Everyone knows the first thing a computer technician will ask you, when you approach them with an issue is, “Did you turn it off and on again?” As annoying as it maybe, there are several reasons why they are asking.
#1 This flushes the computer’s random access memory, or RAM for short. RAM does a lot of short term tasks that are essential to smooth computing. Things like running processes in the background, holding idle programs in queue and keeping that spreadsheet you are working on, updated. When you reboot the computer it flushes out all this information and everything starts fresh.
#2 Updates to your operating systems and programs. Companies like Apple and Microsoft will frequently send updates to your computer, but they can’t be applied until the machine is restarted and those update patches are put in to place. Many times the software companies are trying to fix a known issue with their software. By updating and rebooting, you may be fixing a problem you may or may not have known you had.
#3 Rebooting fixes small errors. Most computers will run self diagnostics in the background when it is booting and will even fix minor errors without you even knowing there was a problem. This is why when you have an application freeze up on you, or the computer acts slowly, a reboot will often solve that problem.
#4 Rebooting stops memory leaks. All the applications installed on your computer use RAM when it’s open, even if it’s minimized. When you actually “close” the application it returns all the RAM it was using to the computer to be used for another application or task. Often used, out of date or poorly designed applications can develop “memory leaks”, essentially the application continues to hold on to RAM and may even use all the computer’s RAM, causing all sorts of seemingly unrelated issues. Rebooting plugs, or more so, stops the leak, so that and you can start fresh.
In summary, it’s a good idea to reboot your computer every 24-72 hours, even if it’s not acting up. And for goodness sake, please be nice to your IT technician when she/he asks if you have rebooted!