“Try restarting” is every tech guru’s first piece of advice when someone approaches them with an issue. There’s an important reason for this. Restarting a device, app or computer actually does a lot in terms of fixing minor problems. Sometimes, what appears to be a huge meltdown is actually just too much memory being used. This is why your apps crash and close out when you try to do certain tasks–they’re doing the work for you. Have you ever had an iPhone freeze or have confusing issues? Turning it off and on again usually does the trick. But why?
What restarting does
Some downloads require you to restart your computer before activating. This is because, when a line of code is introduced or misbehaving, the computer may stumble over it in an attempt to get it working. The CPU may be working extremely hard for a simple program because of a code hiccup. Restarting makes the computer boot the system from scratch, so the code must be reentered. Think of it like smoothing out wrinkles with an iron.
Common reasons you may need a restart
If your internet browser is using too much memory (i.e., has been open for days, and you’ve just been putting your computer into sleep mode) it can choke up your system. Occasionally, simply closing out of the browser and restarting it can fix the problem. It’s a good idea, though, to update when Windows (or whatever OS) tells you to. Don’t keep tapping “Remind me later” when your iPhone says to update. We’re all guilty of it, but it can really confuse the hardware. A slow computer could also be using too much memory, and a restart will fix that. Also, any internet connectivity problems may be fixed this way–like blowing the dust out of a game cartridge.
A hard restart
This is essentially wiping everything from your computer and starting anew, like you just got it. As long as you backup your files, this can be a computer-saver. It’s especially useful when you’ve got malware infecting your files. The computer will delete everything, so any hidden folders will be gone, too. You can do this on any device when it starts going haywire–”restore to factory settings” on Apple products is just an example.
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