let it check for updates and install them (if any)
- Restart your Chromebook
If it says you have the latest version already, then you should be good to go.
Do a complete shutdown and restart your Chromebook just to rule out the possibility of outdated software causing the intermittent random shutdowns.
Besides, if the shutdown issue is “new” to you, a restart could be all you need to fix it- especially if you NEVER restart your device.
Restarting it will clear the cache and kill all lingering code in the background that could be causing the issue.
Always keep your system updated!
Do a soft reset
We’ll start with the basics.
It’s good to periodically turn off your Chromebook so it can kill lingering code. It also kills the RAM cache and empties out anything that could be causing the shut offs.
Use the “Shutdown” option from the menu. Do not just close the lid and put it to hibernate/sleep mode. See if this fixes the issue.
Check your Chromebook shut off settings
If your Chromebook is behaving unexpectedly when you close the lid, you can change what it does when you do.
You can also prevent it from going into sleep mode when the lid is shut by using the built-in options. It’s very easy to do and will stop the automatic shutdown.
- Launch Chrome.
- Go to “chrome://settings”
- Look on the left menu, find “Device”
- Click on “Power”
- Adjust the settings as you wish
You can keep it from going to sleep by choosing “Keep display on.” This will prevent it from hibernating when it’s idle, charging, or on battery power.
If you don’t have these options, update your Chromebook.
If you can’t find them, try using the search box and searching for “power” or “display” or “shutdown timer” etc.
You can also stop it from going to sleep even when you close the lid by turning OFF “Sleep when cover is closed.”
Alternatively, you can use an app or Chrome Extension to keep it from sleeping.
Note that if you’re using a borrowed Chromebook (from work or school), the admin may have disabled the ability to adjust these sleep settings.
If you purchased a used Chromebook and these options are disabled, you may need to contact the seller to reset management and switch the primary account over to you.
Check your extensions or apps
Chrome extensions, apps, and other programs may be conflicting or running “bad” code which could be messing with your Chromebook’s shutdown cycle.
For instance, some Chrome extensions keep your Chromebook awake and stop it from shutting down. Imagine if there was a glitch in the latest version, then Chrome downloaded it automatically.
Your device would start randomly shutting down due to the bug and you wouldn’t know why. On your end, it seemed like nothing changed.
But in reality, the extension got an update and now is bugged. See how it works?
Use Guest Mode
Guest Mode lets you use your Chromebook without any apps or Chrome extensions. It’s like “incognito” mode for Google Accounts.
You can quickly test to see if the issue is caused by an app or Chrome extension by signing in as a Guest because it’ll load up Chrome without anything installed. No setup or password is needed to sign in.
This is a lot quicker than uninstalling everything from your main account. You’ll also find that it runs a lot smoother because it’s vanilla Chrome.
Use it by logging out of your primary account and then clicking on the “Guest” button on the login screen (it should be near the bottom left).
You can log in without needing to create an account and you’ll be able to use Chrome to do whatever you need to do. Check to see if it’s still shutting down randomly.
If not, then that means it’s likely due to some extension you have installed on Chrome OR a Play Store app on your main account.
You can disable them all and enable them one at a time until you find the culprit. Then delete it from your account.
Depending on how many you have installed, this could take some time.
Try removing all the suspicious ones first that either rarely gets updates or were recently updated.
It could be that Chrome OS got updated and then broke something.
Or the extension or app got updated and broke something.
But at least you’re on the right path to finding it.
Is it charging?
It’s easy to overlook that little LED indicator light and thinks it’s charging when it’s not.
The cord may not be plugged in all the way.
The power brick could be shot. Or the outlet you’re using could be providing zero power (especially if you use multiple outlets or travel internationally).
Make sure that the Chromebook IS indeed charging when you plug it in.
The indicator light shows light up and shows a solid amber light. There should also be the “charging” notification when you click on the battery percentage in the notification center.
Learn to read and understand what the status lights mean on your Chromebook.
They’ll tell you when it’s charging, when it’s hibernating/sleep mode, and when it’s fully charged.
Is it overheating?
If you’re playing games, watching streams, listening to music, doing work, browsing the web, and trying to dual boot Linux at the same time, chances are that you’re overworking your poor laptop.
Note that your Chromebook may not “feel” hot to the touch, but internally, it’s too hot. So don’t rely on how it feels to determine if it’s overheating. This is not the way.
Your Chromebook will automatically shut off instantly when the internal temperature gauge meets a threshold- whether the frame, keyboard, rear pane, display, touchpad, etc. feel hot or not. That’s why they’re not an accurate way to tell.
