A while ago I wrote about how Windows still works just fine for me, and I wanted to follow up on that.
Today I was having some problems opening new windows – from any program. Being a programmer myself and knowing a thing or two about how Windows works on the inside, I suspected that some program had perhaps used up a bunch of “handles” and now there weren’t any more to create new windows with. Being in the middle of work, I didn’t really want to spend time debugging the problem (who does?) but I’d had a lot of big programs open lately – it wasn’t unreasonable to think that one of them had some sort of memory leak.
For many people in this same situation, they would reboot their computer to “fix” the problem. But I don’t like doing that – for one thing, it takes a while to reboot!
Also, I’m sort of proud of my “uptime.” (You can find programs all over the place that will tell you how long your system has been up & running for since it’s last reboot – this time is often known as “uptime.”) As of right now, my uptime is 11 days 23 hours and 20 minutes. Sure, it’s not the months (or years) of uptime that a Linux box might have… but it’s not bad! (For Windows!)
So, I didn’t want to reboot, but I needed to free the handles (or memory or whatever had leaked) from whatever program had been “bad.” What to do? Just log off!
A lot of people forget that logging off does a lot of the same good as a reboot. Unless you suspect your problem is in your system’s kernel resources (or in an always-on system service or something), a log off is often all you need to do to get things working smoothly again. (Note that this won’t work if you’ve just done an installation of a new program and it requires a reboot – that sort of thing really does require a full reboot to replace in-use files.)
I did that myself, and sure enough – some system resources were freed up. So maybe later I’ll get around to tracking down what program leaked them – but for now, I’m just happy to be running smoothly.
So, a tip for the impatient – instead of rebooting, try just logging off and logging back on to Windows. It might do the trick for you!
Power button image courtesy of the Crystal Icon Set.