February 26, 2020



You know the words…when you contact IT with an issue and they say “have you tried switching it off and back on again?”! Then eureka it mysteriously seems to remove the problem and everything works again. So, why is that and what happens when you go through that process?

While to those on the receiving end this can be super frustrating there are some simple things that happen when you go through this step. Many may just think it is something that an IT support tech person says to buy them time, but the truth is there is so much more behind it. And let’s face it for much of the time it really does work!

Why does switching off and on my computer remove issues?

It’s not that we are magic or possess super powers (although many in our team would like to think they do!). The fact is that sometimes, just like us mere humans a computer or IT system is feeling a little overwhelmed by everything and needs some time out to re-configure how it is operating. Let’s face it we expect a lot from our computers and they are doing an awful lot, all at the same time. We might be asking it to be checking incoming emails, running virus scans, possibly streaming some video, editing in Photoshop and coping with having a multitude of Chrome search tabs open. If so, then everything eats up a little more RAM or temporary memory. So your poor system starts to feel a little overloaded and things start not running as smoothly as either you or the machine would like. By simply re-starting you are giving everything a boost and clearing out any temporarily stored data which means the software is able to run normally again.

Let’s face it we do the same with our phones too and yet are even less inclined to switch these and off that regularly. Likewise a wireless router, the games console, the TV all runs on software which over time can become corrupted through overuse. So the same logic applies for these too. In fact if you take it one step further than a simple restart and actually unplug the device and wait a few moments before starting it up again that gives your piece of annoying kit a fabulous kick start. Why? Well this way the machine really is totally and utterly switched off with no latent power running through it and things don’t really effectively, totally reset until they have been depleted completely.

So, next time you’re asked the question “have you switched it off and back on again?” don’t raise your eyebrows as now you know the real reason behind we ask that question. In fact the best thing you can do is try it before seeking IT support as you never know it could all resolve itself!

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