It tends to happen when you run multiple resource-hungry applications, but sometimes a single game or app is enough if it’s poorly optimized or very demanding.
Older or dirtier laptops clumped with dust inside also reduces the cooling capabilities.
If it shuts down randomly and won’t turn back on when you hit the power button or open the lid, it may be due to overheating.
Chromebooks will automatically shut down if they overheat. Once they pass the temperature threshold, they’ll instantly turns off to preserve the battery and internal components until it cools down.
If your system constantly stops working in the middle of your work, it may be overheating.
Over time, dust can enter the laptop through the ports and keyboard. This is bad.
It blocks the passive cooling from working efficiently. Your system will heat up quickly and cool down slower, even if you’re not doing anything that’s demanding on it.
Clean your Chromebook and get rid of the dust.
This will increase the cooling efficiency and keep the air flowing which could help stop the overheating.
Power cycle the battery
The battery’s percentage will become more and more inaccurate over time.
This means that the remaining battery indicated when you click the battery icon overstates or understates how much battery life is left before your Chromebook powers down on its own.
For example, you may have 20% left and then it suddenly turns off for no reason until you plug it back in. Or you’re charging to 100% but it quickly drops to 80% in a few minutes.
This is normal and how quickly this happens depends on your charging habits:
- Whether you charge it up all the way or not
- How often you let the battery drain to 0% or charge to 100%
- How often the Chromebook is used under heavy load (gaming, conference calls, watching videos, etc.)
- How often the device is exposed to heat
- Your overall charging habits
- The condition of the battery (age, resistance, etc.)
Regardless, you can “fine-tune” and calibrate the battery percentage by doing a power cycle.
This is a simple process that can be done once a month or so. The older your battery is, the more often you should do it if you need precise battery indicators.
Here’s how to power cycle in a nutshell:
- Use your Chromebook until it completely drains and shuts down by itself from the low battery (0% battery)
- Let it sit for at least 6 hours with no charge.
- Plug it in and charge it to 100%.
- Continue letting it charge “past” 100% for an hour.
- Unplug it and use it as normal.
This should calibrate the battery meter.
Although it won’t fix it 100% like when it was new, it should bring it back to reasonable levels. How accurate it is after your power cycle depends on how old the battery is and the overall condition.
(Got a bad battery that’s ready to be replaced? Check out this tutorial on swapping your laptop’s battery.)
Calibrating the battery may resolve those “automatic” shutdowns your Chromebook does.
When in reality, it’s just that the battery shows some minutes or hours remaining but it’s closer to depletion.
This is why it seems like it shuts off on its own.
If this was the culprit and you were able to fix it, learn how to preserve your Chromebook’s battery to maximize it.
A bad battery that’s degraded won’t hold a charge well and you’ll notice that it drains very quickly, skips percentages in the battery remaining, or will shut off your laptop before it reaches critical levels.
If your Chromebook shuts off when you unplug it, it could very well be a bad battery. It may be time to replace it.
Check the battery using the diagnostic tool
Chrome OS has a built-in battery diagnostics tool that lets you see the current charge of the battery, whether it’s charging or not, charge/discharge rates, and other handy information that can help you pinpoint the problem.
You can access this tool by doing the following steps:
Start up Chrome
Hit “CTRL + ALT + T” to launch Crosh. You’ll see a new tab pop up that awaits your command. Don’t be scared if you know nothing about code. Let’s break it down!
Type “battery_test 1” and hit Enter. Type it exactly as shown, without quotes.
It’ll tell you the current status of the battery:
- Whether or not the battery is being charged
- Percent remaining until fully charged
- The health of the battery
You can repeat the test with the AC adapter plugged in to see different metrics. With this tool, you can 100% tell if your adapter is working correctly, whether or not your laptop is receiving power, the battery’s condition, etc.
Use these metrics to rule out potential issues:
- If it’s charging, then it’s not your wall outlet or the adapter.
- If the battery’s condition is good, then it’s not the battery.
Here are some general things to know:
- If the battery condition is over 100%, your Chromebook is still new and the random shutdowns likely are NOT due to an issue with the battery.
- If the battery condition is over 60%, this is normal for most Chromebooks 1-3 years old. This doesn’t indicate a problem with the battery.
- If the battery condition is under 60% and your laptop is under 1 year old, this is an indicator of excessive wear and tear. It could be defective or due to poor battery conservation habits.
