Top Nine Reasons Restarting Your Computer Is Important
We are sure you have heard it many times especially when you have issues with your computer and you call IT support. You wait all that time on the phone to get help with a serious challenge only to hear the dreaded words, "Reboot" You may have been in the middle of something or you have many windows open that you absolutely need to stay open.
Unfortunately, machines can't be reasoned with and rebooting solves many issues especially those that come up at the wrong time. The following are our top ten reasons rebooting or restarting actually helps your computing device and extends its usefulness.
Computers are like humans in this way, too much input and something starts to get stressed. The memory on a computer is not infinite, the constant opening and closing of applications eats up ram and while un-used ram is supposed to return to be available for use, it’s not a perfect science. Many applications even after closing still tap into the computer's memory. A slow running computer in many cases is a clear indication that memory is limited and needs to be released. A simple restart refreshes all the system memory registers making it them ready to start over again. If your computer is being restarted on a more consistent basis it will keep it running optimally over time. The best way to reset it is to restart it. Let me say that again, the best way to reset is to restart. Sounds catchy but it works.
Your computer is not only working to make available your applications, but it must also keep track of temperature, keystrokes, the display, the hard drive and many other components. These components compete with the available ram as well for clock cycles. Imagine being on a highway, stuck in traffic and things start to really slow down the more vehicles get on. On a computer this is called a BUS and it's the highway of all the communication going on at the back end. Don't get me started on the Network traffic that is needed to send commands for resources that are not on your computer. Anyhow you get the picture, lots going on and more being added, just like your job. When you go home on Friday, in a way that is like a reboot. Hopefully you come in fresh on Monday ready to start all over again. On a computer, when that restart occurs it fixes things that are hung internally, like a traffic accident on a highway. If only we could reboot a highway.
Turning off your computer is the real meaning behind a reboot. A restart will not power off the computer but will provide all the benefits discussed in all the previous points on this page but a complete power cycle of the system will remove all doubt and completely reset your computer to a bootup state it was originally configured for.
Keep in mind we are discussing your work computer, not the computer in a lab, a lectern or other computer that is outside of your regular control. Those other systems may be managed by IT or a CLT who have their own schedule for resetting.
Powering off and cycling back on insures that all memory, CPU, registers, hard drive, video boards, audio and network devices internally to the machine are restored to a startup state that provides optimum availability of resources as needed when you call upon them. This is something you do not need to do everyday, but should be done every so often. Remember to turn it back on especially if you plan to access the machine remotely.
When your machine is working at peak performance, reoccurring security patches which in our case occurs every other Tuesday night automatically, are completed successfully more often then not. Computers that are running slow, are having issues, have too many windows open, etc. can potentially miss the security patches and updates because this automatic process demands a high attention from the central processor and if the machine is busy with issues, it can abandon these critical updates. Worst it may attempt to resume the update in the middle of the day, that is your day in the background while you need to use your machine and wondering why it's going even slower than before. Restart can potentially avoid all of this when done on a consistent schedule.
Even if you just received a new computer restarting should be performed at least once a week. While performing this needed maintenance takes time the benefits improves the systems availability and up time. Not doing this on a regular basis actually slows you down and robs you of valuable productivity.
The extra 1 to 2 minutes you are waiting for an application to load or a video to play multiplied over a week, a month a year adds up. Anything you can do to save this time is to your advantage for more important things like actually using the computer.
All computers on campus are set to run security updates, patches and even software updates to certain applications. This occurs on a routine basis in the background usually overnight. However, sometimes these updates do not apply properly. Overtime left unaddressed these updates can actually create more longer-term problems then the ones they were designed to fix. A simple restart insures these maintenance activities at least have a shot at behaving properly.
Clues when to restart:
Computer feels hot
Fans inside your device are making excessive noise
After a software or firmware update
Experiencing application crashes
Routine freezing or taking longer then usual to respond
A file or application won’t open
Blank screen after opening a program
Network connectivity is very depended on a stable connection. Traffic is always being checked and the sensitivity to a slow computer and other settings can cause delays in accessing resources such as shared files, printers, copiers and even applications which are not locally hosted. A regular restart of your system will refresh network settings without resetting them.
Most computers on campus have a screen saver mode activated this helps save the screen display by turning off video output thus saving energy and the life of the screen. However, this screen saver mode is not a computer restart and RAM (random access memory) on the computer does not release applications when the computer is in this mode. In fact screen saver mode uses Ram and disk space to save information about what was on the screen and this constant use of memory without a reset eventually causes memory leaks and other disruptive computer behavior that a restart can solve.
If your computer is behaving sluggish, freezes from time to time, blank windows show up when opening applications, attachments do not open from time to time and windows become unresponsive intermittently, these are signs the machine either needs a restart or a complete refresh. Computers that have not been restarted in a long time may not always show these obvious signs but can bite you when you need it the most and that is when you think your work is being auto saved but its not. You may see a random error that seems meaningless because the system allows you to by pass it, however this could be a sign that auto save is having a problem and now that all important document is hung!
Should you turn off the computer, restart it or call IT.
C - Call IT before you do anything, we may have some last minute magic to save or retrieve that document which can result in saving your work.
Restart on a regular basis its what your machine needs.