I solved a frustrating technical problem this morning with a solution I should have thought of days ago.

I use Quicken’s money management software to say on top of my various financial accounts, download transactions, reconcile statements, update security prices, etc. For some reason, the software stopped accepting information from my bank 3 weeks ago. All the other accounts still updated, but not the ones with my local bank. The online connection was being made as usual from beginning to end, with no error reports, but there was never any new data.

I called the bank to see if they’d changed something, and the woman I spoke with said they hadn’t. After a few basic questions that indicated I wasn’t a novice at this (“Are you using the correct password?”), she ran a few diagnostics on my account, couldn’t discover anything wrong, and suggested I try contacting Quicken. I knew that was a dead end, because they would just try to get me to upgrade to their latest version (which I don’t want to do yet), and since there had been no changes to the software on my PC, it seemed unlikely they’d be able to offer a solution.

I let it sit for a few days until this morning, when I decided to completely deactivate and remove the online features from each account. Then I closed Quicken, waited a couple of seconds, re-opened it, and re-activated everything. Voila! Down came the transactions, integrating with my accounts just as they always had. Whatever the glitch was, it was gone, thanks to the solution I should have tried first. Ironically, I’d had to do the same thing with my wireless router just a week ago when it stopped connecting other devices to my printer. That one frustrated me for an entire hour until I remembered having the same problem last year and solving it by simply unplugging the power cord for a minute or two, then plugging it back in. Sure enough, everything reconnected automatically.

From now on, when a high-tech snafu occurs, I’ll try to remember the first four rules of solving IT problems: revert, re-activate, re-install, re-boot.