Why should you restart your computer?
We’ve all heard the cliché advice, “turn it off for a few seconds, then turn it back on,” but is that ever really effective? If so, when is it appropriate?
Many people laugh at this advice and are even incredulous when it is first suggested to them, but the truth is that many issues that you may be experiencing can be resolved with a quick and simple reboot. If you tend to leave your computer on for extended periods without restarting it, you become increasingly likely to experience problems.
For the most part, if you want to keep your computers running efficiently, they should be restarted on a regular basis. If you are using an older version of Windows, you will want to do this on a nightly basis, while newer versions and Mac computers can manage with less frequent reboots.
If you are regularly putting your computer to sleep, this is not the same as rebooting; even when sleeping, your computer will have various processes running in the background.
Is your computer running slowly? Are you experiencing other issues, and wanting to call upon your IT team for support? Before you do, you may want to consider trying a reboot. If your computer has been running for over a week, it could be a simple matter of needing to free up memory space and clearing out temporary files. It is entirely natural for your computer to slow down after being left on for an extended period, and it is quite possible that a reboot will speed it up again.
One of the most common problems that can be fixed with a reboot is freezing, or applications that cease to respond. You may find that your computer is completely frozen, not even allowing you to click on the start menu in order to restart it. In such instances, you can still reboot your computer by pressing and holding the power button for several seconds until your system powers down. Wait a few seconds and press the power again. If, at this point, your system is still not behaving properly, it may be time to contact your IT team.
Reboots aren’t just for resolving problems, however. You are most likely aware of the need to reboot any time that you install a Windows update. Restarting is also needed for many other software updates, or installations. If upon updating or installing software you find that no changes seem to have taken effect, you may be needing to reboot.
Network issues may occasionally be resolved with a reboot as well; rebooting your computer forces it to make another attempt at connecting with the network and may correct temporary glitches that prevented it from connecting earlier.
Rebooting your system can also resolve certain hardware issues as well, such as when you notice a laptop’s fan working unusually hard or becoming hotter than normal. A reboot may be needed if it is working too hard and needing to refresh to a state where fewer demands are being placed upon it.
Although the suggestion of restarting your computer may seem silly and ineffectual, it can actually result in a great deal of time and money being saved by avoiding costly calls to IT support, and if you should still need to contact IT, you will have already eliminated issues that could be resolved by a reboot, allowing them to better gauge where your problem lies.