“Have you tried rebooting it?” is a question people might hear from their IT Support Company when they’re facing a computer issue. To most people, this can sound like a juvenile suggestion that surely can’t work, but lo and behold – it often does! There is a reason why this is so often suggested. Read on to find out exactly what happens when you reboot, and why it fixes things:
Sometimes programs or drivers encounter errors that force them to stop
When these errors happen, the programs and drivers simply cannot continue in that state and it is necessary for them to restart. However, operating systems have got better at dealing with these problems, whereas in the past, a graphics driver error could cause your whole operating system to freeze. On modern computers, the nice graphics will just disappear for a short while, before reappearing again. This is the graphics driver restarting itself.
Internet connectivity troubles
The software on your router or modem sometimes encounters problems which can lead to a lack of internet connectivity, or inability for devices to connect to it. Restarting it (by unplugging the power, waiting around 30 seconds, and plugging it back in) forces it to revert to it's ordinary state.
Modems and routers run software on them also, and these can encounter errors and glitches. Restarting will run this software again, as well as disconnect from the internet and establish a new connection. Many electronic devices retain a bit of power after being unplugged. This is why you have to wait before plugging them back in. Waiting for 30 seconds to a minute allows this power to completely drain away, ensuring any connections are cut off.
Restarting kills any processes that are using all of your CPU memory
Sometimes when we run, and then close programs, they don't relinquish all of the resources they were using, even though you closed them. If you're using your PC for a long time, or you're switching between memory intensive applications it can be quite common to experience these "memory leaks".
You could just open Task Manager and search for the process that is draining your CPU, and then end it. This should sort out any slow PC issues you may be having. Alternatively, if you don’t really know what you’re doing in Task Manager, rebooting your PC will close any processes and restart with only what is necessary, or allowed by you at start-up.
If the problem does not go away through rebooting, then you have a memory intensive application running at start-up, or unsolicited malicious programs that are running themselves on your computer.
As mentioned, simply rebooting will not remove any malware related problems. However, a hard reset, or factory reset, will wipe away everything on the hard drive and reset it to it’s default setting – which is clean. It’s always easier and faster to start again from a good state, than try to identify and fix problems as they occur.
Rebooting works well at fixing issues regardless of operating system - or type of device. Smartphones and tablets also respond well to this tactic. Rebooting is also a troubleshooting step. If the issue does not go away with a reboot, there might be a more serious underlying problem that needs some kind of action to fix. Failed hardware and corrupted software won't be fixed by a reboot.
The reboot method is tried, trusted and proven to work for many issues! However, it does not fix everything, so contact your IT support providers if you run into a problem that restarting doesn't fix! Just be prepared for the inevitable question...