• Norm McLaughlin

"Have You Tried Turning it Off & On Again?"

Updated: Feb 20


Are you familiar with the British sitcom, ‘The IT Crowd’? The show is set in the offices of a fictional company in central London and revolves around the three members of its IT department. One of the staff members is Roy, who famously answers the phone by asking, ‘Have you tried turning it off and on again?’ before putting the phone down and waiting to see if it rings again. This line is heard regularly throughout the show.


It’s amazing how often the simple action of turning something off and on again can resolve an issue. It could be your computer, your phone or tablet, your router, or maybe even your printer. I’ve had quite a few jobs over the years when the first thing I’ve done was to turn something off and back on again and hey presto the issue was sorted. Other times I’ve checked and double-checked settings and configurations and found that everything was exactly the way it was supposed to be, and yet the computer wasn't behaving as expected. I’ve learned by now that switching the computer off and on again is a great starting point. Restarting a device means that its memory is cleared, everything is returned to its default state and it can start up again from a clean slate. For this reason, restarting your computer regularly is a good thing to do anyway. You may be in the habit of always leaving your computer on, maybe just putting it to sleep when you’re not using it. The disadvantage of doing this is that there will be a build-up of more and more things running in the background. Restarting your computer frees up its resources for the things that you actually want to do and means that it will run more efficiently.


You would think that technology should just do what it’s supposed to do, that if you set things up in a certain way it would just work. I’ve even found myself saying to people, “This should just work because there’s nothing wrong with the way it’s set up.” I’ve seen the same process being applied in for example setting up computers, and most of them doing exactly what they were supposed to do, yet a few refusing to co-operate and requiring special treatment to get them to play ball. There’s no rational explanation for why this should happen and unfortunately it’s just the nature of the beast.


Clients often ask me why a certain thing has gone wrong, why something that worked yesterday is no longer working today. Unfortunately there is often no easy answer and sometimes no answer at all. Why should Windows 10 become corrupted and need to be reinstalled? Why should I be unable to open the Microsoft Word document that I was working on only yesterday? Why has my internet speed ground to a halt? Sometimes there’s an explanation, sometimes not. But the good news is that there’s always a solution.


As always, Norm’s Computer Services is here to help with whatever’s going on with your computer. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. But maybe just try switching it off and on again first.

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