We get a lot of calls and emails about computers not performing as expected. It’s amazing what a good reboot can do – if you really do it.
Rebooting cleans up a lot of the electronic junk that builds up as you go in and out of applications, open and close files and content from the Internet. Like anything else that piles up, all the electronic junk blocks access to your disk space and RAM (random access memory) for applications, files, email and Internet browsing. After two or three weeks of keeping email programs, applications and files and websites open, you’ve essentially clogged your system’s electronic arteries.
A reboot flushes all that stuff out of your RAM. One way to characterize RAM is that it’s like a pad of notepaper. When you run out, you need to erase some information on the pad or get another pad. Rebooting is like erasing the paper in the notepad. It lets your computer start with a fresh, clean slate when you restart, and in most cases, that solves a lot of performance issues.
We always ask our clients with performance problems if they’ve rebooted their computers, and they invariably say they have. When we get into their systems through remote access, we see something different. When we get into conversations, some people with laptops think that they have rebooted their systems just by closing the lid for a few seconds and then opening it back up. Others, with desktop computers, think that shutting off the monitor reboots the computer.
Unfortunately, neither of those actions will reboot a computer. Here’s what you need to do. First, save all open files and emails and bookmark web pages if you want to retain easy access to them. Then, close all applications. You should do the same with phones and tablets before rebooting them.
For a PC or Windows-based computer running Windows 10, click the Windows icon on the task bar on the lower left side of your monitor and then click on the “start” icon on the left. You’ll have the option to restart the computer, which will reboot it.
For Windows 8, point your mouse to the lower-right corner of the screen, move it up and click Settings. Click Power and then click Restart.
For a Mac, you can follow this simple, 3-step process:
- Press the power button (or press Control+Eject) and, when a dialog box appears, click the Restart button.
- Choose the Apple key and then click Restart.
- Press Control+Command+Eject (or Control+Command+Power button).
For phones and tablets, you can power off the device for 10 to 30 seconds and then power them back on.
For all computers, you can hold the power button until the unit shuts itself off. We consider this a last resort because it stops the system with an electronic jolt. But if nothing else works, this will do it. Let it stay off for 10 to 30 seconds and then restart it.
Sometimes, restarting in “Safe Mode” allows your computer to perform some diagnostics and verify basic systems are in good working order. With a Windows7 computer, press the F8 key when you turn on the computer, and then use the Arrow keys to navigate to “Safe Mode” and hit enter.
Windows 10 is more involved, but it’s not that hard once you get into the routine. Follow these steps:
- Click or tap the Start button, and then the Power button. You’ll see a Restart button. Hold down the Shift key when you select Restart
- When you get the full-screen menu with six options, select Troubleshoot>Advanced options>Startup Settings.
- Click the Restart to begin the reboot. You’ll get to a Startup Settings option.
- Use the Arrow key to navigate to Enable Safe Mode or Enable Safe Mode With Networking
For a Mac, immediately press and hold the Shift key. The white Apple logo will appear on your display. Release the shift key when you see the login window.
Because “Safe Mode” limits your computer’s capabilities, we recommend restarting in your regular mode once you see everything is functioning properly.
We recommend you reboot your systems no less than once a week as a preventive measure. It shouldn’t be much of an inconvenience. We still remember when we had to reboot computers several times a day. If your system is still sluggish after a reboot, contact us by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email for a remote diagnostics session.