How often should I reboot or restart my computer?

Reduce wear and tear

Your computer is full of moving parts. Its CPU, essentially the brain, has its own fan. High-end graphics cards also need their own cooling system. Though solid-state drives are becoming more popular, most PCs still use hard disk drives, consisting of spinning discs.

All of these components wear down over time and the longer you keep your computer running, the shorter their lifespan will be.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of leaving it on to avoid having to go through the bootup process, but it will help you get more life out of your machine. If you are stepping away for a few hours or would rather not completely shut things down, you can put your PC down for a nap.

Sleep it off

Sleep mode puts your computer into a low-power state. The fans will stop spinning and the hard drive will stop functioning, so things will get quiet.

With sleep mode, your computer’s current state stays in the memory. When you wake up your machine, your open apps, documents, music, etc., will be right where you left them. Tap or click here to see how your iPhone and Apple Watch can help you improve your sleeping habits.

To put your PC in sleep mode:

  1. Open power options:
    • For Windows 10, tap Start > Settings > System > 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 click Search), enter Power options in the search box and tap Power options.
    • For Windows 7, tap Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • If you’re using a desktop, tablet, or laptop, select Choose what the power buttons do. Next to When I press the power button, select Sleep > Save changes.
    • If you’re using only a laptop, select Choose what closing the lid does. Next to When I close the lid, select SleepSave changes.
  3. When you’re ready to make your PC sleep, press the power button on your desktop, tablet or laptop, or close your laptop’s lid.

On most PCs, you can resume working by pressing your PC’s power button. However, not all PCs are the same. You might be able to wake it by pressing any key on the keyboard, clicking a mouse button or opening the lid on a laptop. Check the manual that came with your computer or go to the manufacturer’s website.

It takes less time to wake up a computer than it does to turn it on after a shutdown, but sleep mode still consumes power. If you want to clear out bugs, memory leeches, nonfunctioning network connections and more, a reboot is the way to go.

How can I shutdown Mac from the keyboard?

There are a number of easy ways to shutdown your Macbook, but only two ways to shut it down from the keyboard. 

You can shutdown your Mac from your keyboard by following these steps:

  1. Select the control, option , and command button simultaneously
  2. While the three keyboard keys are being held down, you will can tap the power button to initiate the shutdown
  3. At this point the Mac will offer you a ‘save documents’ prompt, and after you choose yes or no, it will automatically shot down your macbook from the keyboard.

The second method of using the keyboard to shut down your Mac will allow you to display a dialog and give you a choice: Shutdown, restart or sleep. To do this, simply select the control key on the keyboard, followed by the power button or the ‘Media eject’ button.

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Sleep Mode

When you sleep your Mac computer, it stops all the processes and applications on the computer from running and transfers their memory to the RAM of the computer. Thus, only the RAM draws energy from the computer battery while other hardware such as hard disk, and the rest are switched off. This helps save the computer’s battery and allows maintenance tasks to run even when not in use.

Some of the activities or processes that run while the MacBook is in sleep mode includes

  • Upgrading the software on your computer by downloading updates
  • Your computer can also download Mac Application Store items
  • You can wake your Mac computer through wireless base stations or a remote wireless connection using Wake on Wireless
  • Processes and programs such as Spotlight, Time Machine, and Help Center continue to update themselves.

See our post: MacKeeper vs CleanMyMac: Best for Speed Optimization

All of these actions point to the fact that your Mac computer does a lot of work without draining your battery while on sleep mode. These processes and activities cannot run when you shut down your Mac computer.

See the 9 Best CleanMyMac Alternatives (Free and Paid)

The rule is: there is no rule

There’s no hard-and-fast rule; it really depends on how you use your computer.

If you spend your entire day running only one program, there may not be a need to reboot it periodically at all. For example, if all you do is run your web browser to visit websites — including, perhaps, your email — then, while you might want to close and reopen the browser every so often (usually because it seems to be acting up), there’s just no need to reboot the computer.

On the other hand, if you’re running lots of different programs, opening and closing them often, or just using the machine heavily, the answer might be different.

On the third hand, you may be running a single program that’s not well behaved, and as a result, a reboot might be advised.

When I reboot

My computer is on all day, every day. I run many different things on it throughout the day.

It’s a beefy machine, so performance isn’t really an issue, so I also leave a lot of things running. As I type this, the Command Prompt “tasklist” command shows 413 processes running.1

Since I run so much, it’s not uncommon for me to have to reboot for an update every so often.

If I don’t, though, I find that about every other day or so it starts behaving … oddly. Something might be slow, the mouse might not be as responsive, or something just “ain’t quite right”.

I reboot, and all’s well again.