Power supply unit or commonly known as PSU is an integral part of any computer system you come across these days. This compact black box is responsible for powering up your hardware, PSUs come in several variants. starting from 400 watts and going as high as 1200+ watts. a computer can not work without a PSU. Power supplies are advancing as quick as the technology is; so much that they are easily able to handle multiple GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and extra peripherals. However, just like any other electrical issue, PSUs tend to go bad as well and often times, the troubleshooting is a bit hectic because a bad PSU will behave in more than one erratic way.

Recently, we came across a PC that kept tripping without any reasons, the performance of the PC was perfectly fine and all the tests were clear, the user did a lot to troubleshoot the issue but nothing was evident. Despite the fact that problem was clear as a day, the computer was generating errors that kept pushing doubts. For instance; the very first error was regarding hard drive failure, that rendered the entire Windows useless; installing the Windows didn’t ease anything and the next error was relating to RAM despite the fact that both the RAM sticks were perfectly functional and even passed the memory tests. In short, every hardware from GPU to processor was tested to make sure but the fault stayed.

So what exactly was the fault? Well, the PSU went bad and surprisingly, the PC was working perfectly fine apart from the random restarts and Windows corruption. So how exactly should you fix or find out that you are running a bad PSU. Well according to several different tests done, it’s easy but then again, finding a bad PSU might be very easy or as hard as finding a needle in the haystack. Whatever the case is, we have created a handy guide to help you find a bad PSU.


Monitor The Type of Crashes

A bad PSU will make your PC act out in more than one weird behaviour; your PC might start hanging up or rebooting on random intervals. You may also experience slowed down performance or complete freezes. Whatever the case is, checkout the type of crashes you normally come across when the power supply is giving up on you.

  • System fails to power on or gets locked up.
  • System starts to reboot spontaneously even when there’s no load.
  • Getting memory or hard drive failure errors.
  • Hard drive and the PSU fan will stop spinning.
  • Small amount of electric shock in the case when you touch it.

These are the signs shown by a PSU when it starts to go wrong. However, there are some obvious signs that clearly points to a dead PSU and those are:

  • No power in the system upon turning it on.
  • Smoke coming out of the PC.


Stress Test Your PSU

There are several ways to stress test a power supply, however, since power supply largely relies on analog reading, one shouldn’t completely trust the digital one. Still, stress testing the power supply isn’t all that difficult. Furmark and Prime95 are two of the tests you should do; Furmark is basically a test that puts a lot of load on your GPU, in case you are wondering what it has to do with the PSU; the more load on the GPU means that it will draw more power and if you have a bad PSU, you’ll see a lock up or a system reboot. Prime95 on the other hand does that on RAM and the CPU. OCCT is another tool that can be used to stress test the PSU.

Try Plugging a Different PSU

This is the best way to find out if your PSU is being erratic, whenever you start facing any of the above issues, simply take out your PSU and plug a different one in your PC. However, make sure that the PSU you’re plugging in is working perfectly fine and meets the power requirements of your PC. Once you’re done doing that, start running the tests again and play some power hungry games to make sure that the PC doesn’t end up rebooting or end in lock ups.