When you consider about turning something off, it is just as simple as pressing switch. You can just flick the switch, rotate the key for vehicles, but for some reason turning off your computer is a complicated ordeal.
I mean it is not complicated to Go to Start > Shut Down or just tap the button on your chassis, but instead of turning off instantly, your PC goes through some kind of rigmarole, which last for kind of one or two minutes before it finally powers down.
Wait, hold on a second, why can’t I just hold the power button for 5 seconds or flick the switch of power supply and turn it off immediately?
Well, it turns out that there is a method to the madness. You see, when you click “Shut Down” button, your computer goes through the series of steps, there are primarily designed to protect your data.
Killing power directly, while you have unsaved work on your screen means those are lost for good. Even though, some of the software features auto save facility, but believe me they are far from being perfect.
So, one of the delays you might encounter, is the PC prompting you to save anything you might have open. Like your word document or an Image that you are editing. But there are also less evident things, going on in the background.
Chief among these, is that your operating system sends signals to running programs and services that it is time to power down. So, it tells to those programs to wrap up what they are doing, kind of like a parent trying to get their hyperactive kid to lie down for the evening.
This is important, because these programs and services are may be in middle of writing data to your disk. And this could be anything from a program update to a file download to a registry key being modified.
So, there is a common theme here then, you run the very real risk of the data corruption if you just power off your computer without any warning. It is a little bit like yanking a cake out of the oven before checking if it is done.
Just like that cake might not be anything that you want too eat, the half written data might not be anything your computer can use.
Because of the way some computer drives and file system works, you might not only corrupt whatever data was being written at the time of power down, you might also damage other files that are in a cache or in nearby physical location on your device.
Fortunately, The file system used by modern systems called NTFS has a feature called journaling. Essentially, that means it keeps a log of data changes to reduce the risk of data corruption.
However, problems still can occurs if you don’t shut your computer properly, hence the disk check messages, that you sometime gets after a power outage or similar.
This brings us to
System updates, that seems to take an eternity when you just need to wrap up some work and go to sleep. Well, there is a reason that your screen explicitly tells you to, not power it off.
During a typical Power-loss, you might loose little bit of your unsaved work, but turning off your PC during an Update, can result in problem that will prevent the system from even booting back up.
It can corrupt data, such as half written registry files or system files.So, I would even suggest to plug in your PC into UPS, or making sure that your Laptop is with fully charged battery during an update is not a bad Idea.
Basically, the moral of the story is that unless your computer is hopelessly frozen, and you have no choice but to completely kill the power, make sure you shut down your system properly. It may take a little more time, but trust me it is lot easier having to reinstall the Windows or recovering the Game progress you dumped days into.
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