Macro Systems Blog
Explaining Why Shutting Down Your Computer Takes A While
There’s a significant difference between turning off some appliance, like a TV or a microwave, and turning off your computer. Why does the computer take so long to actually turn off, and is there any way to speed up the process? Let's give you a few ideas as to how to accelerate up the shutdown process.
Why is Shutting Down So Slow?
To really appreciate why it takes such a relatively long time for a computer to shut down, it helps to examine the process as a whole. All computers rely on a wide variety of moving parts and there is a level of organization to the shutdown process that protects all these components. A full shutdown allows the RAM to empty itself, the hard drive to erase its virtual memory, remove all caches and close out all active applications, and finally deactivate the operating system.
If your computer is forced to power down without the opportunity to go through these processes, or in the middle of some critical task, you could easily experience file corruption and errors the next time you try to start it back up.
The Steps of a Formal Shutdown
It helps to see the complete list of steps to fully appreciate the lengths that programmers and developers have gone to ensure your computer is protected.
Upon activation of the shutdown process, any applications that are opened are checked to ensure that their data has been saved. If not, the process is interrupted until the user instructs the computer what to do. The computer then permits all services and programs to shut down and confirm that they have closed, before removing the no-longer-needed program data. Next, a log is made of anything unusual for the user to reference if the next startup doesn’t go properly, and all users are logged out of the system. Then, the user-level operating system is deactivated, any pending updates are installed, and the machine is finally turned off completely.
Accelerating the Shutdown
There are a few ways to help this process speed up, although most are fairly complex and should only be attempted by an IT professional. One simpler way is to ensure that your programs are all closed out before you begin shutdown, as this streamlines a few of the computer’s initial shutdown procedures. It can also help to not shut down your workstation all the time, but to instead restart it. This helps the computer cleanse itself of extra, unnecessary memory, increasing its speed overall.
For more tips, keep coming back to the Macro Systems blog, or call us at 703-359-9211!