Do Computers (and other gadgets) Get Tired? - Comments Page 1

Category: Hardware



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Comment Page: 1 |  2 

Posted by:

Richard
24 Mar 2020

There is a difference between home kit and enterprise. Much home kit is likely designed to be switched off when not used, enterprise stuff is built to keep going.

We had at least one server that, prior to retirement, would of had uptime in decades had we had not needed to move it to a new server room.

Posted by:

Ronald M Kausak
24 Mar 2020

I restart my 3 pcs and tow phone first thing in the morning. With this strategy, problems have been avoided. My router I restart on the weekends.

Posted by:

Ronald M Kausak
24 Mar 2020

I restart my 3 pcs and tow phone first thing in the morning. With this strategy, problems have been avoided. My router I restart on the weekends.

Posted by:

Stuart Berg
24 Mar 2020

Hi Bob,
My anecdote is that ALL electronic devices containing advanced circuitry need to be rebooted periodically. That's why it's often recommended that we reboot our computers at least once a week. Consequently, years ago I put my cable modem, router, VOIP box, etc. on one power strip and plugged the power strip into a timer that turns the power off every Wednesday at 3 AM (a time that I'm almost never awake) for a few minutes. Since doing that, I don't have these problems.

Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
24 Mar 2020

I would tend to blame memory leaks and disk fragmentation since I see those problems on the box of my better half, who runs MS Windows, while I dont have them on a similar box running Linux.

Posted by:

hifi5000
24 Mar 2020

I have several desktop computers running Linux for days at a time.They run many applications with no problem,but as a routine I usually shut them off when not needed.

Occasionally, I will notice an device not acting correctly,so I turn them off for a minute and than turn them back on.That usually solves the problem.If it is issue that doesn't go away right then,I unplug it from the wall for a minute and than plug it back in.

It would be a good idea to run a cleaner such as Bleachbit weekly as a maintenance item to clear your cache and unneeded files.

Posted by:

KD
24 Mar 2020

The IT Crowd:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn2FB1P_Mn8

Posted by:

Charley
24 Mar 2020

Internet connections, especially cable modems, need to be reset periodically. When the cable modem is reset, it reloads software and especially configuration parameters from the ISP. That is why ISPs always tell you to power off, wait 30 seconds and power on when you call them with a service problem. Many times it really does solve the problem. (Many times it doesn't, but you have to do it just to convince the person on the phone.)

As you talked about in another article, things do wear out especially from heat. I have had power supplies in fail over time. Disks die (typically in 4-6 years). Also, if you look inside your computer, you may find your fan isn't running or is running slowly. Often that is just from dirt buildup. Clean it out.

Posted by:

-m
24 Mar 2020

As an electronics design engineer I can state that, in a sense, electronics gets tired with use. Components, such as resistors, change value with age. If you examine the technical specifications of most electronic components you can find this information. That's why electronics, designed for long use (in excess of 5 years) takes this into account and the designer will assume a wider range of possible values for each component, it is also why these assemblies cost more.

Posted by:

George Hendey
24 Mar 2020

I turn my computer off every night as I do not want it using power unnecessarily. One problem I do have is that my computer loses connection with the internet (wifi) and mostly will not reconnect. I have to restart my computer to connect again and it does so with no problem. I do not know why this happens but wonder if my broadband stops and starts again or if they (Virgin in the UK) restart the broadband or change channels.

Posted by:

Phixer
24 Mar 2020

Back in the mid-1980s when electronic flight decks were coming into service, there were many 'nuisance' messages. Arriving in Acapulco without any maintenance support at that time, the screen was giving me a 'no-go' message. Powering down the aircraft for two minutes got rid of the message and the plane flew - safely - back to UK and on.

Posted by:

Phixer
24 Mar 2020

With my previous laptop I used to hibernate it overnight because it was otherwise slow to start in the morning and open the files I was working on. It would become sluggish after a few days and need rebooting. In hindsight, it may have been Firefox because I didn't regularly clear the cache. But, like others, I also experienced no internet connection occasionally. That may be resolved because the ancient router finally gave up the ghost and replaced.

With my not-so-smart Windows phone, I think Mr Windows is upset because I don't spend money with him and I was getting odd notifications. Now I have scheduled a regular reboot to see if that cures the problem.

Posted by:

SysOp404
24 Mar 2020

Another excellent article, Bob! For over 20 years, we noticed a clear pattern:

Both commercial and residential customers who regularly left their PCs and MACs running 24/7, had more wonky issues (non-tech term), than those who restarted them at least once per week or shut them down nightly.

