Keep calm and shut down
There are some who believe there’s nothing that can’t be fixed on your computer by shutting it down and starting over. That may be a stretch, but truly, the shutdown option has always been seen as a cure-all for technical difficulties. Is it really that simple, though? And can a restart create the same system magic?
The case for shutting down
Anh Trinh is the managing editor at Geek with Laptop, a site that helps readers gain knowledge around all kinds of tech subjects. She explains that shutting down a computer is a way to power down all processes of the machine. “It’s very similar to a restart but with the exception that your computer won’t turn back on again until someone powers it up,” she explains. “This is especially useful if you plan to leave your computer for a while.”
Shut down isn’t what it used to be
People with newer computers may experience a different kind of shutdown these days, according to ProPrivacy digital privacy expert Ray Walsh. “Although many people assume that a shutdown is a more comprehensive way to ensure that all processes are killed, the reality is that since Windows 8, this is a fallacy,” he says. “In older versions of Windows, both ‘shut down’ and ‘restart’ did exactly the same thing in terms of shutting down processes. However, since Windows 8, a new feature called Fast Startup has altered this considerably.”
How has that changed things, exactly? “Shutting down a Windows computer actually creates a deep hibernation file that the PC later leverages to allow for Fast Startup. A restart, on the other hand, completely kills all processes, clears the RAM, and clears the processor cache,” he explains. “This is why a restart is the preferred method when completing a new install or uninstall and why a computer restarts during Windows Operating System updates.”
And just so we’re clear, forcible shutdowns are a different story entirely.