“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” “Do I need to turn it on first?”
You’ve probably heard the advice a thousand times. Also likely is that following it has solved an issue or two for you. It’s just that good. Why? Turning your computer off and on again has it start from scratch, for the larger part doing away with things it had already done and just remembered. If it tripped up somewhere and remembered the wrong thing, then rebooting gives it a chance to re-do that, effectively fixing its mistake. Technically, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but we can’t all be techno-wizards right?
The fun thing about it though, is that it can be applied to increasingly small subsystems of your computer and still be effective. If your browser hangs, you don’t reboot your entire device right? You just kill the browser and launch it again. Rather than rebuilding everything, you just pick the part that’s malfunctioning. But what if you knew there was a single process within your browser misbehaving? In theory, you could give that process the boot and have it start over.
But that’s not very likely to happen, now is it? If you’d take the time to troubleshoot the exact process causing trouble, you might as well’ve rebooted your computer ten times over. Still, it’s interesting to see how the seemingly simple advice you tell your grandma can be applied more smartly to have less overall impact while still achieving its goal.