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Have you tried turning it off and back on again

Why restarting a computer fixes issues.

As an I.T professional it sometimes becomes monotonous to ask a user to reboot their PC to resolve an issue and I feel sometimes that I am taking the easy route. I’m sure it is not really an acceptable solution to the user and anyone can do this but I am here today to outline reasons why a reboot will resolve issues. While certain problems will require a complete restart anyway because of an operating system failure or a hardware driver failure, but not every problem does. Some problems may be resolved without a restart, though a restart may be the easiest option rather than spending hours reading through error logs to find out a solution.

  • Windows is Slow. If you find that navigating around your Windows operating system is performing very slowly. It’s possible that a misbehaving program is using 99%  of your CPU and draining the computer’s resources. As your I.T support person I would typically open your task manager and hope to find what program this is. Instead of calling I.T and have them waste time troubleshooting the problem, simply by rebooting could easily fix the issue.
  • Program is Using Too Much Memory. When your programs consume too much memory, temporary hard drive space, and other valuable resources they may eventually run out and cause your computer to slow down until it finally halts altogether. Rebooting “refreshes” those resources, and allows you to continue working at an optimal speed.
  • Internet or Wi-Fi Network Problems. If you have a problem with your Wi-Fi or Internet connection, the software on your router or modem may have encountered a problem. Restarting your router/ modem is a common solution for connection problems.  Your modem/ router has a connection to your ISP that can become corrupted.  Rebooting disconnects and forces a new connection.
  • Rebooting fixes problems. When you reboot, your computer performs a series of diagnostic checks and often fixes problems without you knowing. So if your computer is acting strange, often rebooting fixes the error.
  • It helps in troubleshooting.  Rebooting helps troubleshoot the problem tells us whether or not problem permanent or temporary and has been resolved from a reboot. A one time problem, like a program freezing, would not refreeze after rebooting and you may never see the issue again..

In all cases, a restart wipes away the current state of the software and any programs that are frozen and causing issues in the background will be refreshed. When you restart, the computer or device will bring the system up from scratch, restarting all the software and services so it will work just as well as it was working before.

Difference between a “Soft Reset” and a “Hard Reset”

There are two types of restarts or resets you can perform. A “soft reset” is simply restarting a device normally by turning it off and then on again.  A “hard reset” is resetting its software state back to its factory default state.

Both types of resets fix problems for a similar reason. For example, let’s say your Windows computer refuses to boot or becomes completely infected with malware. Simply restarting the computer won’t fix the problem because the files such as important start up and operational files have become corrupted. Performing a Hard reset by reinstalling Windows will wipe away everything on the computer’s hard drive, restoring it to its formerly clean state.

The process of starting fresh at a clean restore point or refresh of the operating system is usually faster and more simple than looking through the computer’s hard drive, trying to identify the exact reason for the problems.

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