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Time to restart

“Have you tried restarting the computer?”

reboot artworkI’m pretty sure if you’ve ever had a problem with a computer and called a service department, that’s the first thing they’ve asked. And if you’ve ever downloaded a new program or installed a printer, oftentimes a message will tell you that you have to restart the computer for the program to work.

There are three ways to restart a computer, but one should only be used as a last resort. Unfortunately, that’s the way many people restart their system, and it can cause a lot of problems with your computer.

The best and easiest way is to use your start menu.

  • Either by clicking on the Windows in your taskbar or by pressing the key on your keyboard, bring up the display for Windows.
  • Closest to the Windows logo is a symbol of a circle with a line sticking up from the top.
  • Clicking that icon will give the options of “sleep,” “shut down” or “restart.” Choosing “restart” will make the computer save and close all of its programs before turning off and turning back on again.
  • This is known as a “soft reboot,” and it resets your memory will often improve your system’s performance by clearing off data working in the background which can slow your computer down.

Another way to perform a soft reboot is by simultaneously pressing the “Ctrl,” “Alt” and “Delete” buttons (often referred to as a “control-alt-delete”.). This opens up your task manager which allows you to restart your computer. Again, it tells your system to save the work you’ve been doing, then turn off and restart. This method is especially effective if the mouse isn’t working correctly or has a message saying a program is not responding.

Finally, there’s the last-ditch option, and many people use it every time they finish using their computer: manually turning off the computer. This results in what’s known as a “hard reboot,” and should only be used when all other methods of turning off your system fail.

Turning off a computer without doing a proper shutdown erases your memory without saving. If you had any programs you’d been working on that you didn’t properly shut off, two things happen. First, all the data you’ve entered since your last save is gone, possibly forever. Your system might be able to recover it IF you turn the computer on again fairly soon after, but the chances aren’t good. Secondly, the sudden loss of power can create corrupted data in any programs still running and that damage can cause that program to fail down the road. This is why you should only turn off your computer by pressing the power button as a last resort.