27 Replies Latest reply on May 25, 2011 7:26 AM by Jeff Hamilton

    How often do you restart your computer

    Jeff Hamilton

      I know that a normal pc is designed to run for long periods of time without needing to be shut down or restarted. I also know that CAD programs, Solidworks in particular tend to build up and retain memory, and that memory has to be released every so often in order to maintain performance. For years, I have been in the  habit of turning my machine off every night and restarting it the next morning. I also try to keep it clean of junk. This has served me well.

      However we have some new IT (not CAD) guys telling us not to shut down the machines unless absolutely necessary. They also have them set up to do full scans every time they are started up and doing checks every five minutes. This slows things down tremendously, especially at startup. I am an admin, but can't turn it off. I might be able to get this changed. What do you guys recommend from a CAD standpoint? A CAD machine is a different animal...

        • Re: How often do you restart your computer
          Scott McFadden

          Hi Jeff,

          I restart my PC minimum once a day.  Sometimes twice depending on the usage and

          at times forced.  Where I used to work it was suggested twice.  shutting down at the end of the night

          and fresh start in the morning then restarting it at lunch time for the afternoon grind.

          • Re: How often do you restart your computer
            Stuart Moore

            Leaving computers running is a hangover from the past when electronics were less reliable.  The argument was that if a component was going to fail, it would do so at switch on.  In my view it is absolutely pointless to leave a PC running overnight.  It wastes power and is completely unnecessary.


            As far as SolidWorks is concerned, a fresh boot at the start of the day has to be preferred.

            • Re: How often do you restart your computer
              Glenn Schroeder

              I usually shut mine down twice a week.  I don't re-start every day because I don't like to have to wait for it, so I turn it off on Friday when I leave and back on Monday morning.  Usually sometime on Wednesday I notice it slowing down so I re-start.  However, though I'm probably using SW 6-7 hours a day, it's fairly simple stuff.  I rarely have a file larger than 1.5 - 2 MB.  I can see where someone working with more complex stuff would need to re-start every day.

              • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                Mike Floyd

                I restart my computer just before I leave to go home every day.  Leaves my computer "daisy fresh" for the next day.  I also will reboot if the system starts acting strange but this is very rare.

                I do leave my computer on overnight since with the monitors off it takes very, very little power while just resting.  Having the computer on during the night also allows me to VPN in and remote into my computer from home if the need arises.  If the computer is off then this is not a possibility.

                • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                  Chris Kamery

                  I will start out by saying that I shut my computer off every night when I leave and start it back up in the morning when I come in.


                  It is my understanding, and I'm sure I will be corrected if I am wrong, but a "normal" PC is not meant to be run indefinitely, that's what servers are for. Although I leave my PC on at home most of the time, at least once a week if not every few days, I restart it.


                  You are right about SolidWorks and available memory after a lot of use. If I open a lot of different large assemblies throughout the day, I may need to reboot at lunch because the system starts to become sluggish. At least to me it seems so. 


                  So much of SolidWorks performance depends on how you use it, what you create, and how much the system has to do.


                  Think of it as writing on a blackboard (chalkboard), the more you write, erase, and write again, the more cluttered it can be. You can only be assured that the board is completely clean if you take water and wipe it down (restart the system in our case).


                  I still have the habit of letting a computer sit for a minute after I shut down and restart to make sure that all the capacitors have dissipated and there is no energy left in the system. (I know this was relevant on early 2x86 and 3x86 systems I had when I was a kid).


                  Anyways, that's my take on it.



                  • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                    Randy Petrongelli

                    I guess I'm the exception. I restart my computers barely once a week and shut them down almost never. This may be old school though as you said, but I've had many many computers and my experience that a computer that stays on all the time has less problems than one that is shut down alot and spends alot of time turned off. I've had a computer at my house running for almost 12 years now, these days it does nothing but act as a print server but still the last time I restarted that machine was before the new year. My other pc is going on 6 years old and that stays on all the time as well. I also turn off all the power saving features. Here at work it's the same, always has been, and we have very few problems.

                    • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                      Tony Cantrell

                      I agree with most of what is said here, but I rarely shut the computer down. I do log off/out every night. In many companies the IT dept will do updates at night so shutting the computer down henders or pervents that until you restart it.

