Windows Computer Suddenly Shuts Down? Facebook May Be To Blame

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In the past month or so, I’ve been having a problem where my Toshiba Satellite laptop, which runs Windows 7, would suddenly shut down at least once a day for no apparent reason.

 

ToshibaSatellite

 

The laptop would start right up again with no problems, and when I checked Windows Event Viewer there would be no information about what caused the shutdown. I already knew about, and ruled out, the following possible causes:

1. Overheating
Even though the fan would start spinning very rapidly immediately before the shutdown, because the computer always started right up again with no problems I knew this wasn’t it. An overheated computer will not start up normally again until it’s cooled down.

2. Dying Hard Drive / Bad Motherboard
I also knew this wasn’t the cause, first because hard drive and motherboard errors certainly would’ve turned up in Event Viewer and secondly because, again, the computer always started right back up again.

3. Sudden Battery Drain
If this were happening while I was relying on battery power then I’d strongly suspect a bad battery, but I keep my laptop’s power supply plugged into an electrical outlet at all times. This bypasses the battery, ensures no loss of power (unless there’s a power outage in my building for some reason) and also prevents it from continuing to charge.

4. Malware / Computer Virus
Multiple hard drive scans came up clean.

 

ESETSmartSecurity

 

The Culprit Turned Out To Be Facebook
Every time this happened I’d Google like mad for possible solutions. Eventually, I came across this Microsoft Community thread where someone was reporting the same issue on a Surface Pro 2. Not my brand of laptop and not my version of Windows, but I was desperate so I read the full discussion. One contributor there noted:

A script-heavy website–in this case, specifically Facebook–may in some cases cause the Surface Pro 2 to completely shut down and restart. This will happen without warning and typically occurs when the website in question is open and running in the background.

In the discussion thread it was claimed this was only an issue in Internet Explorer, but I haven’t run Internet Explorer for a very long time; I use Firefox as my default browser. Still, it seemed to ring true. I knew I had a Facebook tab open every time the shutdowns occurred because it’s one of my start-up tabs, and sometimes the shutdowns happened while I was using the Facebook tab. It never happened until after the computer had been on for a while, though.

So I got in the habit of checking my Facebook tab for updates first thing in the day, right after turning on my computer, and then I’d close that tab so Facebook would stop running in the background. I’d open a Facebook tab again to check for updates and make my posts around midday, in the evening, and right before turning off my computer for the day, but every time I’d close the tab when I was done.

 

No more mystery shutdowns, and as an added bonus I’m no longer getting sucked into the Facebook vortex when I know I’ve got better things to do with my time!

 

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