Computer shuts down when instrument is unplugged

We utilize audacity at our church, along with a Dell laptop to record our service. If at any time an instrument is unplugged, the entire system (computer)shuts down. We have the feed from our PA system running to the computer and aren’t sure how to avoid this shutdown. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I would be concerned about a shock hazard. There’s no gentle audio or entertainment content reason that should be happening, but I can dig up grounding issues that can cause very serious disruptions. Since you do not have a studio or broadcast system, it means that the cable shields are all connected to one another in the whole system. If you have a wall power grounding or other mis-wire, those shields could also be connected to the power company.

I’ve lived in two houses that had at least one three-prong power outlet wired incorrectly.

They make a very simple tester with three lights on it that can do a first-level test for your outlets. I know about the US version, there may be international versions as well.

If it shows good, it may or may not be good, but if it shows bad, you have a problem.

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If your laptop only has a mic in and no line level input like most laptops, you shouldn’t be direct connecting the line level PA output to it. Buy a USB interface like a Behringer UCA 202 that has line-level input, connect the PA output to that, then connect the interface to the computer.

If there is no electrical reason for the shutdown, then your computer audio drivers are probably broken. See