Art of the Reboot

A phrase I use quite often is “when in doubt… reboot”.  I would say about 80% of computer problems can be solved with a simple reboot.  Whenever my computer is acting a bit funny, whenever something has broken and there is no explaination, reboot.  Before you call any support person, before you start to freak out that your computer is broken, reboot.  This goes for EVERYTHING!  Your printer isn’t working … reboot, your wireless network isn’t working… reboot, your satellite TV isn’t working right… reboot. 

The easiest and quickest way to accomplish your reboots is to pull the power out.  Obviously if you can shut it down nicely that would be prefered, but sometimes you just have to pull the power cord out of the device.  Especially with wireless routers and printers.  Sometimes pressing the power button on a printer really doesn’t shut it down all the way.  Only removing it’s power will truely bring a printer down. 

PC Boot Options

When rebooting a PC you have several options to try and troubleshoot the computer.  First, if the computer is completely frozen, sometimes the only way you can get it to come down is to press and hold the power button on the computer until it shuts down.  Do not let go of the power until the computer comes all the way down.  Now that the computer is shut down you have some options to bring it back online.  To get to these options, as the computer is booting up when you see the black screen start pressing f8.  Press f8 repeatedly until you come to the boot options.  If you get to the windows loading screen you are too late.  Here are the safe mode boot options…

Safe Mode with Networking – This is the one I like to use the most.  It is safe mode, but with the added benefit of still being able to get things online (such as updates to antivirus or malware removal software).

Safe Mode – Just regular safe mode will load windows with only the basic drivers and utilities it HAS to have to boot.  Safe mode is really great for troubleshooting issues that programs could be causing since those programs will not load in safe mode.

Last Known Good Configuration – Using this option will most likely not help you a good majority of the time.  If your computer fails to load AFTER you see the windows loading screen then Last Known Good will not work for you.  It usually will only fix issues that are preventing windows from loading.  If you happen to install a driver that completely kills your system, this is going to be the greatest thing ever!  It does exactly what it says, it will load the last known set of drivers that booted successfully.

Safe Mode with Command Prompt – This will definitely not be the option for you.  Unless you know DOS, then don’t even attempt this option.  It will boot the computer to the black screen where you can type in DOS codes to try and troubleshoot the computer…. for pros only please.

VGA Mode – This will help with video driver problems, as it will load only a basic video driver so you can try and install a different video driver for your system.

I hope you have a better understanding of how to reboot your computer and other devices, and if you have more questions just tweet me…

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website

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