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Does restarting desktop each day have any adverse impact?

By onbliss ·
For a long long time, I have the habit of restarting my machine before I leave work, at the end of the day. Before this habit I used to shut the desktop off.

My coworker said that sometimes "restarting" everyday could adversely affect the computer. He talked about variances in temperature and what not. To put it simply I did not understand :-(

So here is my question: Does restarting the desktop each day reduce its life compared to restarting it less often? Or does it in anyway have a negative impact on the desktop?

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w2ktechman: Thanks for your reply

by TechExec2 In reply to A question for you
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Old Guy: Thanks also...

by TechExec2 In reply to A question for you

"BTW, TechExec2, on a personal note, I have noticed a tremendous change from the time you first started posting in TR and now. Good change."

Thanks also for your kind words. I'm not completely sure which specific posts you are referring to (but I can guess! :-) ). Like events in the "meat world" (LOVE that term), there are more memorable ones and some you would prefer to forget. And, most of us learn and grow as we go. TR is a different kind of place on the web that has its own rhythm. And, observation of anyone here is done as if through a straw -- It's difficult to get a wider view.

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Good Questions

by w2ktechman In reply to A question for you

1 way to limit the memory problems is to use only a few applications at a time. Many applications share Windows files, or Dll's in the library. When 2 or more of these programs are sharing a file, it may not close properly when 1 or all of the programs stop using it.

Also, often a program does not release some threads that it starts, and they may be harder to find. This is due to bad coding, but since I am not a programmer, I will not comment further.

Other portions of problems are with Windows itself. The default setup is meant for an average person, who will shut down their system after its use. Up-time is usually only an issue with server and work environments. There are several registry enhancing tools out there, and they do work. But most of them also use a generic explanation to make it sound like it is always better to choose 1 option over another. This is a bad approach, they should explain the differences better (I havent used one in a few years, this may have changed).

Keeping your startup applications to a minimum will help as well. So will periodically defragmenting your system, cleaning temp files, and cleaning the prefetch folder. If you do not know much about the prefetch folder (c:\Windows\Prefetch), whenever you open an application, a small portion of it copied to the prefetch folder. From then on, every time you boot, it will load a portion of each program in there (why is beyond me that this is default). So over time you can have hundreds of partial applications running in memory, for things that you have only run or used even 1 time. I clean out this folder about once a month, sometimes a little longer.

Also slowdowns may be because of more malicious software installed. Check for buggy programs and or spyware regularly.

If you notice that certain program combinations lead to the instability, then do not use these programs at the same time. Windows XP does not need to be rebooted often. The exception is the introduction of other programs, and combinations of programs running at the same time.

I hope this helps out.
By the way, I have used this program to help out.
look for Ram Idle

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Memory release

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to A question for you

That's code quality issue particularly with 3rd party apps.
I can't remember the last time I traced a leak in windows to something internal. For all their faults MS have made a good fist at resolving those issues in terms of the base OS.

Leaky apps are a whole different ball game though. Memory lost within the process will come back if you restart it. The no choice but to log off / reboot leak, comes from out of process allocations.

A classic is to raise a thread to show a starting animation and not release the handle. While that's still alocated windows keeps the memory, close the app and now the record of the handle that needed releasing gets released giving you all four bytes back. The thread and all it's memory of course is still allocated.
That can get quite expensive after a while and exacerbates the issue with other leaks. I fixed one applicaton that leaked 500k out of process every time you ran it, and all the memory to hold the data is was working on every time you loaded a new entity.

It was impressive in it's own way.

The fault I was presented with was an intermittent av when a particular order was loaded which took a long time , that order being the biggest one in the database.

Needless to say, I was looking for the fault in the wrong place for a fair while as the top technology firm I was working for would never implement such a juvenile piece of crap.

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by unhappyuser In reply to A question for you

Any knowledgeable IT person would know that Windows itself, and many apps, don't release all of the memory from time to time and that processes run amok leaving memory in "no man's land". I have seen with ALL Windows versions, even XP, where a reboot solves over 50% of all problems, a lot of the memory issues from being left on for a few days. I have yet to see a computer running XP go more than two weeks without at least a 20% degradation is performance.

Getting back to the original question: restarting every day has no big impact on a machine. I know of machines that lasted over four years doing that with no issues. I will say that leaving a machine on at night, unless absolutely necessary, is a major security issue.

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M You're very impressive

by TechExec2 In reply to A question for you

Any knowledgeable IT person would know that experiences vary widely depending upon all of the many variables, especially when it comes to Windows. Got extensive empirical data behind those precise percentages, do you?

My advice: Don't be too impressed with yourself. Such overconfidence is not fooling anyone. Most of us learned that before we left our 20's.

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Reclaim Your RAM - Fast and Easy

by rwbyshe In reply to A question for you

Regarding shut down vs restarting:

I worked for a large company and their studies found it to be substantially more economical to shut down pc's at night to save the energy costs. Leaving them on all the time/overnight was a substantial cost factor.

Restarting the pc is definitely a good way to "refresh" the pc and reclaim memory and is a very good option. The restart doesn't stop the drives from spinning etc. so there is no startup shock to the hardware components at all.

Here's a little method I use on my home pc to monitor and reclaim RAM.

Firstly, it's a good idea to know how much RAM is on your PC. Go to and download and run their free Belarc Advisor software. This will give you a really good summary report about what hardware and software you have on your PC.

