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When in doubt, reboot

A common occurrence when contacting IT support, is that you are requested to reboot the computer, to see if that helps. From time to time, users are reluctant – or even unwilling – to do so, and ask why. The reason is very simple; experience has shown me, and many other IT professionals, that reboots help. Here’s a few examples from a single day at work:

  • 08:15 – User is unable to start Microsoft Word. Error message refers to App-V and issues with network. Connected to the computer with remote control, and had no issues with network. Troubleshot the issue, and found no networking issues. Asked the user to reboot the computer, and test – issue resolved
  • 09:25 – User has installed software from the application catalog, but the new software does not start. Software Center reports that the installation was successful, and logs show no issues. Asked the user to reboot the computer, and test – issue resolved
  • 10:20 – Called user who had reported an issue where the Reply-button was greyed out in Outlook. The user reported that the issue had been resolved when he rebooted the computer

These are just three examples, and I am leaving out a number of others from that very same day. The fact is that rebooting helps with a whole host of issues. It is a basic troubleshooting step, and one that I would urge anyone and everyone to try before contacting IT support.

I also note that this advice isn’t only valid for computers running Windows. It is valid for most any other type of electronic device out there, too. Examples include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Macs
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Routers
  • Switches
  • Printers and scanners
  • Access card readers

Simply put, if the device has some sort of electronics in it, a reboot may help – and will in most circumstances not hurt. As for why it helps; here’s an old post that explains some of the reasons.

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