It is an IT support cliché – have you tried switching it off and on again?
To be fair, this frequently solves many problems with misbehaving IT devices. Typically, shutting down and switching off the power to a computer will restore its temporary internal structures to a known “fresh” point, which enables it to work normally when it is started again.
However, for many PCs and laptops, using the physical button to switch them off and on does not do what you expect it to. Instead they go into a sleep mode, remembering where they were, to try and make things faster when you next press the physical ‘On’ button. As a result, they do not restore things to a “fresh” state.
To make sure your PC or laptop really does get itself to this fresh starting point, you will need to use the ‘Restart’ option.
Back in Windows 7 days, Microsoft recommended that desktop PCs and laptops should be restarted at least one a week. With Windows 10, things are more nuanced, and a lot depends on how the device is used. Some very heavily used devices can benefit from a daily restart while more lightly used systems can last 20-30 days before they need restarting. As a rule of thumb, a weekly restart remains a good starting point.
To carry out a restart, make sure you have closed any open applications and saved your work. Then, as illustrated:
- Click the Start button
- Click the Power button
- Click the Restart Option and the device will immediately restart
The most important factor in keeping your IT devices running smoothly and securely is to make sure they are running their latest software updates. We’ll cover how to check this for Windows devices in the next post.
It’s not just computers that benefit from a restart. From a mental health point of view, it does us all good to restart/reset out internal computers on a regular basis. The mental health and wellbeing advocate and rugby legend Sir John Kirwan gave some excellent insights into one way of doing this in a recent episode of the “Don’t Tell Me The Score” podcast.
Microsoft: Optimise Windows for better performance
Microsoft: Tips to improve PC performance in Windows 10
Don’t Tell Me The Score: Mental Health : Sir John Kirwan