45 posts in this topic

Posted

"Have you tried rebooting?"

I'm sure you've heard this classic tech support question at some point. It's suggested for all kinds of gadgets, from tablets and smartphones to wireless routers and home entertainment systems. It even works for misbehaving computer programs.

It might sound like a cop-out, but there is a good reason why your repair person suggests rebooting before anything else. To explain why, let me set up a non-techie example. Have you ever been writing a letter and gotten interrupted for just a second? You can pick up where you left off with very little effort.

But what happens if there's a string of interruptions, or a major interruption that takes you away for a few hours or even days? You can't just jump back in to the letter without reading it through from the beginning, or even starting over.

That's similar to how electronics work. A minor glitch usually isn't a problem. It will just slow things down for a minute while the system recovers.

A bunch of glitches or a really serious glitch, however, can completely interrupt the gadget's train of thought. It can't pick up where it left off. Everything might freeze, or you'll get an error like the infamous Windows blue screen of death or the beach ball on your Mac.

At that point, the only thing to do is start over. Rebooting lets the gadget begin from square one. In many cases, the glitches don't pop up again.

That's why tech support folks ask you to restart your gadget first. It's an easy, no-fuss fix that weeds out minor problems without requiring lots of time and money.

Of course, sometimes the glitches are part of a deeper problem that won't go away. If your PC keeps slowing down while you're using it, for example, it might be a misbehaving program draining your CPU and memory.

Restarting can help you pinpoint what program it is. If your computer starts fine but misbehaves after opening a certain program, there's your problem.

At that point, you can re-install the program, see if there's an update from the manufacturer or find an alternative program.

Now, let's say you reboot your computer, but for some reason it doesn't clear the problem. You can try stopping certain programs from running during startup with a program like Autoruns.

Disabling one program at a time can help you narrow down the offending program. Turning off unneeded programs at startup can also make your computer boot faster.

If you can't find a misbehaving program, it might a driver problem. For that, you need to boot using Safe Mode. It's a powerful troubleshooting tool built in to your computer. It lets you manually correct settings and uninstall programs or drivers that are causing problems.

On most computers, pressing F8 during startup will bring up the boot menu. You can select Safe Mode from the options.

Rebooting a gadget can also help you fix Internet connection problems. A spotty connection could be your router or modem acting up.

Unplug the router or modem, wait 10 to 30 seconds and then plugging it back in. This will refresh its internal software and its connection to your Internet service provider.

Wondering why you have to wait? Most electronic equipment still has power in it for a little while after it's unplugged.

While there's still power, the glitch you're trying to fix might stick around. Letting the gadget completely drain erases potential problems.  

With a computer, smartphone or tablet, waiting isn't usually needed. However, if there is a really persistent problem, shut the gadget down and wait 30 seconds to turn it back on.

In most cases, you should be able get back to fun or work without further problems.

 

Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast, watch the show or find the station nearest you, visit: www.komando.com/listen

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Posted

There is definitely no secret here.

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Posted

Reboot usually fixes most issues lol.. if it doesn't.. reformat time.. lol

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Posted

whenever someone says "just reboot" for me it shows how much they understand technology...

yeah sure there are justified reasons that a reboot must take place (hardware and software ones), but when someone wants to reboot out of nowhere it aggravates me.

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Posted

Theres few things that require 'waiting' anymore. Electronics are much better designed and usually have timing delays that ensure power levels are appropriate to prevent power spikes before powering back up, and they also use a lot less power. Only old high-power devices (desktop computers, audio amplifiers, UPS, etc), and pretty much ANY network-related problems require any amount of waiting... For networks you want to allow the network as a whole to see you are NOT there for sure (like 10 failed pings 250ms apart?) Generally 5 seconds is more than enough for any electronic bought in the past 10 years.

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Posted

whenever someone says "just reboot" for me it shows how much they understand technology...

yeah sure there are justified reasons that a reboot must take place (hardware and software ones), but when someone wants to reboot out of nowhere it aggravates me.

While reboots are certainly not a be all, end all, it should be the first thing anyone tries.

 

I know if someone refuses to reboot with an OS problem, I will not help them.  I only ask that they try it initially.

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Posted

moved to correct forum.

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Posted

While reboots are certainly not a be all, end all, it should be the first thing anyone tries.

 

I know if someone refuses to reboot with an OS problem, I will not help them.  I only ask that they try it initially.

 

well i've had all sorts of issues, even a failing server that, if rebooted the array *might* die (and the tech that requested the reboot had it's way ignoring that issue that f0cked up the array) so a reboot, while it can resolve some problems, it's not always the end solution; it can resolve but it's not always the original problem. I prefer i thorough troubleshooting, it can take time but at least you know exactly what happened or what it needs to be done (sometimes a reboot :D).

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Posted

I pretty much always suggest a reboot when I am getting to the end of working with someone. Aside from anything else, I want to know that the fix that I applied to correct the problem will still be effective after restarting. I also use it as a last resort when I can't find the source of the issue, just to see if the computer figures out the issue itself. :laugh:

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Posted

If I may interject, as I manage our development team and often am called in to conversations on the support team.

