Argh! What is it with IT guys asking this question as soon as you call them with a problem with your computer, tablet, phone, printer or anything else that has a circuit board on it?
Honestly, for us the phrase is such a cliché that sometimes even we try to avoid it (or suggesting you restart the powercycle). Sometimes it feels like a bit of a cop-out.
There are some good reasons behind it though.
If we can’t get connected remotely to your computer because it has hung, or the network driver has failed, a swift reboot can get us connected to further troubleshoot or even solve the problem.
If you have a laptop that hasn’t been restarted in 72 days, chances are the performance of your computer has taken such a gradual hit over that time that it’s slowly grinding to a halt. Not to mention all of those important patches and updates that don’t get applied until you restart.
If something inexplicable is happening, sometimes it could be down to a memory leak. As RAM is volatile, restarting clears out the RAM and gets everything back to normal.
There are times where restarting straight away isn’t a great idea though. Like if you’re 7 hours into a document that you haven’t been saving every so often and the computer freezes. Sometimes Autosave and Autorecover can help you out here, but saving regularly consciously can put your mind at ease a little more.
So, next time we ask you to restart, we aren’t trying to waste your time or are being pedantic. We want to get you working again asap, and usually restarting “Just Works”.