ComputingComputing: GuidesPC ComponentsPC Components: Guides

Signs of a Dying Power Supply

signs of a dying power supply

A power supply unit (PSU) is essentially a device that converts alternating current from your power outlet to a low-voltage regulated direct current for the components of your computer.

For desktop computers, the PSU is built-in and you connect it to the power socket via a wire while for laptops, the whole PSU is external.

Whether you own a desktop computer or a laptop, they both are non-functional without a power supply. Unfortunately, similar to any other piece of hardware, even the most efficient power supply is bound to die at some point.

However, before it dies, it experiences some symptoms and signs that give you an indication that it is coming to its end.

Our guide below takes a dig into all the signs of a dying power supply. So, let’s get started!

How to Tell If Your Power Supply is Dying?

The Computer Does Not Start

Since your power supply is the source through which your whole computer system gets the energy required for it to run, if you are unable to start up your PC, there are good chances that there is something wrong with your power supply.

You will notice that although your PC is not up and running, the fans of the processor are spinning.

Now, there may be other reasons for the inability of your computer to start up, like a fault in the motherboard.

However, a dying power supply is still one of the main reasons for this problem so be sure to test your power supply in case you are met with a similar situation.

The Computer Randomly Shuts Down or Reboots

If your PC automatically shuts down or restart during usage, especially heavy usages like video games, video encoding, and programming, the odds are that your PSU is unable to meet up the energy requirements of your PC.

To further confirm the trouble with your power supply, ensure that your heat sink is dust-free and your computer’s processor is not overheated since overheating can also be a cause of random shutdowns and reboots.

The Computer Blue Screens and Crashes

Like the aforementioned signs, a dying power supply is one of the major causes of your computer’s screen getting frozen as a result of which you receive a blue screen crash.

There are a lot of hardware and software drivers that can also prompt this blue screen to show up but a faulty power supply is still one of the culprits.

A Harsh, “Grinding” Sound is Emitted by the Power Supply Fan

Just like any other fan in the CPU, when the fan of a power supply is nearing its end, it starts to produce a very harsh and noticeable sound.

It usually happens suddenly, without any sort of warning, and indicates that the fan bearings of the fan have worn out.

So, if it does happen to you, quickly identify the component with the problematic fan. If the component turns out to be the power supply, you can save it from dying by getting it fixed in time.

Other Signs and Symptoms of a Dying Power Supply

There are some other indications of a failing power supply too:

  • The computer turns on for a couple of seconds, then turns back off
  • Saggy rails
  • Inability to overclock
  • Excessive heat release from power supply along with the burning smell
  • Lower voltage supplied than expected
  • Random resets
  • Emission of smoke in extreme cases

What Now?

Keeping in mind the signs mentioned above, you might be suspecting that your power supply is dying but how can you be sure? For that, continue reading the lower portion of this guide.

Check Your Power Supply Wattage

Power Supply Wattage refers to the amount of power a PSU can produce. If your computer is obtaining more energy from the power supply than it can deliver, you will inevitably have issues with your power supply.

Calculate how much power your computer requires and then compare it to the Wattage rating of your Power supply.

If the requirement of your PC outweighs the power supplied by your power supply, then immediately take off your Power supply and get yourself a better one.

Diagnose Your Power Supply

There are different ways following which you can test your power supply.

If you suspect there is a voltage issue in your power supply, you can download and install various software monitoring tools like Open Hardware Monitor, HW Monitor, or Speedfan.

While using these tools to monitor your power supply’s voltage, keep the following voltage readings in mind: 3.3 V, 5 V, and 12 V. If there is over a 5% difference between your power supply’s voltage and these readings, then your power supply is in the red zone.

Furthermore, you can use the relatively cheap devices known as power supply testers to detect any problem with your power supply. However, make sure that the brand you use is a trusted one.

In addition to this, if you have the technical know-how of a multimeter, you can use it to measure the output of your power supply unit. Compare the result with the standard output to find out the problem.

Alternatively, just to be on the safe side, you can head to a nearby hardware repair shop and have your power supply checked.


To sum up, there are a lot of different signs of a failing power supply that you need to keep out for.

Every PSU at one point or the other dies but and if you want to prolong its life, you can resort to methods like keeping it dust-free or keeping its temperature under 80 degrees but your best bet is to purchase a high-quality power supply in the first place.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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