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Why Restarting Your Computer Fixes So Many Problems

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A Familiar Tech Support Conversation

You’re having an issue with your computer and you decide to call tech support. You describe your problem, and no matter what it is, you get asked, “Did you try restarting it?”

Sound familiar? 

If it does, there are a lot of good reasons why this is the case. “Did you try restarting it?” isn’t just a copout so that the tech support people don’t have to do their jobs, it is actually the first step to fixing a lot of computer issues.

Update and Clean Out

First of all, by restarting, you’re allowing your computer to install necessary updates, which it does automatically, when it’s restarted. It also clears out temporary file caches, which frees up space on your hard drive. 

Your computer may also need to be restarted because the browser could be taking up too much memory and slowing down your computer to a crawl. Restarting clears out temporary files so your internet browsing gets unclogged as well. 

Fun fact: you need about 20% of free space on your hard-drive for it to function at optimal.

Shuts Down All Running Programs

Restarting–or rebooting, the two are often used interchangeably–closes any and all programs that may not be running properly. Sure, you can use the task manager to manually close programs, but you may not know exactly which program is causing the issue and it’s possible your computer is running background programs that you’re not aware of. Rebooting your PC makes sure those background programs are shut down and restarted as well. 

Restores Programs to a Working Version

Something may not have connected properly, or there may be an issue of data corruption. The reason restarting works in these types of cases, is because upon restarting, your computer restores programs and files to an earlier, uncorrupted, working version. When you shut down your computer properly, the system does its best to safeguard your data–which is why you should never just flip the switch on the back of your desktop computer or unplug it from the wall to force it off. That will only make your problems worse. 

Works for More than Computers

Restarting doesn’t just apply to computers, it applies to routers, mobile devices, programs, and browsers. It even applies to people. If your brain is in a fog and you can’t think straight, try taking a nap. It’s the human equivalent of turning it off then turning it back on.

So, the next time you have to restart your computer because of an error, thank the programming that it’s just that easy. And if restarting your computer doesn’t fix the issue, we have a team of experts that can.