Just Reboot It, Silly

It is time for another tantalizing “tip of the day!” This one concerns turning your machine off and back on again when an unexpected error occurs.

I know everyone has, at some time or another, presented a problem and was met with the answer “Did you turn it off before calling a tech?” I would like to take a moment to explain the why and how of this answer. smile emoticon

The Why
Why do we say that? Because statistically, turning it off and back on fixes over 90% of all errors.

The How
How is such a feat possible from such a simple action? Computers use “processes” to perform all of their tasks. Each process is in charge of a single activity. There is one for printing, one just for the touchpad or mouse, one for the keyboard… you get the idea. Sometimes a process will throw an error message. The computer attempts to fix that error and restarts the process. Usually that succeeds. Sometimes, it does not. If the process continues to fail, the computer will turn the process off (so it might “suddenly stop printing”) and will not attempt to start it again until the machine is rebooted. Thus, a reboot turns the process back on and everything goes back to normal.