Who switches off his/her computer at night?

Well, I don’t. I never switch off my computer and I never quit the utilities that are running on it all the time. There may be better reasons for this than I have, but these are mine: I use it 14 hours a day anyway, and to boot my 3.4 GHz Athlon 64 system from a cold state into Windows XP, with all the tools running, it takes 19 minutes, that’s no exaggeration.

In this context, there’s something I absolutely hate: most applications, even small ones, have routines these days that run “regularly”. Many do automatic update checking, some do automatic backups, whatever. And guess what those brainy developers do? They run those processes at startup, somehow assuming that a satisfying regularity will come automatically that way. Great. Crap, of course.

Guys, don’t do that! It’s useless! Many people don’t restart your application all the time, so it just doesn’t work! And I’m sure those apps take their share of the 19 minutes boot time, because once they are actually restarted it’s something that happens only every few weeks, so all the update checks/backup/whatever take place at the same time. Who comes up with such an idiotic idea?

4 Comments on Who switches off his/her computer at night?

  1. John Barone // April 4, 2005 at 9:16 am // Reply

    I hardly turn of the PC anymore either. I usually have too much of the automatic stuff (virus checking, spyware scanning, backups, etc.) scheduled for overnight.But 19 minutes to boot! Man, you have me beat on that. I think mine takes 5-10 minutes or so before it is usable. I’v, never timed it, but I know it takes a long time.Another way I get around cold boots is to do standby/hibernate. I almost always (99% of the time) just hibernatemy laptop when I move it, instead of turning it off. Windows is pretty adept at detecting changes (like a changedDHCP server/IP address) when it awakes. There are some apps (Outlook & Visual Studio come to mind) that seemto get cranky after hibernating on them a few times, but that is a problem easily solved by restarting the individualapps instead of having to cold boot every time.

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  2. I think the boot process would probably be a bit faster if I usually did it on purpose… but 90% of the times it’s only because the system crashed on me (after a few weeks or so), so Windows takes its time to fiddle with the file system. I’ve seen it restart (up to a certain point) in about 12 minutes, but it’s been a long time since it was faster than that.I’m with you on the laptop issue. I always use hibernation on that one, too… one more good argument for the point I was trying to make with this post: as a programmer, don’t assume your application will be restarted with any regularity.

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  3. “it takes 19 minutes, that’s no exaggeration”No offence, but if that’s not an exaggeration is it perhaps a lie? Mine’s a 3.0 P4 HT and it takes… 20 seconds. AMD pfffft Maybe you need more RAM?? 1.5 gig is a good number. SATA will help too, so get to it : )

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  4. It’s not a lie, sorry 🙂 And the system has 3GB RAM. I don’t use SATA, that’s right, but the system HD is a not-very-old 160GB drive, I’m sure that doesn’t account for more than a few seconds.As I said, it doesn’t take 19 minutes every time. I usually don’t ever reboot just for the fun of it, so obviously things like additional hd scans often take their toll in the instances when I actually do it. 10 to 12 minutes is the lowest it gets, though.Plus, to be clear, by booting I don’t mean the time it takes from switching on the system to the Windows login screen, but to the point where the desktop is up and running, all startup stuff has been loaded and I can actually use the mouse and get visual response from my system. At this point, the system uses about 512MB RAM and it has the following loaded, apart from standard system processes, in no particular order: MS SQL server dev edition, ClipMate, Thunderbird, Second Copy, OneNote tray icon, McAfee VirusScan, VNC server, Outlook, SharpReader, Trillian Pro, Skype, GMail checker and ActiveSync.Yet another thing: My system used to start up real fast at one point. That was about a year ago, not more than that. But by now my “Add or Remove Programs” applet shows 337 entries and it’s gone downhill a lot… now you’re going to say I should uninstall stuff, right? That’s just what the article was originally about: a good programmer will set himself the target that an application (or a mechanism within an application) will always work, no matter in what manner the user chooses to use his computer. I was simply saying it’s a bad idea to assume others work with their things the same way you do…

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