Foration Blog

Demystifying: ‘Have you tried turning it off and back on again?'

Paul Weeden

Written by Paul Weeden

Founder & Managing Director at Foration. IT and technology fixer.

[fa icon="clock-o"] 18 June 2012 [fa icon="user"] Paul Weeden [fa icon="folder-open'] IT support

Have you tried turning it off and on again?’ – the prevalant ‘IT guy’ catchphrase brought into humorous light by Channel 4’s ‘The IT crowd’.

While the parody lives on however, so does the question itself. But why? If you’re computer isn’t performing, can a restart really help fix it? In short – yes, it often can.

The question has become a clique but the reason for asking remains the same; it’s a simple action that can fix a multitude of errors.

Why do they ask?

Your IT guy isn’t being lazy by asking you to do this; they are in fact ruling out minor system errors. The fact is that restarting a computer is a way of defining whether this is an issue for the IT department or not. There are around seven commands that run automatically when you restart a computer. Without restarting the system, those seven commands turn into seven manual troubleshooting steps – so the restart saves time.

What type of problems require a reboot?

  • ‘My computer is being slow!’
  • ‘I’m connected to the internet but my browser won’t recognise it’
  • ‘That document just won’t print!’
  • My PC is overheating

Dealing with any of these issues? The truth is that a restart often fixes the more common computer problems – and PC troubleshooting should always start with a reboot.

Windows has been created to react to certain errors by restarting – and any time you’ve seen the dreaded blue screen of death, you may have noticed it tells you that it needs to be shut down to prevent damage. In the case of a less serious problem, Windows may not prompt you to do this, but will usually be grateful when you do.

And there we have it – the facts behind the phrase! Now really, have you turned it off and back on again?

Paul Weeden

Written by Paul Weeden

Founder & Managing Director at Foration. IT and technology fixer.

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