Every computer user has used the good old restart to solve a host of hardware and software issues.
It’s a magical solution that you should try before digging deeper to find serious issues with your device.
Now, you may wonder if it’s possible to restart your PC too frequently.
Can it damage your hardware components?
Is Restarting Your PC Bad?
Restarting your PC isn’t bad.
On the contrary, it’s useful for your computer as it can solve many minor issues and glitches.
In addition, it’s preferred over a full shutdown in many cases.
Even if you restart your PC every day, you don’t risk any damage to your components.
It may introduce minor wear and tear to your hardware’s moving parts.
For example, the hard drive or the fans suddenly stop working and start quickly when the PC boots up, but running the PC all the time and shutting it down also causes wear and tear.
The wear is so minor that it’s completely negligible.
However, if your computer requires frequent restarting to perform normally, you should find the underlying cause, as it can be serious.
Benefits Of Rebooting The PC
Rebooting your computer doesn’t damage it even if you do it daily.
You have to restart your PC an insanely many times until you see noticeable damage to its hardware.
As mentioned, restarting your computer once in a while is recommended because it has many benefits.
Here they are:
1. Flushes The Memory
Random-access memory is a crucial component that helps you perform tasks as quickly as your CPU can handle.
It stores a version of the entire operating system and every program you open on your desktop.
Since RAM has a limited capacity, it may get full when you open several programs simultaneously.
The more parts of RAM are occupied, the slower it gets.
You’ll feel the computer has become sluggish, and your programs don’t open as fast as they should.
In such cases, the best course of action is to restart the PC.
A reboot will clear RAM and solve all the problems caused by a full memory.
2. Ends Memory Leak
You may wonder, if closing programs takes them out of RAM, why should you restart your computer?
You can simply close the program and free up space for others.
However, that’s not how things work.
Things aren’t that clear-cut because programs aren’t perfect.
When you close a program, not all of it gets out of RAM.
Some parts of the program may still linger, building up over time and filling the RAM space.
That’s a memory leak, which can slow down your entire device.
The closed program still occu[ies some space in the memory, which can’t be erased even if you force-close the program.
When you want to open a new program, it has less space on the RAM, affecting performance and speed.
Rebooting can clear the memory and prevent memory leaks.
3. Completes Updates And Installations
Restarting the PC isn’t always a maintenance task that you may or may not do.
Sometimes, it’s a necessary task mandated by the system to complete its actions.
When you install a new program or an update, you’re prompted to restart your computer.
Even if you don’t restart the computer immediately, you can schedule a reboot.
That’s because the new program or update can’t work if you don’t restart the PC.
For windows updates, a reboot is necessary because the OS can’t update files that are in use.
Rebooting minimizes the chances of system and application instabilities.
4. Fixes Minor Glitches
Computers have become increasingly stable and powerful.
Still, they develop minor errors that can interfere with the smooth operation of your device.
These errors may come from programs, core OS processes, or the RAM.
They may even affect your hardware, making them work harder.
As a result, you may experience unusual fan noise or overheating.
Regardless of the source, rebooting can fix the glitches because your computer performs an automatic diagnostic test upon bootup and fixes minor errors across the board.
Given that, there’s no wonder restarting is the first solution that a computer user tries!
5. Boosts Performance
Full RAM and app cache are the primary reasons that cause performance issues for programs and apps.
You may feel the programs won’t open and run as fast as before.
Worse, you might be experiencing frequent app crashes that can affect your productivity because they take time to get fixed.
In addition, unnecessary background processes can hog your system resources, slowing your device.
You may even notice your internet connection isn’t as fast as before, affecting your performance on the internet and slowing your wireless peripherals.
Rebooting gives your computer a clean slate, closing all programs and clearing the app cache.
This way, you help your apps run more smoothly.
Cold Vs. Warm Reboot
You can restart your computer in two ways: cold and warm (hard and soft).
Soft rebooting involves clicking the Start button and selecting Restart from the power options.
However, that’s not always possible.
There are cases when your screen freezes, and you can’t access the interface to perform a soft boot.
In such situations, you must long-press the power button until the PC shuts down, wait a few seconds, and turn it back on.
When you hard reboot a PC, the power cuts off (at least in critical parts of the motherboard), and the components stop working.
On the other hand, a soft restart doesn’t involve power cutoffs.
Instead, the processes stop, the RAM flushes, and the computer boots up immediately.
