Power Cycling

Have you tried turning it off and on again, rebooting, restarting, kicking, or bouncing it?

These are some of the ways I hear people suggesting to power cycle something that’s not working as it should. That is, turning something off and turning it back on again. Once the device comes back from the dead, it’s usually working at full capacity and there’s no sign of the error that was plaguing the device just moments before.

It’s straight up magic.

You don’t even do anything. It just… starts working after you wait for a minute. Power cycling is the go to resolution. To make it even better, power cycling applies to so many things. Phone isn’t getting emails? Power cycle. Laptop feels sluggish? Power cycle. I don’t have any internet! Power cycle. My ridiculously specific mobile application keeps crashing! Power cycle.

Despite how magical and easy this operation is, I still have people that get it wrong or just lie to me. No, your PC didn’t reboot in five seconds – you just locked Windows and logged in again. No, closing the laptop lid isn’t what we want. No, locking and unlocking your phone doesn’t qualify. I fear the day that I might see someone turn their monitor off and on again.

Unfortunately, power cycling can’t resolve every single issue. However, we can kick it up a notch by adding some technique to the power cycle. Shut it down again. Now go grab a coffee, when you’re back you can turn it on again. This is expert level power cycling.

Power cycling works because it allows the device to cleanse itself. When the device loses power, all of the volatile memory is cleared. If you wait while it’s powered off, it allows time for the capacitors to discharge. When the power comes back, it’s like starting a brand new version of the device where every little bit is happy and friendly.

Please, if you encounter a problem. Turn it off and on again. There’s a reason this is the first thing suggested when devices aren’t working properly.