I had a coworker bring her laptop in because the people that she went to for tech support told her she had to replace it. It was only a couple years old, and never really had problems before. She was hesitant about shelling out a few hundred dollars for a replacement, and I bet in hindsight she’s glad she was – because I fixed the problem in 35 seconds flat using the following technique.
Let’s just get this out in the open. A lot of big box stores prey on your ignorance. That shouldn’t be news to you… it’s like going to the mechanic or going for an oil change – routine maintenance quickly turns into a $500 bill. But there’s one troubleshooting technique that everyone should know about.
Have you tried turning it off and on again?
You’ve all heard it, it’s the tech guy’s mantra. Rebooting your computer, tablet, smartphone, printer etc. usually has a positive impact on fixing your problem. But what about when it doesn’t? Have you ever been plagued by a black screen, or stuck on the Windows loading screen, not even able to get to a login? There are a number of problems that can arise, and I’m not telling you that there’s one silver bullet that will fix every problem, but what I do have for you is the one secret method that can save you money when all hope seems lost.
Unplug, [remove the battery] and press and hold the power button
For many devices, mainly computers, this simple process can be a lifesaver. If you can’t boot into Windows or OS X, or are getting freezing, loading or any other weird screens, give this a try before taking it in for service. Remove all power sources, unplug and remove the batter (if it’s a laptop and if it’s removable), and then press and hold the power button (for roughly 30 seconds – longer is better just to be sure). This drains power from any of the circuits in your machine that might be holding any bits or bytes that are messing with your system.
But I can’t remove the battery!
More and more devices are being produced with non-removable batteries to make things smaller and more compact. Some devices just need a forced reboot, so try just holding the power button for about 20 seconds to forcefully shut down the machine, and then turn it back on as normal. If this doesn’t work, you may need to determine the two button reboot combination – which is usually pressing and holding the power button with a volume key or a home button. To determine your button combination, try Googling “force reboot + [device name]” or “hard reboot + [device name]”.
DISCLAIMER: You should not find yourself performing these steps regularly. If you are, there are underlying problems that need to be resolved. Performing hard reboots, especially after the computer has booted up, can cause confusion within your operating system. If you find yourself doing this all of the time, contact support or send me a message!