Windows

Track down your uptime in Windows Vista

Microsoft changed the way uptime is reported in Vista. It's still there, but just not in the same format. Greg Shultz examines how uptime is measured in Windows Vista.

Do you leave your Microsoft Windows Vista system running 24/7? Have you ever wondered how long your system has been running since the last reboot? In other words, do you want to find the system's uptime?

In Windows XP, you could very easily find the exact uptime measured in days, hours, minutes, and seconds by using the command-line version of Windows XP's System Information. Unfortunately, Microsoft changed the way uptime is reported in Vista. It's still there, but just not in the same format.

In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I'll examine how uptime is measured in Windows Vista.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

The XP way

Let me begin by showing you how uptime information is reported in Windows XP. If you open a Command Prompt and run the command-line version of Windows XP's System Information, you'll discover a very detailed list of configuration information about a Windows XP system. This listing includes an item titled System Up Time, which lists how long your system has been running in days, hours, minutes, and seconds, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

System Information in Windows XP shows System Up Time displayed in days, hours, minutes, and seconds.

The Vista way

If you open a Command Prompt and run the command-line version of Windows Vista's System Information, you'll also discover a very detailed list of configuration information about a Vista system. This listing includes an item titled System Boot Time, which simply shows the date and time that the system booted up, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

System Information in Windows Vista shows System Boot Time as a date and time.
Vista does display an Up Time value in the Windows Task Manager window, as shown in Figure C. As you can see in this display, the Up Time value is shown in hours, minutes, and seconds.

Figure C

Vista reports Up Time in Windows Task Manager in hours, minutes, and seconds.

While using either of these methods in Vista will allow you to easily figure out how long your Vista system has been up and running, neither of them is as convenient as the display in Windows XP.

A command-line alternative

If you would like to be able to see an uptime display in Vista that is similar to the one in Windows XP, you can download an ancient command-line utility called uptime.exe from the Microsoft Downloads Page.

While the uptime.exe utility was designed for Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 4 or later, it runs fine in Vista. As you can see in Figure D, the uptime.exe command-line utility provides you with information on how long your system has been running in days, hours, minutes, and seconds.

Figure D

The uptime.exe command-line utility provides you with an uptime display similar to Windows XP.

A gadget

In addition to the old uptime.exe utility, I've discovered several Sidebar Gadgets, such as the SysInfo Vista Gadget shown in Figure E, that display uptime information.

Figure E

There are several Sidebar Gadgets that will display uptime information.

What's your take?

Is system uptime important to you? Are you satisfied with the way Vista reports uptime information? Do you use a different tool/method to view uptime information in Vista? If you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the Discussion Area and let us hear you.

TechRepublic's Windows Vista Report newsletter, delivered every Friday, offers tips, news, and scuttlebutt on Vista development, as well as a look at new features in the latest version of the Windows OS. Automatically sign up today!

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

6 comments
FXEF
FXEF

Not sure uptime is a very useful spec. Maybe if a server was set to auto reboot, one could check to see if it had gone down and auto rebooted. Could someone shed some light on the usefulness of uptime?

GVC2031
GVC2031

It's been my experience that the uptime displayed in Task Manager does not include sleep time. Your computer may have been booted 24 hours ago, but task manager will probably display much less if your system has sleep enabled.

eytangolan
eytangolan

The XP way is doubly klick on the local area connection.

reisen55
reisen55

I am far from am advocate of the OS/2 Warp fiasco (I call it that because Warp was an abortion by itself that should never have been released and only furthered the death of IBMs attempts to get a good OS out there). So I ask: how many hours have Vista users spent cursing authentication issues, boot time, execution issues, etc. Viewing how long a system has been up is a nice, but not earth shattering technical event. More important for SERVERS than anything else ya know. And Ballmer has officially dissed Vista in favor of the forthcoming (whenever that is) release of Windows Seven (of Nine) - whatever it turns out to be. Not one of my corporate customers is on this horror show of a product and with good reason: their third party software does not run on it. Tech posts on Vista are cute and fun but can be forgotten very quickly.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Is system uptime important to you? Are you satisfied with the way Vista reports uptime information? Do you use a different tool/method to view uptime information in Vista?