                      • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                        Mark Kaiser

                        Shut down when I leave, turn back on when I come back, daily.

                          • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                            Greg Hynd

                            Turn off Fridays, Log off daily, unless some problem arises and I have to rebbot. I used to start up every morning, but my pc takes over 5 minutes to do this now, so until I get a new pc I dont see this habit changing soon.

                            • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                              Jeff Hamilton

                              Thank you all for the fast replies.  It seems like most everyone follows a proceedure similar to my own. The whole idea of leaving the machines on all the time, unless you're acting as a print server or running minimal programs seems somehow wrong to me. Especially after experiencing issues after the machine has been on for a long time without restarting.

                              This reminds me of where I worked several years ago. The IT group had no idea about a CAD machine and encouraged everyone to keep restarts to a minimum and locked everything down with an antivirus that scanned everything almost constantly. That's fine for a machine that runs only the internet and microsoft office all day. Until I was able to shut it down to a reasonable time, and keep my machine fresh I was constantly having problems. Some people here still leave their CAD machines on all the time, and they are typically the ones with the most issues.

                              Again, thank you all for you prompt responses!



                            • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                              Stephen Reed

                              I restart once a week, usually before I leave on Fridays. More often though, through the week a restart seems needed when SW hangs or crashes more than once (yes, SW does crash occassionaly ). So, realistically, I probably do a restart 2-3 times a week.  I rarely shut down as our IT dept. doesn't want that because evenings are when they do backups and updates.


                              We are still on SW2010 but seems like I read that SW2011 is supposed to manage memory better?



                                • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                  Jeff Hamilton

                                  We're on 2011 SP 3. I've heard that, but so far haven't seen it make any difference.

                                    • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                      Kelvin Lamport

                                      I've noticed that SW2011 does release files better than previous versions. Previously, after closing a document, I could not delete or rename that document in WIndows Explorer until SW was shutdown (or the Unlocker utility was used). Now, with SW2011, I can.



                                      Regarding rebooting the computer, I usually only do so at the weekend, or when necessary. I used to shut down every night, and reboot in the morning. Now I don't even bother to log off. However, I do run CCleaner every night, and run a few simple BAT files to delete certain processes (SW, Firefox, etc) every morning ... and sometimes during the day. That's much quicker than restarting and just as effective. (YMMV). Those BAT files come in very handy when said programs crash, lock-up or just slow to a crawl.


                                      I also leave my works computer running so that I can access it from home. Unfortunately the BIOS does not allow a remote cold-start, although I can reboot remotely when running.


                                      BAT files are attached for those interested.

                                  • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                    Don Ridlen

                                    Most of us at my work shut ours off at night and restart in the morning unless we have start having issues then we reboot as needed. That being said our boss vary rarely turns his computer off but I think that's so we never know if he's there or left for the day.

                                    • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                      Brian Williams

                                      More often than not it is our power company  that determines when a restart is necessary.  It also reboots all other household appliances, refrigerator, microwave, range, TV etc. etc.

                                      • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                        Greg Staso

                                        Just at night usually.

                                        • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                          Jeff Hamilton

                                          Thanks again...

                                          How about McAfee?  Ours is set to scan on startup and enforce policies every 5 mim. Seems a bit agressive. This may be where we are having some performance issues lately.

                                          • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                            John Summers

                                            We leave ours on all the time to allow for remote access and IT upgrades.  Restarts occur depending upon size of SW files opened/closed and computer performance- sometimes weekly, other times daily or more.

                                            • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                              John Walden

                                              We leave our computers on for automatic updates, and reboot a few times a week.  Our IT department believes that computer components last longer when they are kept on.  They have noticed that the cooling fans last longer when they are kept on, cooling fan failure has causes power supplies and boards to overheat and go bad.  Also, as long as the monitors sleep, the PC's don't use much energy.


                                              • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                                Walter Fetsch

                                                1.  I shut down all of my computers nightly.  My SW computer in particular tends to get rather squirrely on Day #2 if I don't.