The motherboard doesn’t lose power because it resets all the running processes and returns everything to normal.
Is A Hard Reboot Bad For Your PC?
If restarting isn’t bad for your PC, does it involve both versions?
Since soft and hard reboots involve different processes, their effects on the system may also differ.
When you soft reboot the system, your OS has enough time to end the processes, especially read/write ones, and shut down the PC gracefully.
A hard reboot suddenly cuts off power and doesn’t allow the hard disk to park its platters and the OS to end processes safely.
Some users believe it could end in disk corruption, but that’s not the case with modern PCs.
The only problem that could happen is corrupted file systems, which is also a not serious issue because you can easily fix it with the CHKDSK scan if the OS doesn’t repair it automatically.
That said, if you can choose between a hard and a soft reboot, the latter is always preferable.
How Often Should You Restart Your PC?
Now that we’ve established rebooting is beneficial, you may wonder how often you should perform it.
That’s particularly the case if you don’t shut down your computer and keep it running for days.
Today’s computers may need less frequent shutdowns and restarts, but you can still help your device run more smoothly.
The short answer to this question is whenever you feel it’s necessary.
Sometimes, rebooting the PC is the only way that helps you get access to your desktop.
For example, when a program crashes, the only solution—although temporary—is restarting the computer by long-pressing the power button.
If you want to reboot your computer as a maintenance measure, it’s recommended to do it at least once a week.
Some users restart their computers once a day to make sure their device gets a clean slate daily.
Ultimately, the decision depends on your device and the programs you run.
If your OS is sound and well-implemented, you may not need to reboot the PC every week.
On the other hand, if you run heavy programs that produce lots of cache and take up huge RAM space, you can reboot your computer more often.
What If The Computer Restarts By Itself?
So far, we’ve established that restarting your computer regularly—even daily—is a great way to clear RAM and CPU cache and improve your device speed and performance.
What if the computer restarts on its own?
Unless you’re installing a program that affects system files (the way updating the OS does), the computer restarting by itself can indicate major issues.
A wide range of hardware and software problems can force the PC to restart itself.
When the device faces such issues, it doesn’t know how to solve them.
As a result, it shuts down and immediately turns on to get a fresh start.
However, the problem doesn’t go away and remains there, making the computer keep restarting until you solve it.
Faulty RAM, PSU, graphics card, CMOS battery, and other hardware can cause these constant, inadvertent restarts.
If your components can’t get enough electricity or are incompatible with other hardware, the device can’t keep them operational.
Another primary cause of frequent restarts is overheating.
When your cooling solutions don’t work effectively, the internal temperatures increase.
Once they reach a critical level, the thermal throttling mechanism steps in to shut off the system and end the temperature-raising processes.
Newly installed software can also wreak havoc on your entire system by clashing with other programs and causing system instabilities.
Thus, if your computer keeps restarting, you should take the device to a technician or find the culprit yourself by checking all possible causes.
Restart Vs. Shutdown
Even if you’re an average computer user, you know the differences between restarting and shutting down a device.
Both of them are legitimate Windows power options with different use cases.
However, given the importance of rebooting in boosting PC performance, you may wonder if a shutdown has the same effects.
Today’s computers can run for days and months without shutting down or rebooting.
You can put your system to sleep when you don’t need it and return to the same state after waking it.
When do you need to shut it down?
Some users prefer to shut down their computers every night to save electricity.
It’s more environmentally friendly, although the sleep mode doesn’t use much power.
In addition, it’s more secure because hackers and cybercriminals can’t access your system when it’s off.
However, can it boost your PC performance the way a restart does?
Although a shutdown closes all the programs and gives you a clean desktop, things are different at lower levels.
The computer doesn’t truly shut down when you choose the shutdown option from the Start menu.
Thanks to the Fast Startup feature enabled by default in Windows 10 and 11, the kernel is hibernated in a shutdown.
This option allows Windows to boot faster when you turn the PC on.
As a result, the bugs and errors inside the kernel remain there and affect your system when it boots up.
A restart, on the other hand, closes the Windows kernel and gives you a clean slate.
If you want to achieve the same effect with a shutdown, you should disable the fast Startup feature.
The bootup process may take longer, but you get a fresh start as you do with a restart.
You can disable Fast Startup through Window Settings > Power & Sleep > Additional Power Settings > Choose what the power buttons do.
Click Change settings that are currently unavailable and remove the checkmark next to Fast Startup.