The computer helper: Restarting your PC
By Jay Dougherty Apr 16, 2008, 10:04 GMT
Washington - With each new version of Windows, Microsoft promises that you'll have to restart your computer less often. But that promise never seems to materialise.
Restarting a Windows PC is not only a dreaded task - thanks to the amount of time required to load Windows - but always seems to be required when you least desire it.
What's behind all of this restart madness, anyway, and is there a way to cut down on the number of times you need to restart? Read on for some answers.
Q: Why does Windows ask me to restart my computer after I install some programs but not others?
A: Typically, the reason you're asked to restart your computer after you install a program is because the program you installed requires some file or driver that is loaded automatically when you start Windows. Or it's possible that a program changes a setting in Windows that necessitates restarting your PC.
Keep in mind that a program will usually seek your permission before restarting Windows. If offered the opportunity to 'restart later,' choose that, and see whether the program you just installed program will run without restarting.
Often it will, as the component that requires a restart of the PC may not actually have anything to do with the running of the application - it could be a scheduling utility that runs in the background, for instance.
Also, if you ever find yourself installing several applications at once, as when you first set up a computer, save any restarts until after everything is installed.
Q: What happens if I do not restart the computer when asked?
A: Generally nothing. If you choose not to restart your PC after being asked to do so, the component or application that was just installed may not work properly or at all. But there are very few installations that absolutely require a restart of your PC in order for the computer to run properly.
One exception is an installation that makes changes to a hardware component - BIOS updates are a good example. Typically, however, if a restart is absolutely required, you will not be given an option not to.
Q: Is there a quicker way to restart Windows?
A: No, not in recent versions. In Windows 98, you could (and still can) hold down the Shift key while clicking Restart, and the PC would skip the initial hardware bootup screens. But Microsoft has removed that capability from XP and Vista.
Q: Is shutting down my computer as good as restarting?
A: Yes. In fact, when restarting your computer in an effort to troubleshoot some problem, many technicians will advise turning off the computer and leaving it off for 30 seconds or so. The reason: completely clearing memory of all running processes and applications is thought to take approximately this long.
Q: I heard that I should restart my computer every so often even if Windows does not ask me to. Is that really necessary?
A: If your computer is running fine and you wish to leave it running all the time, there's no reason to restart it periodically.
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