the

Reboot or Power Down: Why Do So Many Tech Support Solutions Start with That?

why do so many tech support solutions

start with reboot or power down

hi everyone i'm leo notenboom for

askleo.com where we've been rebooting

and powering down computers and powering

them back up again

since 2003 so this is a question that i

get fairly often let me read you one

example

it seems like every time i call the tech

support line for my software operating

system or even my broadband connection

the first thing out of the technician's

mouth is

reboot or worse yet power down for a

while

what does that have to do with anything

and why does it work

i agree it does seem like so much magic

i know

but it is one of those fundamental

things that

honestly you should try on your own all

the time when you're expecting or

experiencing a problem

it is one of those almost magic bullets

that can make

all sorts of different problems go away

the question of course is why is that

when it comes to the electronics in your

devices

it is absolutely possible for the

electronics not the software but the

actual hardware in your devices

to get into what i'll just call a weird

state

it can be anything from a bug in the

software can certainly cause it

but even things outside of

the software like power fluctuations or

even cosmic rays as it turns out

can cause the hardware to be affected in

such a way that it is not

in a state that is 100 the way it should

be

and because these things are so random

and unpredictable

it's also very possible that there is no

known way of operating the software or

the device

normally that would cause that whatever

state it is

to be reset the only thing that you can

do

in a case like that is to turn it off

completely now there are two kinds of

turn offs of course you can reboot

something which is mostly

about the software or you can turn

something

off physically in other words that's

when they say

turn it off and unplug it from the power

for a while

that removes the electricity from the

device and actually returns

all of the hardware in your computer or

in whatever other device

to its known initial state in other

words

powered off everything gets reset

when that happens then when you restart

the device it's

operating from a known good state

and then can pick up wherever it had

left off

the problem no longer being present

until of course

the next thing comes along now of course

when we talk about

computers we have to say that the same

thing applies to software

more often than not it's a random bug

i'll call it

something that isn't supposed to happen

but still

does on occasion maybe even on rare

occasions

or maybe it happens often but it's the

rare occasion where it actually

impacts anything once again the problem

is because the behavior the activity

isn't something that was expected normal

operation of the software doesn't

undo it it doesn't reset it it doesn't

fix the problem

the only way is to start over

that's where a reboot comes in you're

not resetting the hardware by removing

the power but you are

resetting the software by forcing the

operating system to be

reloaded from a known state that known

state is

there's nothing loaded so it starts from

nothing

reloads the operating system and resets

up everything the way it should be

it's a rule of thumb in software in

hardware in basically almost any kind of

technology related diagnosis when in

doubt

reboot generally there's almost no cost

involved in that

other than perhaps a little bit of

downtime don't reboot spuriously when

you're you know trying to use the

machine

but if you're experiencing a problem if

you're beating your head against

some kind of weird behavior in your

software in your hardware

reboot turn everything off unplug the

power for a little while

and then start over from scratch not

only will the spurious problems be reset

by

being removed by either the power no

longer being present or the software

being reloaded

but perhaps even as important only those

things you

actually will be using will be loaded

into ram loaded into memory

and that is another cause of just having

too much software all loaded at the same

time

somehow occasionally improperly

interacting with one another

by rebooting you're getting rid of all

that stuff too

so when in doubt reboot it

is one of the fastest ways to make i'd

say about half

if not three quarters of the problems

you often experience

just go away as if by magic

and you know there's a strong argument

that in fact it

is in fact magic

for the article on which this was based

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i'm leo notenboom this is askleo.com

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