“Just turn it off and on again” – How Does It Work?
It’s a famous running joke among those of us who use computers regularly (so that’s pretty much everyone). Your machine is running excruciatingly slowly or even freezing completely. You can’t get anything done and it’s a total mystery what the problem is. So what’s the highly complex, technical solution? “Have you tried restarting your machine?” As much as we joke about it, the simple “turn it off and back on again” actually works a lot of the time and there are real, technical reasons why.
If you’re demanding a lot of your machine, keeping multiple web browser tabs open, streaming services like Spotify, watching videos, downloading files and running various programs all at the same time, this will put pressure on your computer’s RAM. Okay, we’re getting a bit more technical here – RAM stands for Random-Access Memory. That’s the portion of your computer’s processing dedicated to temporary storage of the data and code that is currently in use and it keeps your machine running smoothly. If you have a lot of programs and websites open at the same time, it might exceed what your RAM can deal with, especially if anything runs into a glitch and freezes. Restarting your machine wipes all that data from temporary storage and clears your RAM so you can get back to work (or play) from a clean slate.
You might have also been told to unplug your computer and wait a few minutes before restarting. This is sometimes necessary because power is still running to the machine even after you’ve turned it off, and sometimes the power needs to be cut off completely in order to clear all that temporary data. The “off and on again” technique can sometimes solve problems with your other IT gadgets too, like your wireless router, printer, scanner, copier or projector; they all run software that can slow down or freeze if overloaded or struck by interference.
Unfortunately, the “magic reboot” doesn’t solve every IT problem you might come up against. If, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work this time give us a call at MSP Blueshift.