In the world of IT, old habits can die hard. Here’s a look at practices — like restarting a misbehaving computer, or downloading Adobe Acrobat to read PDFs — that used to be necessary, but no longer are (even though some people still cling to them).
Breaking old habits is challenging with any kind of technology.
For example, lots of people still change their cars’ oil every three months, even though that frequency is not necessary with most modern vehicles.
For another example, we still typically wire houses so that refrigerators are on their own circuits.
But modern fridges consume much less energy than their predecessors, making this practice overkill in most applications today.
You can find plenty of examples of similar outdated practices that still persist today in some corners of the IT world, including the following.
Restarting Your Computer
Back in the days of Windows 95, it felt like you were constantly restarting your computer.
Just applied an update? Restart.
Laggy performance? Restart.
Blue screen of death? Definitely restart.
Today, however, restarting your computer is no longer necessary in most situations.
Sure, if it freezes entirely, a hard reboot is usually the only fix. (On Linux, you should try the magic REISUB trick before doing a fully hard reboot.)
But most modern operating systems don’t freeze as frequently as they used to.
They can also usually install updates without requiring a reboot.
And if your computer is feeling slow, you’re better off trying to figure out which process or application is slowing it…