I run both Windows and Linux, and I rarely restart my computer, once a week or a month. I just close the lid to put it to sleep or just press sleep. But whenever I see an operating system being reviewed this metric is heavily emphasized. I can see the power saving aspect of it in a large corporation where shutting down 2000 computers might save some money in the long run, but I think people just put their computers to sleep.

Why do a lot of reviews emphasize this metric as a major point, or am I missing something or do people restart their computers very often?

  • No need to close this, it is scientifically answerable as evidenced by my answer. – Tamara Wijsman May 6 '12 at 11:35
  • @dave many times, people who truly care about boot times will use sleep or hibernate. However, most operating systems (notably Windows) require periodic restarts, which allows the kernel to perform scheduled tasks and remove in-use temporary files (both of which will improve your system performance, as opposed to never restarting). – Breakthrough May 7 '12 at 13:19

Because around half of the people still shut their computer down, for multiple reasons:

  • Habit, they don't know any better and don't care to change.

  • Preserving battery life.

  • Reducing the energy usage.

At least for Windows, this is evidenced by Building Windows 8 blog post on delivering fast boot times. Their data is actively measured through the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program.

  • 3
    Some companies have a policy that prohibits keeping office computers running over night. – Daniel Beck May 6 '12 at 11:39
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    Some computers require drivers that just won't work with sleep and/or hibernate. These are getting very rare, thankfully. – user1686 May 6 '12 at 12:00
  • Yeah, there are a ton of other low-profile reasons; for instance, I'm using a laptop without a battery so I can only shutdown until I fetch myself a new battery. – Tamara Wijsman May 6 '12 at 12:01
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    Some program updates require a system restart to take effect. – sawdust May 7 '12 at 0:15

I've been using a Mac for 2 years now, but before that I used Windows full time. In my experience, Windows needs a restart every 1-2 days before it starts getting laggy/choppy. I'd say its an important metric if you need to restart that frequently.

On the other hand, Linux (and hence Mac) don't really need restarts more than once a week, so restart time isn't an important metric in those cases. I think it's just a metric that was once relevant and reviewers haven't yet re-evaluated its importance today.

  • 3
    I hope you werent implying that MacOS was derived from Linux when you said Linux (and hence Mac) – Jesvin Jose May 6 '12 at 14:25
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    There's something wrong (other than the OS itself) if you need to restart Windows every two days... – Bob May 6 '12 at 14:37
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    According to my daily snapshot with BGInfo, I haven't had to restart this box since April 14th. And I hibernate every night. – Bon Gart May 6 '12 at 14:51

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