Windows uptime figures

Updated: March 15, 2013

This is not an article about how to measure the Windows uptime since reboot in seven different ways. We already had a tutorial on that subject before. What this article is all about is demonstrating the simple fact Windows can achieve reasonably high uptime figures without intermittent reboots if managed properly.

Please note this is not a competition. Not meant to be used as a metric against enterprise servers in the industry. This little page will show that when you take good care of your box and do not load it with crap, like useless security software, you can achieve awesome results without any performance degradation in the long term. And we will also briefly discuss the Windows memory management mechanism.

Let us begin with history

In the age of Windows XP, many people would point out how Windows could not stay alive for a more than a few days without undergoing a reboot. The truth is, it really depends on you setup. For instance, even on a machine approaching six years of age at the time the screenshot was taken, one of my now-retired XP specimens achieved a very reasonable 41 days of uptime, and all that without just being idle and not used for anything. It was most aptly rebooted at the 42 day mark. Get it?

XP uptime, 41 days

And what happens now

A few days ago, I had to reboot one of my Windows 7 desktops. Well, not really reboot. But I did decide that it should be patched, which meant rebooting eventually. Now, this is a proper 64-bit machine, with 16GB RAM and whatnot. It's used quite frequently for all kinds of fun tasks, 3D drawing and rendering, browsing, gaming, you name it.

Windows 7 uptime

The Up Time field in the task manager shows 77 days of uninterrupted service, which is quite nice, meaning also the electricity grid behaved nicely in that time, at least long enough not to offline the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). The machine was rebooted at the 81 day mark.

One thing that stands out is the memory consumption. Over time, I noticed a growing usage of the physical memory, climbing until it steadied at around 14.6GB mark. You may assume there's a memory leak, but no. It's just Windows caching more and more of its stuff, like open file handles, because it has space to do so. Somewhat akin to what you observe in Linux. While free memory may appear to be lacking, it hides in cache and buffers, and will be made available when needed. Same logic here overall. Nice.


There you go. This article has no higher purpose, but it does have a purpose. It shows you that good system behavior can yield results. And that means not using inferior security products that weigh down the machine, using UPS to protect your machine from power spikes and brief outages, keeping it steady and stable and smart and efficient.

Now, for the sake of curiosity, do you have any numbers you can share? Do you have uptime figures, taken at your home, not your workplace, that you might be willing to flaunt. If so, I am willing to hear. Anyhow, take care, and be nice to your machines, and in return, they will serve you faithfully and run for a long time without hiccups and problems.


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