Tech Tip – Rebooting Your Computer

Workstation Reboots

img_tech_tip_manHow many times, when working with your IT support person, have they suggested that the first course of action in solving an issue is to “reboot your computer”? In our experience, many issues can be resolved or avoided entirely by the simple act of rebooting your workstation or laptop at the end of the workday and leaving it sit at a login prompt overnight.

As programs are loaded and unloaded in memory, “memory fragmentation” occurs where program left overs can linger in memory, reducing the overall availability or memory for other applications and operations of the computer.  Rebooting the computer on a regular basis helps to flush out these left overs and prepares the computer for a “fresh start” the next day.

By leaving the computer at a login prompt overnight, items such as Windows updates and antivirus updates can be applied without interruption or impact to the user’s productivity. The argument I’ve heard most often of shutting down the computer every night is that it saves energy costs.

While this is certainly true, powering on and off computers does shorten the overall life span of the machine, especially the hard drive and cooling fans. The carbon footprint of a dead hard drive, sitting in a land fill or the energy required to destroy and recycle such components far outweighs the energy consumption costs accumulated over time when not being utilized.

Overall energy consumption can be reduced by turning off monitors at the end of the day and back on the next morning.