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Best Practices: Restarting your Computer

Posted: June 15, 2017

You work hard all week. We see it, we know it. We read about how hard you work on Facebook. You catch a rest and a recharge overnight, and a better recovery period over the weekend. We see that on Facebook, too. And then, after the rest and recharge, you are back at it… Your computer would benefit from this same routine that works for you!

At the end of the workday, many people lock the computer – or walk away and let it lock itself. This seems pretty handy at first glance – when you return, you log in and everything is just as you left it – ready for your next session. But just as you shut down, rest and recharge every day your computer – Mac or PC – benefits from the opportunity to shut down and rest, too! But why? And it benefits who?

Ag IT recommends closing all applications and choosing to restart the computer at the end of every workday. There are many good things that happen when a computer restarts – you often hear that a reboot is the first troubleshooting step when things go wrong! A restart can clear all of the contents of your RAM in the most efficient manner possible, giving you full use on restart, and a restart closes all background processes that should have closed themselves and didn’t. In essence, a restart gives you a fresh slate to start the next workday.

One of the strongest reasons for a restart is that software developers world-wide release updates to their products on a continuing basis. Rarely would a day pass without the release of some update to some product that is in use in our College. Many of these updates fix bugs or vulnerabilities that can impact your work. Microsoft and Apple regularly release updates to critical applications and to the operating systems that also safeguard and improve your computing experience. Although many application updates can be applied when you launch the application or completely in the background, updates to your operating system software (Windows 7 or 10, OS X) are typically only applied when the computer restarts. If you don’t restart your computer very often you increase the opportunity for compromise.

The recent Wannacry ransomware attack highlights the vulnerability of computers that are not updated. The update from Microsoft that offered protection from this attack was released nearly two months before the attack was launched, but within just a day of release of the malware over 230,000 unpatched computers worldwide were infected. A reboot within that two month period might have made the difference between business-as-usual and great misery.

When your computer is resting at the log in screen, updates can apply, and the computer can be rebooted without any loss of time or work for you – you reap all of the benefits of updates, fresh RAM and cleared processes without any of the hassle! Reboot every night if you can, surely each weekend at least!