Can you remember the last time you restarted your computer? A week, a month, six months? For some of us keeping files, browser windows, tabs, and programs open is the norm. If you haven’t experienced the disaster of losing work or a less catastrophic, a slow computer, count yourself lucky and use these five reasons to restart your computer to stay lucky in 2020.
1. Slowness or RAM Problems - Your computer contains decades worth of technology advancements, one of those is called RAM. Without going into too much detail, RAM provides temporary storage for applications and programs as they run. Unfortunately, as they run, some of this data begins to pile up even though it’s not being used. A restart can clear the RAM cache (unnecessary saved data) and have your computer back to work at full capacity.
2. Application Errors or Memory Leaks - Application developers are human, too, and sometimes the software they create can have some unintended side effects. Memory leak is one of these, where a program doesn’t allow its unused memory to be overwritten. This can lead to slowness, like our first example, or even prevent the software from operating correctly. While a restart can’t fix the leak itself, it may clear the cache associated with it.
3. Internet Connectivity - Sometimes the Wi-Fi just doesn’t work, try restarting! This can refresh the network settings for your computer without completely resetting them. It can be easy to get bogged down in all of your network settings, so try this before taking any additional, complex steps.
4. Performance Issues - 100% CPU usage? Is RAM full? No idea what this means? Restart. Our computers are complex, and for the untrained individual, it could take hours to reach a solution. Restarting has the benefit of doing this for you. You may not know exactly what caused the issue, but there’s a good chance a restart will clear it up.
5. Updates - Your computer lives on patches and updates. Whether it’s security, usability, or otherwise, the most recent updates are paramount to your computer operating as expected and are most likely one the first things your IT department will look at when you bring a computer issue to them. Most of the time these updates download automatically but require a reboot to install.
Other Things to Do - It’s not just a restart that can help save the day. Here are a few other tips to keep you secure and your work uninterrupted:
Lock Your Computer – If you step away for coffee or to speak to a coworker, it’s best to lock your computer. If you’re logged in, anyone on your computer can have free reign. Locking it provides one additional roadblock. It’s as simple as pressing the “Windows Key + L” on Windows 10
Password Protection – Don’t write your passwords down. It’s worse than leaving your computer unlocked. Try using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password. These keep your passwords secure on encrypted servers. They have handy apps that you can install on your phone, so you have access to them wherever you are. It’s a great way to avoid any wandering eyes or shoulder peekers.
This is the first article in our “Back-to-Basics” series. These articles have been designed to provide end-users with basic IT knowledge in order to better streamline their workdays, and keep their information safe and secure. Check out our next Back-to-Basics: Demystifying the Computer to learn more about how your computer does what it does.
Advanced Users Note – Dear Advanced Users, you most likely have a strong grasp of modern IT best practices. Look out for some of our more advanced content over the next weeks to stay up-to-date with your interests.