The recall, one of the largest ever in Japanese computer industry history, concerns models of its ValueStarNX line of personal computers sold since October 18. The majority of the machines were sold in mid-December, NEC spokesman Chris Shimizu said.
He explained the problem concerned a single component in the power supply designed to protect the computer against power surges. In approximately 4000 of the 86,000 machines, this component is faulty and can shut down power at any time during operation - not just when there is a surge in power.
The company is being forced to recall all machines sold with the power supply because it is difficult to immediately identify which of the 86,000 machines belongs to the faulty group.
The recall began today through a nationwide press advertising campaign, and the company said it will also attempt to contact registered users to notify them of the problem.
NEC said the power supplies concerned were not made by the company but obtained from a third party, which it declined to name.