How to check: when was the last time you restarted your PC?

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Do you know how long it’s been since you restarted your Windows computer? There’s an easy way to check.

restart

 

You probably already know that restarting your computer will often resolve a problem or error that has come up. I’ve often referred to restarting as a “magic pill” for computer repair since it fixes so many issues.

And along the same lines, restarting the computer on a regular basis is a good idea to proactively avoid some computer problems that can come up. I recommend restarting the computer every 1-2 days as a good practice.

When you restart your PC:

  • your computer can run faster
  • memory is freed up
  • memory leaks are stopped
  • internet connection issues can be resolved
  • you get more done because your computer is working better!

But here’s the big question – do you know when you last restarted your computer? In other words, how long has your computer been running continuously?

This is kind of a fun little quiz. Before you check this, take a guess as to how long ago you restarted the computer. 8 hours? 2 days? I’ve found that most people underestimate this. Once I asked a client how long ago the last restart was and she said she didn’t really know. When we checked, it was 45 days! Not a big surprised that her computer was acting funny.

Here’s how you find out when the last restart was (works the same on Windows 7 or Windows 10):

The taskbar is the bar that runs across the bottom of your screen:

taskbar

 

Just do a RIGHT click on a blank part of the taskbar, and in the menu that comes up, click to run Task Manager:

task manager

 

When Task Manager opens, click on the “Performance” tab and look for the number indicating “Up time”:

Performance up time

 

The “Up time” number is configured as Days:Hours:Minutes:Seconds. So in the above screenshot from my own computer, it’s been 8 hours and 24 minutes since my PC was last booted up.

Of course, if you turn your computer off at night then turn it back on the next morning, you’re essentially restarting it every day. But I can’t really do that since I use the overnight time to have it do updates and my daily system image backup. So I have to just remember to reboot it every so often. Whatever system works for you is fine, as long as the computer gets restarted on a regular basis.

Did you check your “Up time”? Let us know what it was in the comments!

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Glyn hunt
July 9th, 2018

11:21:35:42

Don’t believe it

Scott Johnson
July 9th, 2018

Almost 12 days since a restart Glyn!

Glyn hunt
July 9th, 2018

did a restart and the the timer reset – guess it was 12 days

asad
July 9th, 2018

thanks

Rose Rodriguez
July 9th, 2018

Hmmm. Now I’m really confused. My computer says an UP TIME of over 25 days but I shut down my computer every night. Now I’m wondering what’s the difference between a shut down and other tasks and why mine doesn’t show a restart every morning when I turn it on.

Scott Johnson
July 9th, 2018

If you just close the lid on a laptop, it is most likely going into Sleep mode rather than doing a full shutdown/restart.

MaryJo
July 9th, 2018

Scott, I just shut my laptop down a couple of hours ago because it was acting stupid. I shut it down completely, or at least I thought I did. But uptime is showing as almost 5 days. What the heck?

Scott Johnson
July 9th, 2018

You most likely just put it into Sleep mode rather than fully powering it down.

Jim Duffy
July 9th, 2018

Wow, that’s all I can say. Has been 24 days since my laptop has been turned off! Quite a revelation.

MaryJo
July 9th, 2018

Okay, I shut down, waited about 15 minutes, then re-started my laptop. The first time I did it this morning, task manager said uptime was 4 days 21 hours, now it says 4 days 22 hours.
?????!

MaryJo
July 9th, 2018

Update: I just did a “restart” and now performance is showing 2 minutes uptime. Weird!

Scott Johnson
July 9th, 2018

I’d probably have to see it to see what is going on. Either it’s not really powering off, or Windows “thinks” it’s not powering off.

Mark
July 9th, 2018

It sounds like those who believe they have shut down their computer only to find that the uptime remains active may have their power buttons set to put the computer to SLEEP rather than SHUTDOWN, which is common on laptops.

To check this, navigate to….
CONTROL PANEL>
POWER OPTIONS>
Then under Power Plans look to the right of the active plan (the one with the radio button with the black dot in it) and click CHANGE PLAN SETTINGS>
Then click CHANGE ADVANCED POWER SETTINGS>
Then in the new pop up window look for POWER BUTTONS AND LIDS> and click the ‘+’ symbol next to it.
Then click the’+’ button next to POWER BUTTON ACTION>
Then to the right of SETTINGS> if it does not say SHUT DOWN click the word that is there (likely SLEEP) and set it to SHUT DOWN.

