The most asked question in IT explained
Whether your desktop has frozen, your router is receiving no internet connection or your smart fridge has not ordered supplies for a couple of days – a reboot will be the first thing suggested by your IT support provider to fix the issue.
It may sound flippant when suggested but a reboot will solve most common IT problems. There are a multitude of errors that you could experience with IT equipment, with just as many causes and yet many of them have a solution in common.
A soft reboot (shutting your device down and switching it back on again) isn’t limited to Windows machines, it is a fix that can be applied across the board, this is mainly due to the fact that computers all work in essentially the same way. Resetting your machine allows the computer to do a few things, we’re going to explain these in the order they happen.
Firstly, it clears the active memory (RAM) so that when you power on your machine your operating system and programs must load up again, this would reset any programs with issues such as memory leaks and so on which can stop your machine working correctly by restricting CPU and RAM resources. After your RAM is clear, your CPU will stop having to work overtime and subsequently, your machine will become “faster”.
The next thing that a reboot can do for your pc is to reset any network issues that you’re having. Forcing your pc to reconnect to a router or switch, after being powered off means that it will have to reconnect to your network, and be reassigned an IP. A reboot will also restart your network card drivers, which could malfunction and stop your device transmitting properly.
Programs that have malfunctioning code can also lead to a computer slowing down, freezing or just generally not doing what they are supposed to. For example: if Microsoft Outlook had frozen during a send and receive procedure you would be asked to close the program and try to open it again. Failing that, the person giving support would request you to reboot the PC and try it again. This process would probably correct the issue as the software has been fully cleared from memory and the program’s state has been refreshed, solving the issue.
Lastly, switching your pc off and on again can alleviate you from operating system woes. Sometimes, your device’s underlying software can malfunction, this is the layer that communicates from the program to the kernel/hardware and a problem at this level can stop even basic functionality. Restarting your device reloads all of the crucial system services that allow your machine to work at a basic standard, which in turn will solve problems higher up the chain.
A reboot is the simplest solution to an IT problem, but it resolves some very complicated issues that would be hard to diagnose and troubleshoot manually. Turning your computer off and on again to fix your problems works on many devices to fix many problems, which is why it is suggested as a multi-purpose and multi-platform solution used by every IT support provider in the world.