There is one solution to a lot of tech problems that everyone knows, the infamous “have you tried turning it off and then back on again?”. This go-to move is a bit of a joke in the IT industry but it is amazing how many times it actually works and how many end users forget to try it.
Take the Microsoft Windows Blue Screen, for instance. If you see this screen, Windows has stopped working and cannot continue operating. Restarting is really the only option you can try.
As with all computers, sometimes they will lock up or an application will freeze. If it’s an application, you can try to kill it off (via Control + Alt + Delete in Windows, or Option, Command and Esc on a Mac). If that doesn’t work though, you may have to force a shutdown. On a Mac this is done by pressing Command + Control + Option + Power button. On a PC you will need to hold down the power button for as long as needed (usually around 20 – 30 seconds) for the computer to shut off.
You shouldn’t have to do this a lot as shutting down a computer this way may cause damage. It is safer to use the power button than to just pull the plug from the electrical outlet though.
When you have issues with internet or network connectivity, powering off your computer may again be the solution (especially if all other users can use the internet fine). If that doesn’t work? Try powering off the router / modem or network switch. The same explanation applies, only now you’re resetting the connection from network side.
A Couple of Cautions
Before powering off the device, if possible, save any documents you have open and close all programs. Unexpectedly turning off a computer may cause data corruption in the files you had open. Make sure that you don’t loose your entire documents by saving them regularly. It is also worth making multiple, incremental copies of your work as you make your way through it. For example, File v1.doc, File v2.doc, etc. This can be done by using the “Save As” function.
Keep in mind that when turning something off and on again you don’t want to go too quickly. Keep the device powered off for 5–10 seconds. This will give the device the necessary time to reset.
Also, you probably want to avoid turning your computer off and on many times in the one day. If you use the device a lot throughout the day, then leave it on. Turning the computer on and off repeatedly can stress the device, especially older computers. Likewise, leaving it on all the time can take a toll, too and also adds to your electricity bill. We recommend you turning on the computer at the start of the day and then turning it off at the end of the day.
Nevertheless, restarting a computer or any device remains a good first step to try and solve any issues you may be having. This time-honoured self-service solution isn’t going to do the trick every time, though. Some issues will remain after a reboot, such as a hardware issue.
Don’t give up hope. Speak to a professional if powering on and off doesn’t solve your problem. Contact us today on email@example.com or 08 8326 4364