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Best Tech Tip: Doing This One Thing Fixes a Majority of Your Device Glitches

January 21 2024

laptop man phoneWhat's our best tech tip? We live in an age where the hum of technology is as constant as the ticking of a clock. Technology is our silent partner in nearly every daily task: it is everywhere from the moment we silence our smartphone alarms in the morning to the second we power down our laptops at night.

Yet, technology, unfortunately, is not infallible. Glitches and freezes can turn a happy workday into a hectic one. However, there is a surprisingly simple yet often overlooked remedy to many of our technological troubles: properly restarting our devices.

First things first

Before touching that power button, make sure all your work is saved. This step cannot be overstated, especially when documents, client information, and contracts are involved.

If you can't save your files because your computer is frozen, here's a workaround hack: if visible, take a picture of the documents to capture a temporary backup until you can (hopefully) access the documents or retrieve the temporary file versions. If not, at least you have a partial record to recreate.

Pro tip: When your computer is frozen, it's a great time to reach out to a Tech Helpline analyst who might be able to get you "unstuck" by guiding you through troubleshooting steps.

The proper sequence to power down

Closing all open applications is your next step. This action goes beyond simply saving work; it's about terminating tasks that could be causing your device to malfunction. This includes your web browser, which often runs multiple processes in the background that can consume valuable memory and processing power.

When you are powering down, there is a sequence that you should ideally follow. First, don't touch that power button! Instead, try to use your operating system's standard shutdown and restart prompts, if possible. This lets your computer close all running processes correctly, save necessary system information, and power down without risking data corruption.

For smartphones or tablets, use the device's built-in power-off function to ensure all apps are automatically closed correctly before the device turns off.

Pro tip: Before you flip the power switch on your laptop because it is frozen, again, you should contact a Tech Helpline analyst for assistance first.

The technical reasons it works

From a technical standpoint, restarting your device clears its RAM or Random Access Memory. The RAM serves as the device's immediate memory, temporarily storing data from active processes. Much like a desk cluttered with files, a RAM brimming with data from various applications can become inefficient and, eventually, unresponsive because it is overwhelmed.

Shutting down also resets the system's cache or cache memory. Cache, as defined by Britannica, is a "supplementary memory system that temporarily stores frequently used instructions and data for quicker processing by the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer. The cache augments, and is an extension of, a computer's main memory."

While intended to speed up process times by storing temporary files, your cache can become corrupted or overloaded. This can cause applications to freeze or crash. Restarting the device clears the cache, much like emptying the trash bin below your desk to prevent overflow.

How to envision the benefits of a restart

In lay terms, imagine your device as an employee with a desk piled high with tasks (data). Throughout the day, this employee becomes less efficient as the pile grows. By the end of the day, if these tasks are not filed away (saved), and the desk is not cleared (applications closed), the next day begins with yesterday's clutter: the employee is behind even before their day starts!

Powering off your device with a restart is akin to that employee having a fresh, clean desk to start each morning.

Longer-term benefits

Beyond the immediate fix, there are long-term benefits to powering down devices and restarting them. You can prolong the life of your devices by allowing them to cool down, reducing the risk of hardware damage from overheating. Leaving your laptop or desktop on all the time can be detrimental. Restarting also ensures that any updates to your software or security patches to your operating system have the chance to install correctly, as many times, they will require a complete restart to take effect.

Making it a routine

For real estate agents, making device restarts a part of your regular work routine can mean the difference between a productive workday and one packed with hours lost to troubleshooting. By simply powering off your devices regularly, you ensure they're ready for performance.

The bottom line

Powering down your devices can become a regular maintenance ritual that ensures your digital tools can keep up with the relentless pace of life as a real estate agent! Yes, it takes a bit of time and patience, but you often can gain a giant leap in device performance.

So, give your devices the break they crave and take that moment during the restart to enjoy a few moments of quiet in your busy world.

And keep in mind that if during any of these steps, things go sideways – or you need extra assistance – contact a Tech Helpline analyst to help you get things fixed!

To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.

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