Many People Wonder:
Why does restarting the computer resolve so many issues? What kind of magic happens while the computer reboots?
Many times when someone has a problem with their computer, the first thing that any tech support person will tell them is to restart their computer. Most people think the tech is just trying to find a quick and easy way to resolve the problem.
Without getting into many technical aspects of what actually occurs while a computer restarts, we’ll explore why rebooting is good and why it fixes at least 80% of all problems, if not more. But first, let’s get a quick understanding of how a computer actually does some tasks and how it’s built.
A computer stores data (ex. documents), runs applications (ex. MS Word) and processes data in its brain, the CPU. Files are stored on your hard disk and are loaded into active memory only when they are used. Applications also reside on your hard disk, and are loaded into the memory when they are used.
Think Of Memory As A Bucket.
As the bucket has a finite capacity so does your computer memory. When a computer needs to load a document or a spreadsheet or start an application, it puts them in the bucket. You have to manage how much to put into the bucket so you don’t overload it. As you empty the bucket, by closing files and applications, some items stick to it, which decreases bucket’s capacity.
The only way to get the bucket back to its original state is to thoroughly clean it with water and some detergent. You clean your computer with a reboot.
So What Will Restarting A Computer Do And Why Do It:
- If your computer is frozen, rebooting will “unfreeze it.” The main argument against that simple task is data loss. The fact of the matter is that it’s already decided if the work is saved, lost, or recoverable. You will not lose any work by rebooting that hasn’t already been lost.
- If programs are freezing but your computer itself isn’t, rebooting will make them run properly again. Rebooting frees up resources that were previously lost, allowing programs to function normally (cleaning the bucket).
- Rebooting frees up resources. Running applications uses memory, hard drive space, and many other resources (the bucket). When those resources are depleted, your computer slows down and then, finally, it stops responding. Restarting “refreshes” those resources.
- Rebooting fixes problems. During a restart process a computer performs an array of checks and tests and often fixes problems with user’s intervention. It is like cleaning your bucket and at the same time checking for leaks, cracks, etc.
- Sometimes, it just does. We don’t know why, maybe it’s some mystical mojo, but sometimes rebooting fixes things for reasons we don’t know, or just haven’t pinpointed.
- Finally, rebooting helps troubleshoot the problem. It helps us determine if we can replicate the problem. A one-time problem such as an application that freezes would not happen again after restarting. There is even a chance that it will not happen anymore. However, the answer is not known until we start all over from scratch again, just like when the computer is first turned on.
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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