- If the status of the battery reads “Unknown” it means that the battery is not detectable by your Chromebook. This could be mean it’s time to replace it, a loose connector, or some other defect. Take it to a repair shop or get it fixed under warranty.
This will easily tell you if the Chromebook can detect the battery, and what the current metrics are. If you don’t see a battery listed, there’s something wrong.
You may have to check the battery cables and make sure they haven’t gone loose.
Or disconnect and reconnect them. Anything dealing with taking apart the device and dismantling it will require precautions to prevent damage to the Chromebook and to protect yourself from electrical discharge.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, take it to a professional computer shop.
Reboot the peripherals (hard reset)
If your Chromebook can’t detect the battery, you’ll need to reboot the peripherals. This is also known as a hard reset and will force your computer to boot from scratch.
It can help resolve problems by restarting all the hardware connected to your device.
Note: It CAN delete some files saved in your Downloads folder. So back those up if you need them.
This will reset the mobo’s connections to everything that’s connected to it (mic, webcam, battery, etc.).
Sometimes technical issues will screw up the hardware’s connections. I don’t know why this happens, but a reboot often fixes the issue 99% of the time.
It doesn’t erase anything on your SSD and is super easy to do.
- Power off your Chromebook from the menu.
- Let it completely shut down.
- Press the Refresh button and hold it.
- While holding Refresh, use your other finger and press the Power button.
- Hold down the Refresh button while your Chromebook boots up.
- Let go after you see the Chrome logo.
This completes the hard reset. See if it still continues to turn off randomly.
Replace the battery
If you’ve confirmed that your battery is the issue, you can replace it. Batteries are available in OEM and third-party variants.
Find the right battery for your Chromebook (it’s as easy as typing in your model number + battery on your favorite search engine) and then looking it up. Replacing the battery is the hard part.
If you’ve never done it before or don’t know what you’re doing, you can take it to a repair shop for them to do it for you.
All batteries degrade over time. They’re only made to last for the “average” amount of time a consumer will use the laptop.
When you’re about to throw your Chromebook out the window because it keeps shutting off, there’s one last thing you can try- Powerwashing it.
This is the same as a “restore to default settings” or a “factory reset” or a “wipe.”
Whatever you want to call it, a Powerwash will reset your Chromebook back to how it was like when you first got it. Remember how exciting it was when you unboxed it?
Now you can do it all over again. Just without the box part.
The thing to note is that you’ll be completely erasing everything, so you’ll want to make a safe backup of all the files you want to keep.
You can save them to Google Drive, a flash drive, USB drive, thumb drive, SD card, external hard drive, or whatever else you have. All your Chromebook settings, wallpapers, apps, etc. will be deleted.
But the data on your Google Account will remain persistent (such as your chrome extensions, Gmail, search history, etc.).
- Here’s a guide on making a backup of everything.
- After you do that, here’s how to Powerwash your Chromebook.
This should fix the issue if it’s software-related. Any kind of bug or data issue will be cleared after wiping it.
When the Powerwash is complete, I suggest you sign in to a Guest account- NOT your main account.
This is because if the problem is caused by a Google Play app or Chrome extension, it’ll just repeat itself when it syncs to your Chromebook from your Google Account.
So you can either:
Disable Google sync from ANOTHER device before you sign in for the first time on your Chromebook
- Sign in as a Guest
- Sign in to some secondary Google Account with no chrome extensions or Play Store apps
This should rule out the possibility of the automatic shutdown issues caused by some third-party software application.
If it STILL shuts down by itself, then it’s likely a hardware issue (battery, cables, connectors, etc.) since you did a clean install of Chrome OS.
Believe in the process of elimination, friend. Rule out those issues one by one!
Check the battery connectors and cables
Sometimes, the battery cables get loose and this can result in the OS not detecting the battery.
In other guides on this site, some readers chimed in and said that they were able to disconnect then reconnect the cable, which resolved the issue.
If you’re handy and know how to disassemble the rear panel on your laptop, you can double-check that the cable is snug.
Only do it if you’re experienced with it, as you can cause injury to yourself or the Chromebook if you’re not careful.
Get it checked out at a repair shop if in doubt.
Report the issue
Report the issue online in the Chromebook Product Forums. You may be able to get some more tips and tricks from volunteer helpers that lurk around the forums.
Be detailed when you make a thread (include your brand and model, what you’ve tried, when the problem started happening, etc.).
The more detailed you are, the more accurate replies you’ll get. You may think you’re just talking about an issue on the ends of the Internet where no one cares.