 

We suggest a reboot because it's the lowest hanging fruit.  It's not that there's a "script" as such, but more that we want to eliminate the obvious.

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Posted

whenever someone says "just reboot" for me it shows how much they understand technology...

yeah sure there are justified reasons that a reboot must take place (hardware and software ones), but when someone wants to reboot out of nowhere it aggravates me.

 

It depends, is fixing the issue at hand more important  vs taking the time with research, diagnose, to find out the real cause. 

With most places, time is money, and if a reboot fixes it, and the issue's not common, or frequently occurring, places don't want to spend the money for that level of troubleshooting. 

 

Not many places will do the engineering level work to remove all bugs and prevent them from happening again or determining who's at fault. 

I suspect Nasa, Military, Military contractors do more of the latter. 

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Posted

Whenever there is some article that's called secrets revealed, its usually pretty common knowledge. Secrets of chickens revealed :laugh:

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Posted

It depends, is fixing the issue at hand more important  vs taking the time with research, diagnose, to find out the real cause. 

With most places, time is money, and if a reboot fixes it, and the issue's not common, or frequently occurring, places don't want to spend the money for that level of troubleshooting. 

 

Not many places will do the engineering level work to remove all bugs and prevent them from happening again or determining who's at fault. 

I suspect Nasa, Military, Military contractors do more of the latter. 

 

This.

 

"Just reboot" is fine if you only have a problem that happens once in a million years, but if you need to get to the real cause so you can devise a plan to fix it, rebooting will probably just get rid of the evidence that you need to be able to pinpoint the exact source of the problem.

 

I'm a software developer, and when I get bug reports, I'm going to insist on the steps required to reproduce the problem.  A bug report with "Rebooting makes the problem go away" is as good as useless if that's all it contains.

 

As for the article--seriously, what is this from, 1993?

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Posted

Personally, I think this is old school advice. I'm not sure it's relevant anymore. I can't tell you the last time I had to reboot to fix a problem.

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Posted

I have had Windows 7 and 8 freeze on rare occasions and had to force shutdown my computer manually. I usually reboot when drivers are installed or a program

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Posted

 

"Just reboot" is fine if you only have a problem that happens once in a million years, but if you need to get to the real cause so you can devise a plan to fix it, rebooting will probably just get rid of the evidence that you need to be able to pinpoint the exact source of the problem.

 

 

That's how I feel. Rebooting is a last resort for me. I want to find out what the problem is, what is causing it, and how to prevent it from happening again instead of just rebooting to make it go away.

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Posted

I have had Windows 7 and 8 freeze on rare occasions and had to force shutdown my computer manually. I usually reboot when drivers are installed or a program

 

It's better to figure out what is causing it to freeze than to reboot. 

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Posted

"Try setting it on fire"

 

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Posted

I'm in IT. I almost always suggest rebooting first. 95% of the time it works and they go on their merry way. Saves a lot of hassle! If it keeps recurring or the problem is still around after the restart, then it's time to diagnose, but at least I have a 'clean palette' to work with.

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Posted

I'm in IT. I almost always suggest rebooting first. 95% of the time it works and they go on their merry way. Saves a lot of hassle! If it keeps recurring or the problem is still around after the restart, then it's time to diagnose, but at least I have a 'clean palette' to work with.

Another one is Safe Mode.

 

I used to get a lot of flack from customers back when I did tech support.  They thought that if it worked in Safe Mode that it meant that I was done with them.

 

No...it just gives you a place to start looking, especially if the problem isn't in Safe Mode.  People are very resistant to trying safe mode for some reason.

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Posted

this reminds me the firsts episodes of IT Crowd where Roy had a tape recording of usual IT solutions like "is it turned on?" and "just do a reboot" and so on and played that whenever a costumer telephoned him for help... :woot::laugh:

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Posted

Personally, I think this is old school advice. I'm not sure it's relevant anymore. I can't tell you the last time I had to reboot to fix a problem.

I still see it work for a lot of things.

 

I just had this experience with a new TV.

 

I couldn't get any brightness, the second time I turned it on.

 

'Rebooting' cleared the problem right up.

 

Still I wonder what exactly causes the need for a reboot in the first place ...

 

 

And I have enjoyed some of the surprising responses in this topic -- I learned more than just what the article said. ;)

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Posted

I still see it work for a lot of things.

 

I just had this experience with a new TV.

 

I couldn't get any brightness, the second time I turned it on.

 

'Rebooting' cleared the problem right up.

 

Still I wonder what exactly causes the need for a reboot in the first place ...

Imminent hardware failure.

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Posted

i have to let my wife read this, because when ever her phone or computer or the internet connection is screwy, i always tell her to reboot it to see if that clears it up, and then look for a problem if not......

 

she never believes me until after it's back on and working!   ugh

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