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To Reboot or Not to Reboot?

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Published On: April 9, 2018 by Blake Schwank

Have you thought about how much time you waste rebooting your computer? If you’re like me, you probably reboot every morning.

While I was rebooting this morning, I gave this some thought. By the time I reboot, login, and restart the applications I need to use, it takes me a total of 7 minutes. This doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but if I multiply this by 365 days a year, that’s 2,555 minutes a year, or 42.5 hours a year! That’s a lot of time in lost productivity.

I wondered, “Do I really need to reboot my computer every morning?”

My laptop is five years old, and it’s on its last legs. I know that I should probably replace it, but until I do, rebooting makes it run more efficiently and fixes a number of problems.

Not every problem requires a reboot. Certainly, if your operating system or driver locks up, you do need to reboot. Some issues can be resolved without restarting, but for me, this is usually the easiest way to get going again.

These are some of the issues I resolve with a reboot:

  • When my operating system runs too slowly. This usually means a software program is using 99% of my CPU and my computer’s resources. Rather than taking the time to find the software problem, it’s much easier for me just to reboot.
  • When Firefox, Chrome or another browser “hogs” memory. Firefox is known for its memory leaks. I like Firefox, but when it eats up too much memory, my computer slows down. Rebooting makes Firefox release this memory and speeds up my computer again.
  • When software locks up. For some reason, I’ve been experiencing this with Microsoft Word 2016. I’ll be writing an article, and suddenly everything locks up. Who knows why, but I never seem to have the time (or patience) to figure this out, so I just reboot. Word always saves my work, so I just open the document and get back to my writing.

I decided to do some research about rebooting and what others recommend. This is what I learned:

You should “Hibernate” instead.

To save time every morning, you can put your computer into hibernation mode at the end of the day. This keeps all the documents and applications open, so you won’t need to restart them in the morning. Before powering down, hibernate saves an image of your desktop so you’ll be ready to go when you power up.

Here’s how to set Hibernate for PCs:

To hibernate your PC: Open power options:

  • For Windows 10, select Start, then select SettingsSystem > Power & sleep > Additional power settings.
  • For Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1, swipe in from the edge of the screen, tap Search (or if you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search), enter Power optionsin the search box, and then tap or click Power options.
  • For Windows 7, click the Start button click Control Panel, click System and Security, and then click Power Options.
  1. Select Choose what the power button does, and then select Change settings that are currently unavailable. Under Shutdown settings, select the Hibernate checkbox (if it’s available), and then select Save changes.

Now you’ll be able to hibernate your PC in a few different ways:

  • For Windows 10, select Start, and then select Power Hibernate. You can also press the Windows logo key + X on your keyboard, and then select Shut down or sign out > Hibernate.
  • For Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1, move your mouse to the lower left-hand corner of the screen and right-click the Start button or press Windows logo key + X on your keyboard. Tap or click Shut down or sign out and choose Hibernate. Or, swipe in from the right edge of the screen and then tap Setting
  • (If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.) Tap or click Power Hibernate.
  • For Windows 7, click the Start button, click the arrow next to the Shutdown button, and then click Hibernate.

Most Macs support “sleep mode” which is the same as the hibernate mode in Windows. Here’s how to do this:

To make your Mac go to sleep automatically, you need to define the following:

  • The inactivity time:The inactivity time defines how long your computer waits before putting itself into Sleep mode. This time can be as short as one minute or as long as three hours.
  • The parts of your computer to put into Sleep mode:The two main parts of your computer that you can put into Sleep mode are the hard drive and the display (your computer screen). Because the hard drive and the display consume the most power, putting at least one or both of these parts into Sleep mode can dramatically reduce the amount of power your Mac consumes while it’s asleep.

To define how your Mac should put itself into Sleep mode automatically, follow these steps:

  • Choose the Apple key→ System Preferences. In the System Preferences window, click the Energy Saver icon (the light bulb) under the Hardware category.

(If you’re using a desktop Mac, skip the next step.)

  • In the Energy Saver dialog box, click the Show Details button.

The Energy Saver dialog box expands to show you the computer and display sliders.

  • Drag the Put the Computer to Sleep When It Is Inactive For slider and the Put the Display to Sleep When the Computer Is Inactive For slider to any value between one minute and three hours.

When the computer sleeps, the microprocessor in your Mac goes into a special low-voltage mode. (If you never want your Mac to go to sleep, drag the slider all the way to the right over the Never option.) When the display sleeps, the video signal to the monitor is shut off. (If you never want your display to go to sleep, drag the slider all the way to the right over the Never option.)

  • Select (or deselect) the Put the Hard Disk(s) to Sleep When Possible check box and then click the Options tab to define additional options.

If you don’t want to define additional options, click the Close button, and you’re done! When you click the Options tab, the Options pane appears. When you put the hard drive to sleep, the hard drive stops spinning. Because spinning a hard drive burns up energy and wears out your hard drive, putting a hard drive to sleep can help the hard drive last longer.

  • Select (or deselect) one or more of the following check boxes.

(Some check boxes won’t appear, depending on the type of Mac you have.)

  • Wake When the Modem Detects a Ring: Useful for remotely accessing a Mac over the telephone line. (This option appears only if you have a modem connected to your Mac.)
  • Wake for Ethernet Network Administrator Access: Useful for letting a network administrator access and configure a Mac over a network. (Selected by default.)
  • Allow Power Button to Sleep the Computer: Lets you put your Mac to sleep by pressing the power button. (Selected by default. This option appears only on desktop Mac computers.)
  • Restart Automatically after a Power Failure: Makes your Mac restart if its power gets abruptly cut off. (Deselected by default.)
  • Show Battery Status in the Menu Bar: Displays an icon (called a menulet) to show how much charge is left in your laptop’s battery. (This option appears only on laptop Mac computers.)
  • Click the Close button of the System Preferences window or choose System Preferences→ Quit System Preferences.
  • Clicking the Close button or quitting System Preferences saves your changes.

I know, this seems like a lot of work. But it will be worth it in the end if it saves you 42+ hours a year!

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