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Computers, phones, tablets, and electronic devices in general sometimes just stop working or slow down for seemingly no reason. We’ve all experienced times when we just want to throw a phone across a room or kick a computer for disobeying us. While cathartic, this is rarely a good idea.

Instead, when something electronic stops working, remember this golden rule: Turn it off and on again. This solves the vast majority of all problems with any electronic device. If you’ve ever spent hours trying to fix a problem, only to restart your device and have it go away, then you know the power of turning things off and on again.

So now that you know this trick, you might want to know why it works. The fact is, there’s a thousand and one reasons why restarting a device might help.

  • Perhaps thousands of tiny errors in the computer that occur during normal operation added up to one big error – computers aren’t foolproof, nor are the people that make them, and they sometimes mess up. Turning it off and on again returns it to a known good state.

  • Or perhaps there wasn’t a programming problem, but a physical one. Older computers can get choked up with dust on the inside, eventually leading to chronic overheating problems. By restarting it, you’re giving it a small chance to cool down. If your computer’s problems seem to be correlated with high heat, dust may be the reason..

  • Or restarting it could shut down applications in the background that you had started days ago and forgotten about, thus freeing up resources for the things you need to do.

In conclusion – when in doubt, restart. It can only help.