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The mystery behind turning it off and back on again

Posted April 12, 2018

Your IT guys are not simply trying to annoy you. Phew! Finally an explanation of why it’s recommended and how this actually makes sense.

By Zubair Khan, NOC, Process and Systems Head Engineer

If you’ve ever contacted IT support to report a problem with your computer, then there’s a good chance you’ve heard that question many times. It’s become a bit of a cliché, even forming the basis of the popular British sitcom ‘The IT Crowd’, but the truth is that turning it off and back on again really does solve many IT problems.

Yes, we all know that frustrating feeling when the support technician asks you to power down your device and restart it, but there’s a very good reason for the request. They don’t say it just to annoy you – they’re simply trying to rule out some of the most common causes of PC problems.

The truth is, a reboot should be the first thing you attempt if you’re experiencing problems such as applications running slowly, overheating, minor bugs, or printer, network and Wi-Fi connection issues. We even recommend to try it before you contact your support desk as it can save your business some money spent on IT support!

So why does it work so effectively?

      1- Well, after your computer has been running for a long period of time, you’ve probably opened and closed dozens of applications. It’s likely your browser has visited hundreds of websites, and perhaps you’ve also installed or removed some software.

     2- Each of these tasks consumes background resources and leaves behind remnants of the process in your computer’s long-term and short-term memory. This leads to memory fragmentation and eventually clogs up your hard disk and RAM with unnecessary data.

      3- After a while, your system starts to slow down, programs don’t run efficiently, and you experience glitches and error messages. If this continues for long enough, your active applications can no longer find sufficient free memory to operate properly and your computer will begin to freeze, lag, or crash altogether.

     4- When you restart your PC, all of this extraneous data is deleted, and your computer reinitialises with a cleaner, faster, more efficient operating system.  The memory is cleared and any previously frozen tasks or locked files are unlocked. And this logic also applies to other digital devices like smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi routers, and even your television.

Reboot every device – phones, PCs and tablets.

For desktop computers, there’s normally a shutdown or restart menu option you can use to reboot the system. For tablets and smartphones, you’ll typically have to hold down one or more buttons on the device for several seconds. And for other consumer electronics such as TVs and routers, you may have to physically disconnect and reconnect the power supply. These are all variations of ‘turning it off and back on again’.

So next time you’re experiencing issues with your computer, you know what to do. In fact, it’s a good idea to restart your PC at least once a week as a preventative measure to keep everything running smoothly.

Bremmar works hard to help businesses grow and achieve a competitive advantage through IT. If you would like to know how Bremmar Managed Services could help your business simply contact us today on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au


By Zubair Khan, NOC, Process and Systems Head Engineer

Known as ConnectWise, Labtech and reporting “guru”, Zubair has built Bremmar’s monitoring system from the ground up and revamped the company’s internal systems. Zubair is known for finding quick solutions for tricky situations and loves doing that with a smile on his face. His skills, together with his positive attitude, even got him a slogan within the company: Keep calm and let Zubair handle it.

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