                                                2.  I disagree that computers are designed to run for long periods of time without needing to be restarted.  The HARDWARE is, but the OS is not.  I realize that the later versions of Windows have drastically improved, but even MS servers need to be rebooted regularly.  Linux, Unix, or Novell servers can run indefinitely, but to the best of my knowledge, MS has never reached that point of stability.


                                                3.  In days gone by, there was much discussion of whether it was less costly to shut down computers at night to save electricity or to leave them running to save electronics.  I have read detailed studies on the subject and the conclusion was that the costs were very close in both scenarios.  Since that time, hardware has gotten much cheaper and electricity has gotten much more expensive, so I have to conclude that shutting the computer down will save money.  Besides, if you're concerned about power cycling doing damage to your circuits, it would be better to fry them early, while you still have a warranty, right?

                                                • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                                  Chris Atkin

                                                  I normally recommend leaving it on during the week, and if so compelled, shutting it down on the weekend.  The reason why I say this is  that most machines will go into sleep and power consumption is minimal.  Besides the hardware issues, most operating systems do file maintenance at night in the back ground.  Shutting it down at night will either force it to skip these maintenance actions, or delay them to when your working and slowing down your machine.   You can also schedule your machine to automatically run maintenance tasks (defrag and scan disk) automatically at night.  It also gives a chance for other applications such as software updates,  back-ups, and anti-virus scans to run at night.   If you look around, you can find some power settings, but I think the general recommendation is 15 min, turn screen off, sleep after 30 min.  Also, remember that screen savers use more power than a computer at idle.  I would recommend against hibernation.  I usually reboot my machine every morning.  I hit reboot just before I get my coffee and its usually back up by the time I get back.


                                                  From Microsoft:


                                                  If it's just a few hours or even overnight, it's usually more efficient to  put your computer to sleep, either by clicking the Power button on the Start menu or by closing the lid on your mobile PC.  (Some computers also have a dedicated sleep button on the computer case.)

                                                  There are several advantages to choosing sleep over shutting down:

                                                  • All your work, including information about the programs you were using such as window location and size, is automatically saved.

                                                  • When you awaken your machine from sleep, you  don't need to restart programs or reopen files as you would if you had  shut down the computer.

                                                  • While Windows  does use some power in sleep mode, it's very small: about one-tenth as  much as it would need if you  left the computer running.  A mobile PC  typically uses 1 to 2 percent of battery power per hour in sleep mode.

                                                  • When Windows  is asleep, it can still download and install updates and perform other  routine maintenance tasks.  For this reason, some companies require  employees to put their computers to sleep rather than shut them down  when going home for the evening.

                                                  But there are instances when you should shut down  your computer fully—for example, when you install a new memory card or  other hardware.   If you don't plan to use your computer for several  days or more, you should also shut it down.

                                                  • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                                    John Burrill

                                                    I restart my computer when I'm done for the day: this way, I get my memory cleared out and IT can go in and apply their patches and run their scans after I've left.

                                                    As far as the policy of not restarting a computer except when strictly neccesary; I'm not sure I get that.  Back when I ran CAD on a UNIX workstation we were told not to shut down the machines, simply because they took a long time to come up and all of the components were hot-swappable.

                                                    In any case, I'd tell the IT dudes that Solidworks developes memory leaks over time and occasional restarts are needed.

                                                    Let me know how it turns out.


                                                    • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                                      Alan Stoldt

                                                      A firing squad for the IT guys.

                                                      • Re: How often do you restart your computer
                                                        Jeff Hamilton

                                                        Sorry for the delay in getting back. Perhaps it was an overstatement to say that computers were designed to stay operating for long periods of time.  Sorry about that.


                                                        Typically I like to start things fresh every morning, and don't like to have them running unnecessarily at night. However, with all the stuff running on the machine, it can take forever to get things going in the morning. Over the last week I shut down all the active programs and left the machine on overnight, monitors off. There has been a noticable increase in speed in the programs loading up in the morning. But I have also noticed a tendency for memory and graphics issues later in the day.For now I guess I'll try to leave it on during the week with no programs running at night and shut down on the weekend.


                                                        I have also not been able to kill the McAfee at any time. I am fairly certain that this or another program has interfered with my admin image installations, as I am no longer able to run them. Next time I need to do an installation I may ask for permissions to shut it down during the installation to prove the point.