Importance of Rebooting On a Regular Basis

For those of you that remember the days when we used to run Windows NT in the late 90’s and early 2000’s you may recall that if you didn’t reboot your machine at least once a week your machine got slower and slower until it finally locked up in the middle of something really important (computers never lock up unless something really important is going on!).  But, we are now running Windows 7, the machines we have are much faster and don’t get so bogged down and folks tend to forget to reboot.

So, is this a bad thing to not reboot?  The answer is yes.  Even though your machine may not slow down or lock up, it is still very important to refresh your system.  Windows 7 can stay up for literally months without a hiccup, but things do start bogging down and processes start getting confused the longer a system is running.  Windows 7 is really smart and does a good job of fixing itself as time goes by, but it cannot fix programs that steal memory and never give it back or unlock files that some programs may leave open and thus making them unavailable to other applications that need them.  All of these kinds of things make the system unstable and can cause programs to act weird (yup, that is the technical term-“weird”).  This can cause program crashes or data loss.  Windows 7 is really tough, but even it will crash if too many weird things start happening.

Besides the system becoming unstable, there is a much greater risk in not rebooting.  The risk is that when your system gets automatic system updates, they will stay pending to be installed in the background.  This means that any security patches will not be applied to your machine. If you need new software installed and your machine has these updates in a pending state waiting for a reboot, that install can get stuck in the que and you will be vulnerable without the security patches. Because of this occurrence your software will become out of date.

So, as you can see it is really important to reboot your machine at least once a week if not more.  A good practice is to restart your machine right before you leave at night and then leave it sitting at the CTRL-ALT-DELETE screen so that in the morning, you just have to sign in and you are ready to rock for the day and your machine will have all of its updates and have nothing “weird” hanging out waiting to ruin your day!

A special thanks goes out to Dan Houck for providing the BIT blog with this article!

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