Posted by on December 8, 2017

Does rebooting your PC really resolve issues?

I’m sure you’ve heard the common saying, “Reboot your computer and see if the problem continues”.  Have you ever wondered if rebooting could possibly fix anything or if the support person was trying to simply dodge your call?  I know exactly how you feel.  Rebooting does, in fact, resolve many PC problems that you may run across.  It is especially helpful if you are a person who tends to only reboot your PC once every blue moon or two.

So why would rebooting your PC have any effect at all?  The answer lies in the fact that every program on your computer uses system resources that allow it to operate.  At times the program(s) are unable to properly allocate and de-allocate these system resources and the operating system (Windows) may begin to operate in a way that is contrary to how it was designed.  When things get too out of hand, the PC may lock up/freeze, show memory errors or behave erratically.  There is another problem called a “memory leak” which is when a program is unable to release memory it is no longer using.  Eventually all of the PC’s available memory becomes depleted and none is left for the computer’s normal operation.

Restarting or shutting down your PC causes all of its programs to close and all of the memory assigned by its programs is released.  When Windows boots up the next time, it is given a fresh start without any of these ailments from the past.  If you find that a problem no longer occurs after a reboot, the reboot process most likely cleared up an unusual issue that occurred during the PC’s last Windows session.

Some PC problems might be caused by imperfect programming, low-quality website coding or faulty hardware device drivers.  Not every company out there is able write their code to the exact specifications of Microsoft.  When a PC runs across too many invalid instructions, it may start behaving erratically.  You can also come across a problem caused by recently installed Windows Update or by a programming mistake made by a professional software company.  In those cases a reboot will most likely not resolve the issue and you’ll need to take steps to resolve the issue.

My recommendation for troubleshooting an unusual Windows problem

It is best to try the easiest and least expensive solution first, so first try rebooting your PC if it shows any of the symptoms listed above.  I have been paid on several different occasions to troubleshoot an issue that was resolved by simply rebooting the PC.  If that doesn’t help, the problem most likely lies elsewhere.

I recommend that everyone shut down or restart their Windows-based PC at least once every week.  In my experience, problems arise more frequently on PCs that have not been rebooted in over 7 days.  For Windows-based servers, I recommend restarting them at least once every month.

Happy computing!

Jason E. Bagnell, President
JB Computer Services, Inc.