Go to and search for FreeRAM XP Pro and Instant Memory Cleaner. Download and install them both.

FreeRAM XP Pro will put a digital RAM meter in the system tray. Instant Memory Cleaner will put an icon there also.

Right click the FreeRAM meter. Click on RESTORE and then SETTINGS and then on the DISPLAY tab and check the CPU Usage box to display that also when you open the FreeRAM window. This meter is a great way to be able to monitor your RAM availability in real time.
If for some reason you want to uninstall the RAM meter; right click on the meter and then click on INFORMATION at the top of the window, and then on Uninstall. This program will not show up in the Add/Remove Programs of Windows.

If, after some hours of using your PC, you notice that the RAM is getting low, click on the Instant Memory Cleaner icon and run the program. It will take about a minute to run but the amount of RAM reclaimed and made available will impress you.

Here's a quick example. I run a program called Spyware Doctor. At bootup it takes about 50M of RAM. If I run its' scan program it jumps up to about 70M of RAM. After I run the Instant Memory Cleaner it drops to about 7M of RAM.

You can do a test yourself by first looking at what each .exe file is requiring for RAM by viewing the Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del) and clicking on the Processes tab and review the Mem Usage column. Check the Mem Usage immediately after bootup. Write down the .exe file names and the amount of RAM they are using. Then run the Instant Memory Cleaner and review the same .exe files and see how much RAM is being used by each .exe afterwards.

Hope this helps.

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Memory Usage

by archangel999 In reply to A question for you

Utilities like Instant Memory Cleaner do nothing but force pages out of RAM into the paging file and trims working sets (which actually may or may not be a good thing to do depending on the particular process) - it just runs MS's ClearMem utility in the background.

It's not really freeing up any "wasted"/"lost" memory as suggested earlier.

The OS's virtual memory subsystem allows processes to retain used pages of their virtual space in RAM to the extent of their working sets and to the extent of other system RAM usage conditions/needs. Also note that if all you're doing is looking at the "available" memory statistic, you're not getting a clear picture of memory - the system automatically maintains a cache of memory pages. These are recycled if needed but act like a level 2 cache outside of processes so that if a process needs to page in a page that's in the cache the system will give it to it directly without incurring a disk drive page from the page file (or a read-only page from an executable image). These cached pages are also automatically recycled if needed for other things on a least recently used basis. They are therefore really part of "available" memory.

Terminating a process kills all of its threads AND deallocates all memory allocated to it - it's part of the kernel's process rundown routine. It's not possible for a terminated process to leave stranded memory in no-man's zone as someone suggested.

A user process may "leak" memory, but only to the extent that it will consume more and more of its virtual space and any physical memory allocated to its active working set - however this is deallocated when the process terminates. A user process cannot "leak" memory permenantly beyond its lifetime.

However, 3rd party device drivers/system-level code (printer, network, video, special purpose, etc.) can and often do leak memory permanently - some video and network drivers can actually leak fairly large amounts of (non-pagable) memory. Drivers don't undergo process rundown and can therefore permanently leak memory if poorly constructed (until a system restart).

If your system slows down with use, it's almost certainly related to lousy 3rd party software - not an issue with XP.

I go months without shutting down or even logging off my PCs (I just lock the workstation when I'm not there) with no ill effects, slow down, loss of RAM, etc. - and I use everything from the usual MS Office and IE to Visual Studio to image processing to video editing.

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I agree with Old Guy

by 2rs In reply to A question for you

150%!! My challenge? Explaining the premise to my users in non-technical terms!

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All the current released versions of Windows

by Deadly Ernest In reply to A question for you

don't manage memory well. The operating system does not automatically clear out the memory of closed programs, Windows relies on the application to send the commands to do that.

When I went to tech college to get some degrees in the mid/late 1990s, a teacher demonstrated this on the college PCs. We stood around while they opened a PC, then opened Task Manager, switched to the process screen. We watched this as he opened MS Word, closed it, opened it, closed it, repeating this several times. Each time it was opened some new processes were started and only some were left open after it was closed, a new instance of them was opened when he opened Word again. Also some processes kept increasing in the amount of RAM and VM used, but did shrink at all. After opening Word nine times the system had a BSOD.

Now that was with a Pentium running Win NT 4. But you can do the same thing with Win XP, or better yet, install a memory mangement program and watch the amount of RAM keep dropping.

The worst applications for this problem were those made by MS themselves. For an interesting experiment, restart your system and don't start any applications until after you have Task Manager running, with the processes showing. Then open applications, noting the processes they start, and which close with them.

MS have a process called Messenger (not the application MS Messenger) that can be turned off in the services. Disable this, Outlook Express and MS Internet Explorer will still work fine. Enable it, at every time you open OE or MSIE, it will open and stay open after you close OE or MSIE. And that is just one clear example of this problem.

BTW 2rs - I explain this problem to non-techs by having them imagine the RAM is like an old style mail sorting desk with all the little boxes for mail, when an application opens it loads information into the available memory boxes for use; when it closes, a good application knows which boxes it used and clears them out, while a poor application doesn't do this well and leaves some info in some boxes. After this happens anough times there are not enough empty boxes available for a new application to use when opening properly, so it doesn't open properly and a fault is generated. A system restart is like someone going a long and clearing out all the boxes to the rubbish bin.

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