But in reality, these forums are quite active and you’ll likely get a reply from others who have the same issue or from a product expert, who usually volunteer with many years of experience under their belt.
Chances are you’re not the first (or only one) with shut down issues. They’ve probably seen your problem before and they’ll suggest some recommendations.
Plus, it’s FREE. What do you have to lose besides 5 minutes?
After all, they’re not getting paid to help (from what I know), so their advice is true and genuine. They volunteer their own time to do this, so be nice and courteous when asking!
If you’ve recently purchased your laptop, a lot of big-box retailers will take it back for a refund or exchange.
Don’t overlook this as it’s an easy way to get it replaced for a new one.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that it’s defective before you do so. No point in returning one just to have the same issue happen again.
Don’t forgo the warranty
All Chromebooks come with an included manufacturer’s warranty.
If you’ve had your Chromebook for a short time and it’s still under warranty, replace it!
Contact the maker and let them know about the issue.
If it’s within the warranty period, it’s covered. Warranties don’t transfer to new owners. So if you bought it used, it doesn’t apply.
A lot of people NEVER exercise their warranty because they don’t think it’ll do anything, don’t want to pay for shipping, or don’t want to talk on the phone.
It’s cheaper even if shipping is required to be paid by the customer compared to getting a whole new laptop.
They should be able to replace it or fix it for you. If you have the warranty, why not use it?
Sometimes, IF the shipping is outrageous, compare the price for a manufacturer return vs. taking it to a repair shop.
If your Chromebook is old, it may be time to replace it with an upgrade. You should only do this after trying everything else.
Sell it for parts and then use the cash to invest in your next one.
But if it’s time to upgrade, you can sell your used Chromebook for parts to get some money for an upgrade. Chrome OS ends support after a set period, so if your laptop is older than that, it’s a good time to get a new one.
You won’t receive any new updates after the support period ends unless you buy a new machine.
Thankfully, you can grab one for cheap as there are plenty of budget-friendly ones. Maybe even one for cheap?
Or if you’re looking for something with more power, some Chromebooks are more suitable for gaming. All laptops will eventually need to be replaced.
So if you’ve already gotten good use out of yours, it’s time for an upgrade. Now that’s new and exciting. Unless you’re attached to the one you have or something.
If it’s completely bricked, dispose of it at the proper recycling facility. Some will even pay you for your junk electronics.
Take it to a repair shop
Local computer repair shops exist. Use them.
They can offer everything you need at an affordable price, especially if you do some comparison shopping.
A lot of times, they’re just thankful for the business and will gladly find out what’s causing the issue for free.
Then they’ll give you a quote for repair parts plus labor and get it done on the spot. No need to ship it in or wait on the phone to get status updates.
Do some research on local repair shops and give them a ring.
They’ll be happy for your business if it’s a locally-owned shop. You can salvage your Chromebook this way and save yourself from exuberant fees or needing to replace it.
Plus, the random shutdowns will be fixed and won’t give you any more headaches.
My screen goes completely black and I can’t do anything
If your screen goes black, there may be some lingering code freezing up your system.
It could be due to a system crash from an app or extension, low battery, overheating, faulty digitizer, etc.
Try bringing up the task manager by hitting “CTRL + ESC” (Chrome’s version of “CTRL + ALT + DELETE” on Windows systems).
This will bring up the task manager no matter what program it’s stuck in purgatory within.
If it’s completely frozen and you can’t do anything but hard reset it, consider doing a Powerwash to reset it back to the defaults.
Alternatively, you can go through each Play Store app or extension to see what’s causing it.
This is of course assuming you’ve updated your version of Chrome OS to the newest version so that rules out the possibility of a glitched update.
What to do when “Chrome didn’t shut down correctly“
You may see this as an error message when you launch Chrome after your Chromebook shuts down abruptly with an option to “restore” your tabs.
It doesn’t happen if you shut down using the menu. It occurs when something is running in a tab when your system forcefully closes from a low battery or unexpected shutdown.
Check out this guide on how to fix the shutdown error.
Did you fix it?
Were you able to resolve the issue?
A laptop that keeps randomly shutting off and on over and over again is something that can drive you nuts.
Hopefully, with the methods in this guide, you were able to figure out what’s causing it to do that and resolve it.
If you’re still having issues with it, please leave a comment with a detailed description of what’s going on and I’ll try to help you out.
The more info you can give, the more accurately we can pinpoint what’s causing the intermittent problems.
If you were able to fix the issue, please let me know as well =].