Did you turn it off and on again?

The Logic

When it comes to technology gremlins and problems we have with our electronics, the most common solution that we typically hear is “Did you turn it off and on again?” Although it may sometimes seem like such a simple request it is one that will often resolve the issue at hand on the first go. But why?

All electronics utilize firmware and software that allows the hardware to communicate with the software. When a device is first turned on, it will go step-by-step through a startup sequence of hardware checks, firmware, system files, and user preferences. Each step is followed exactly the same way, each time the device is started (unless of course you have modified your device) allowing the phone, computer, etc. to start properly.

When you encounter a problem with your device, such as your computer lagging or your phone not opening apps, there is something occurring in the background that has caused the hardware / software / both to stop responding. This is where restarting the device helps. Each time you start your device you are loading into a “fresh environment” with no extraneous variables loaded into the devices memory. Of course simply restarting won’t remove viruses or restore deleted data, but will normally resolve issues caused by bad commands or too much data clogging up your devices memory.

The Solution

The steps to do this are very simple. On any device, you can normally hold the Power button for 5-10 seconds, and then release it. This forces the device to shutdown, regardless of what is running in the background. Now, a word of caution, this can cause you to lose data if you had a program open and sometimes cause corruption of files, so only force reboot when absolutely necessary and you can’t use the “shutdown” option from within the device.

If a device isn’t booting properly, you can also remove the battery from the device, leave it out for 20 seconds, and then put it back in. Now attempt to restart the device. If the device still doesn’t boot properly, there may be a problem with the hardware on the device.

 

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