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Tip of the Week: Why Shutting Down a Computer Takes So Long

by | Jul 18, 2018 | Best Practices, MyTek Blog, Tip of the Week


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There’s a huge difference between turning off your computer and turning off another appliance like a TV or a vacuum cleaner. Computers take way longer to power off and you may be wondering if there is a way that you can speed up the process. This tip is going to discuss why it takes so long and a few ways that help you speed it up.

Why is Shutdown So Slow?

To fully understand why it takes such a long time for your computer system to turn off, we need to look at the entire process. Computers use so many different moving parts and there is a controlled organization to how they shut off, in order to protect all of the parts. When a computer is completing a full shut down, the RAM has to empty itself, the hard drive is wiped of its virtual memory, the caches are removed and all active applications are closed. The final step is the deactivation of the computer’s operating system.

If your computer does not have the opportunity to do these steps before it is shut down, a file could easily become corrupted, or errors can appear once it is started again. Without the right way of shutting down, the computer cannot do everything it has to do and this can cause issues.

The Steps of a Proper Shutdown

While we briefly already talked about the specific steps your computer needs to go through, it may help you visualize if you have a full list of what it has to do in such a short time (although it can take a while, doing this many steps is quite impressive). You may also start to appreciate the developers and programmers who have gone to great lengths to make sure your computer is protected during its power off.

Before your computer begins the shutdown process, any applications opened are checked to make sure that the data within them has been saved. This may interrupt the process to notify the user so they can cancel the shutdown and save their data. After this is taken care of, the computer shuts down all of the programs and services and confirms that they are closed before removing the program data. After, a log is created of anything unusual that the user may want to reference if the start-up has any issues next time. Once the user-level operating system has been deactivated and any pending updates have been installed, the machine can completely turn off.

Speeding Up Computer Shutdown

While there are a few ways to make this time-consuming action go faster, many are really complex and should only be attempted by IT professionals. One simple way you may want to look into is making sure that every program is closed before beginning the shutdown process so this first step can be skipped. It may also be beneficial to not shut down your computer every single time but to simply restart it, which may help the computer cleanse itself of unnecessary memory and increase its speed.

If you need help with the speeding up computer shutdown process, give MyTek a call today and continue reading our blogs for more helpful tricks and tips.


Tim - Team

Tim Tiller, LMSW

Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.


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