Why You Should Regularly Reboot Your PC
Switching electronic devices off and on again may seem like the solution for a myriad of tech complaints, but what happens when you restart your computer? First, let’s consider the difference between a computer shutdown, restart, and sleep, and hibernate mode. Shutting down a computer ends all processes and clears RAM and processor cache. It also cleans any accumulated temporary files that can hinder performance over time. Similarly, a restart shuts down the computer, disconnects all power, then reboots the device. The operating system completely resets itself during this process.
Sleep mode occurs when users close their laptop lid and open it again later to resume exactly where they left off. No files or programs are disturbed while in sleep mode, but the computer still uses electricity. Similarly, hibernate mode resumes all running work applications once the computer is powered on, and uses less power than sleep mode. However, it takes a little longer to resume than sleep mode, and is suitable for times when the device will not be used for a long time.
What happens to your computer during a reboot?
A hard reboot includes completely shutting down a computer and allowing the operating system to reset the state of the hardware. Doing this ends all pending operations before the device restarts. A soft reboot is initiated by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys and selecting Restart, which restarts the computer without disconnecting the power.
Rebooting a PC is crucial to ensure healthy devices. Computer reboots are useful when devices run slowly or freeze, when an internet connection lags, or when there is a driver or hardware error. Doing this flushes the Random Access Memory (RAM), which gets bogged down by our favorite programs and applications, leaving devices clean and ready to start afresh once switched back on.
What are the benefits of rebooting your computer?
Rebooting a computer provides a quick solution to many minor errors or bugs. Experts suggest restarting a computer once a week to maintain optimum performance. Here are some more benefits of regular reboots.
1. Improved system performance
Constantly opening and using applications uses RAM, which uses up a computer’s memory space. Just like humans when we have a lot on our minds, a computer can become slow and weary when its memory is almost full. Rebooting clears temporary files, unnecessary data, and applications that slow down a computer’s performance.
Moreover, constantly relying on sleep mode without properly shutting down or rebooting means devices may continue to use up computer memory. These so-called memory leaks slow performance and can be resolved by simply rebooting a device.
2. System updates and patches
System updates enhance the user experience and fix bugs or errors. Some updates are automatic, whereas some must be scheduled in advance. System and software updates, known as patches, are specific changes that fix or improve software. They are essentially quick repair jobs or patch-ups that resolve functionality issues. Updates are necessary because cybercriminals can exploit software vulnerabilities and steal data or gain control of computers. Rebooting a computer can trigger system updates, including crucial operating system updates, which are important because other apps rely on them.
3. Troubleshooting and Problem Resolution
Rebooting a computer resets the device’s entire logic. The CPU, memory, and controllers all receive commands to reset. Doing this wipes the slate clean and fixes issues by returning the device to its original state and giving processors a chance to recharge Although some issues may return eventually, rebooting provides troubleshooting and problem resolution for various bugs.
4. Enhanced security
Regularly rebooting computers can improve security by purging harmful malware and unauthorized processes. Viruses can run in the background without us knowing, and rebooting can help to flush these potentially harmful applications by shutting everything down. Rebooting is a basic method of maintaining good computer hygiene, and can provide enhanced security.
5. Prolonged hardware lifespan
Computers consist of moving parts that require a cooling system. Over time, these parts become old and worn, and keeping a computer running for long amounts of time will only reduce their lifespan further. Furthermore, rebooting a laptop helps address minor software issues that can reduce a device’s life.
Best practices for rebooting
Just like humans, computers also need time to rest and refresh. Here are some of the best practices for rebooting so you can keep your computer or laptop in top condition for longer.
1. Reboot regularly
It is beneficial to reboot devices at least once every week to maintain a healthy computer, fix minor bugs or issues, and help prevent malware attacks. Regularly rebooting devices in your own time can reduce lags and freezes while you are trying to work. Reboots are a simple and low-cost way to keep PCs bug-free and avoid trips to the IT department or computer repair shops.
2. Save work and close applications properly before rebooting
When devices reboot, all software and programs shut down, too. Reboots flush the system memory and closes applications and tabs. Once devices are powered up, all applications must be reopened, and any unsaved changes will have disappeared. As such, it is recommended that all work and applications are properly saved and closed before rebooting to avoid losing files.
3. Look out for system messages or updates that require restarting
Bugs and vulnerabilities can leak information to cybercriminals, but did you know that skipping reboots can impact the safety of applications? Rebooting keeps computers protected, as many system and application updates are not fully installed until a reboot has occurred. Furthermore, having too many tabs or applications open at once may cause a computer to become sluggish and miss security issues or essential updates that require hard work from the CPU. If a system message or application update requires a restart, it is best to settle for the short-term inconvenience rather than potential long-term issues.
Rebooting a PC may be annoying, but it carries many benefits. Completely shutting down and restarting a device flushes the system, deleting any cache or temporary files that fill up a device’s memory and cause lags or freezing. Reboots leave devices clean and refreshed when they are switched back on. Moreover, cybercriminals are waiting to pounce and exploit any system unpatched vulnerabilities, which can have devastating consequences like data theft. Regularly rebooting devices ensures updates are correctly installed and can protect against potential malware threats. It is the simplest and cheapest way to maintain the wellbeing of our devices. Our computers help us work, study, and relax, so the least we can do is keep them healthy with a regular reboot.
Jeni is a translator and writer based in Taiwan. She is passionate about business development and loves helping companies enter international markets. She is fluent in English, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and combines these with her industry experience to provide practical market entry solutions.