The Norman Transcript


October 27, 2013

When in doubt, reboot

NORMAN — Experienced users of Microsoft Windows are used to the idea of “rebooting” their computers. Often called “restarting,” the process is akin to turning off your car, and then starting it up again.

If you spend much time fiddling about with your computer, such as installing or upgrading programs or hardware, you know what I’m talking about. Microsoft Windows is so finicky, mainly because of its system of setting up and addressing files, that a common computer-geek gag line is, “You have done something. You must reboot.”

The process of rebooting can be a very valuable tool to aid in troubleshooting and even repairing minor computer problems. As such, I’m about to give away one of my computer-repairman “secrets:” learn how to reboot your entire computer/ Internet system, including your computer, cable/DSL modem, and, if you have multiple computers sharing the same Internet connection, your router. You can pay me to do it for you, but, honestly, I’d prefer if you learned how to do it for yourself.

Most folks don’t know that many of the components that make up their Internet access package are computers in and of themselves, and not just the big computer box alone. Your cable or DSL modem is, in essence, a small, dedicated-purpose computer. It contains a microprocessor, which is the heart and soul of any computer. It also contains a tiny operating system, just like your “big” computer contains the Windows operating system. It also contains other circuitry, such as memory and a modulator/demodulator (MODEM). Your DSL/cable modem is a computer. It, too, can “crash” and need rebooting.

If you’re sharing the same Internet connection across multiple computers, then you’re probably using a router (I hope) of some description, and not just a simple hub, switch or “Windows Internet Connection Sharing.” Your router is also a tiny computer, with a microprocessor, memory and an operating system. Routers can also sometimes benefit from rebooting.

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