The Photopia Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

JULY 25, By Photopia

Why does Power Cycling work?

Has anyone ever told you to shut down a device or program and then turn it back on again to resolve a problem?  This is called Power Cycling and there’s a simple reason why this can work.

Computers, devices, and programs are very complex. They have graduated beyond the simplistic  “If X, then Y” command.  With millions of possible “X and Ys”, sometimes your device or program can get a little lost.  Rebooting your device or restarting your program can sometimes have magical qualities of “healing” any technical problems.  But, why is that?

Imagine you live in an amazing city in the future with thousands of highways, exits, and side streets. You want to get from your house to the library.  You’ve been to the library before, you know the route pretty well, but on this particular day you take a wrong turn.


Now you’re lost.  You don’t recognize any buildings or streets and you’re not sure which direction will get you to the library.  You can do one of two things: continue going forward not knowing where you are or if you’ll ever get to the Library, or you can magically teleport back to your house and start again from the beginning of the route you already know.


Power Cycling takes a device or program that’s trapped in some kind of problem, picks it up, and puts it back down at the beginning.


“Ah the beginning,” it says.  “I know what to do from here.”

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