Have you ever experienced any of these problems?
- Your computer refuses to respond after being left on but unused for a while
- Web sites take forever to load on your screen, even though you subscribe to a fast Internet speed
- Programs run slowly, especially if they’ve been open a long time
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Especially when you’re trying to print an important document or send an urgent email.
So you pick up the phone and call me – your computer guy.
“Have you rebooted it?” is the first question I ask after you describe your issue.
What kind of help is this guy? you silently say to yourself. Reboot? I have a computer problem and Scott thinks rebooting my computer or restarting the program is gonna magically fix it. And he’s a computer expert? Pshhh.
It may seem like an elementary suggestion, but rebooting really can solve many problems with all of your electronic gadgets.
Real-World Examples Where This Works
Your Computer Is Slow
Leaving your computer powered on 24/7/365 allows you to use your computer without having to wait for it to boot up every time you want to use it. It also lets your antivirus software run late night scans, keeping your computer virus-free.
But Windows processes constantly run in the background, even when you’re not actively using your PC. Sometimes these misbehave, causing a drain on the computer’s resources that can’t be automatically fixed.
The next time you try to do something on your computer, it doesn’t respond or operates very slowly.
Rebooting your computer clears the system resources, giving your PC a fresh start.
Leaving your computer on all the time is fine. Just be sure to reboot it at least three times a week.
Your wireless router stays tucked away under your desk or in an out of the way place. The little box magically feeds Internet and network access to all your computers, smartphones, tablets and wireless printers.
But just like a computer, the software on a router can become unstable. This can bring your web browsing to a crawl or cause wireless devices to not connect.
The majority of wireless network and Internet issues I receive calls about are usually fixed by unplugging your router for 30 seconds and plugging it back in.
A Software Program Stops Responding
Whether you’re using Google Chrome to surf the web or Microsoft Word to type a letter, you will probably encounter a time when the program stops responding to your commands.
What may have happened is the program encountered a memory leak. The program consumes an exorbitant amount of memory, causing your computer to slow down and the program to “freeze.”
Simply close the program, wait 20 seconds, then reopen it again.
Did It Really Fix It?
Rebooting is always the first step you should take when you experience an issue with most any electronic gadget.
Your computer. Your iPad. Your Samsung Galaxy phone. Your router.
If the problem persists or you have to reboot every day or multiple times a day, a more serious underlying issue could be the culprit. A computer professional, like myself, can then help diagnose the root cause and recommend a solution.
The One Problem It Won’t Fix
Rebooting doesn’t fix every problem, though.
Every computer user eventually suffers from a pop-up window appearing on your screen, warning that your computer is infected. You’re instructed to call an 800 number (which is a scam – so don’t call it).
Nothing you do closes the window.
To get rid of it, you must forcefully power off your PC.
If you experience this, immediately call a professional computer technician. Do NOT continue using your computer.
Yes, you can power your computer back on. Yes, websites may load fine. Yes, you can check email. Yes, you can type documents.
But your computer may still contain a virus or malware infection.
Rebooting does NOT remove a virus – even if everything still seems to work fine. In a short time, it will rear its ugly head again. Viruses require specialized removal tools to thoroughly clean your system.
I always look forward to helping my clients with their computers. Sometimes the fix really is as simple as turning it off and back on.