Now when you press the physical power button on the computer, or click the power button under the Start Menu the computer should actually shut down

Marilyn Tuttle
July 9th, 2018

As usual Scott I learned something new about using my computer. Thankfully mine was only 2hours and 34minutes since I had restarted it. Thanks for helping those of us that are computer “Dummies”. LOL

Barbara
July 9th, 2018

mine says 26 days, 2hrs,14 minutes and 7 seconds, I shut my laptop down every evening, don’t use the “sleep” setting at all, think the lid is shut tight, when I open it each morning screen is dark, push on button the Toshiba name comes up and I have to put in password to use it, have to check my settings maybe I have it set to not shut down. Anyway so much for that, enjoy your website.

Tem Moody
July 9th, 2018

I use the task bar shut down every night. It usually shows something is running and I tell it to shut down anyway. Haven’t been able to figure out what is still running. Task manager shows 6:02:32:50.

Maurice Gilbert
July 9th, 2018

1 day, 2 hours, some minutes, but I knew that because we had a power failure!
Otherwise, I normall have been shutting down nightly.

However, thanks for the tip!

Larry
July 10th, 2018

This only works if, under power options, the QUICK START selection is UNCHECKED! Uncheck that sucker and you will get a FULL shutdown and uptime will start fresh – of course, it will take a little longer to start…

You’re welcome, Scott.

– L –

Scott Johnson
July 10th, 2018

I’m using Windows 10 Pro and don’t see any “Quick Start” option in Power Options, and even a search in Settings does not find anything called Quick Start. Are you talking about a BIOS setting?

Larry
July 10th, 2018

Ok Scott here’s the procedure.

o on your Win 10 open Control Panel

o click on power options

o click on ‘choose what the power buttons do’

o click on the link that says ‘change settings that are currently unavailable’

o the formerly greyed out (unavailable) selections at the bottom will now be able to be changed.

o I bet you a dollar to a doughnut that the one that says TURN ON FAST STARTUP (RECOMMENDED) is checked, right?

o UNCHECK that sucker and now you will do a complete, full start each time and the task manager ‘counter’ will start off from the beginning each time too.

Got it? Give it a try guys…

– L –

Larry
July 10th, 2018

Oh, by the way Scott. I too am using Win 10 Version 1803 (OS Build 17134.112) and of course the solution is NOT in the Bios.

– L –

Scott Johnson
July 10th, 2018

Yes, that’s checked by default. What I recommend is restarting the computer every 1-2 days, which is not affected by the “fast startup” option being selected or deselected. A restart will reset the Task Manager “Up Time” counter either way.

Larry
July 10th, 2018

Yes Scott, I know that a ‘restart’ will do the trick, but if you turn your computer OFF (full shutdown) at the end of the day then the next morning is not a ‘restart’. Is a ‘startup’. You can’t ‘restart’ your computer every one or two days. You’re turning it off (powering down, as opposed to sleep or hibernate) and then RESTARTING from a powered off state at a later time. A ‘startup’ and ‘restart’ are different as far as the computer is concerned… I think we just have a semantics problem here.

Anyway, unchecking the ‘fast startup’ selection WILL fix the ‘uptime’ problem.

– L –

Scott Johnson
July 10th, 2018

Thanks Larry. I should probably do a Monday post about the “fast startup” option and what it is exactly. For me, I just do a restart every day or two, and that resets the counter and frees up the memory and all the other advantages of a fresh start.

Barbara Church-Bak
July 11th, 2018

I’m not questioning you but is this really important because when I shut off approx 9 pm last evening (settings, power, shutdown, unplug, all lights off and laptop closed) when I turned on few minutes ago up time said 27.00.37.22, should it not be all 0’s, actually shows 27.22.10.30. Previously used the sleep button but was having problems repair person said not to use it, & problem corrected itself, that was shortly after I went from desk top to lap top and was on a learning curve.Oh if it matters I use 8.1.

Scott Johnson
July 11th, 2018

Try the “Restart” option first, then shut it down. The restart will reset the up time timer.

LG
July 11th, 2018

Hi Scott, 28:15:30:18… That’s what mine says and I turned mine OFF, shut it down, just last night (?) I’ve done this twice since reading your article; it’s not resetting.

Scott Johnson
July 11th, 2018

Do a restart rather than shut down – that will reset the timer.

Barbara Church-Bak
July 12th, 2018

Tried the restart then shutdown last night worked great, Thank you.