Since OS and program code isn't perfect, processing errors within the CPU, occur from time-to-time. Most program events aren't fatal (nor are all OS events). Some trigger a pop-up message that can be dismissed and the program closed/relaunched, while others have no effect on workflow at all. Many remain in the background, without notifying users. (Events are logged and can be viewed, if a user has Administrator Privileges). But when enough faults occur, (and dependant on their type; whether critical or non-critical to the OS) the system will eventually destabilize enough, that processes fail in the CPU and the session will terminate. At that point, the user experiences a partial or complete freeze on screen, due to no input to the GPU from the CPU... or even more unceremoniously (and dramatically), ending in a BSOD.

End-of-day shutdowns are not an option for many businesses that do backups and maintenance overnight. But generally, (with the prospect of fewer expensive service calls) most agree to a scheduled weekly restart, which is often enough to keep the hardware and users, happy.

Many systems now use SSDs and the newer NVMe drives, so there's no concern for wear factor, due to the number of hours hard drives have been in service (nor the heat produced while spinning)... but even so, we still advise people to shut down or at minimum, restart their computers and WiFi/routers, on a regular basis - for all the reasons Bob and others have posted here. We also found that it tends to ease customer concerns regarding failure rates, of their modern drives and other components within their systems.

Posted by:

Dave H.
24 Mar 2020

When the horse got tired, the cowboy just rebooted it. Things haven't changed much in the last couple of hundred years.

Posted by:

Kathy
24 Mar 2020

Anyone interested in bit flips and "cosmic rays" should check out this episode of RadioLab's Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bit-flip/id152249110?i=1000437535496
It's about a small election in Brussels in which the vote count for one candidate was off by a puzzling 4096 votes - more than the number of voters! The conclusion? A bit flip caused by a cosmic ray!

Posted by:

BobD
24 Mar 2020

I am surprised that no one here has mentioned the true cause of spurious failures: gremlins.

Posted by:

thenudehamster
24 Mar 2020

I've known for years that my various electronic devices (phone, tablets, PCs - even my printer and modem/router) benefit from being 'power-cycled' occasionally. Slow running, failure to connect wifi, screen lockups and more are an indication. I always put it down to internal issues where things like buffers might get unintentionally overloaded, where components might get a little warm though dust accumulation - or merely that the little man inside who does all the work fancied a break.
I don't shut down and restart everything at once - different devices get different levels of use - but if one of them displays some odd actions, it gets the treatment. Sometimes I reboot things just for fun...

Posted by:

Robert A.
24 Mar 2020

Really, every computer owner/user should get into the habit of powering-down the computer, unplugging all the attached cables opening up the side panel, and blowing out all the dust and other crap that accumulates inside the tower, that can make a modern computer to start running slower. My understanding is that if modern Intel and AMD CPUs get enough dust on them and the motherboard, the chip will begin to throttle-down down to prevent serious overheating that would harm the computer. And the closer a computer tower is placed to the floor, the greater the odds it will suck in dirt and dust. Cans of compressed air, available at your nearest retailer that has a computer department usually can do a great job of cleaning out the inside of a computer, although they tend to be relatively expensive Over the long run, one may want to get an inexpensive air compressor, like the small "pancake" style sold at Harbor Freight Tools, often on sale, for about $40.00. The benefit of an air compressor is that it offers higher air pressure for cleaning that the air cans do, on the computer, but it can re-inflate bicycle and riding lawn mower tires, and also help clean out the nooks and crannies of one's car, when the spring clean and tune-up time rolls around.

Posted by:

Howard L.
24 Mar 2020

Each morning when I boot up my Windows 7 I expect it not to take. The screen shows "No connection." Pressing the little restart button under the big main one usually evokes a beep. The machine restarts and behaves fine thereafter. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, there is no beep and I need to run through a system repair program -- or, worst case, system restore.

Posted by:

Doc
25 Mar 2020

After a couple of HUGE shocks when working on old TV's and Radios, I remembered to remember to ground-out power tubes and capacitors. I bet the same would help computers.

TURN COMPUTER OFF
UNPLUG COMPUTER
TURN COMPUTER BACK ON
(I hear my fan kick on for a split second, and that tells me that the capacitors and such have reached some state of discharge greater than just turning the computer (or TV or Radio) off. I feel like I am getting rid of those last few electrons that used to make me see flashes and filled my mouth with the unmistakable taste of stored electrons and the memory that I had not grounded power tubes or discharged capacitors.)

It's not rocket science, well it IS rocket science - NASA and other letter organizations constantly have to re-boot parts of their systems to get them to work better than they were.

With a 24/7 run with about one re-boot a day when I remember - but up to a month or more when I'm in the field - , my computer is now about 8-9 years old and is getting tired -- I think I need a new computer with some kind of Gen10 Intel i-9 to keep me happy for another near decade of use - you can never have enough speed or memory. And Gen10 only because you pointed out that intel chips have a security issue I'd rather not deal with.

Turn computer off, unplug it, pull the power plug, turn it on, see if it makes any sound - if it does, you have cleared out more stray electrons - and when you plug the cord back in, you will KNOW your computer is pretty much completely discharged.

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