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When should you not switch it off and switch it back on again?

Home >> Articles >> When should you not switch it off and switch it back on again?
  • July 13, 2023
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There is the well worn idea when it comes to IT that if something isn’t working the best thing to do is to switch it off and switch it back on again. So we’ll worn is this idea, it’s actually one of the most popular blogs we’ve ever written.

And there is good reasoning around the claim that something might actually work if you do a manual reset. A lot of those reasons we set out in our previous blog, as more often than not doing that hard reset deconflicts two or more things that are collectively causing the issue.
But does this mean that the backstop of switching it off and on again works in all situations? Well no. In some situations it might be overkill and you end up wasting time on a reset which could have been resolved more simply. On the other hand, there is the risk that you may do a reset which might cause more data loss than intended.
These are a few situations in which it may not be advisable to switch it off and switch it back on again.

If you’re working on an unsaved file

If you’re in the middle of working on an unsaved document or file you may wish to not immediately do a hard reset as there is a risk of losing your work.
With most softwares now having an auto save function when working on the cloud, you will likely have some part of your document if you have to reset. However, it remains preferable to wait for the document to catch up and save before trying the switch it off and on method.

Active processes running

If you have any active processes running it’s probably best to allow them to finish before trying to do a manual reset. An example of something being in an active process could include your machine backing up files to a cloud server. Don’t interrupt this if you can avoid it.

In the middle of a software update

Software updates are a valuable process for your computer. They make sure that things are running in top order and that you have the latest level of protection available to you.
It can be frustrating when it looks like something is paused or frozen in the update process, but do give it time. It would only last longer if you end up rebooting in the middle.
What goes without saying is that a reboot will usually solve the immediate issue you’re having (basically be a short-term fix) but it’s unlikely to address the underlying cause if it’s a bigger IT issue. Ensuring you aren’t in the middle of one of the above tasks it is worth trying out a reboot. However, if a problem keeps persisting after this then it will be something that needs a more thorough investigation.
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