How long has your system been up and running?

It’s sometimes useful to know how long Windows has been running. With most Windows versions, including XP and Vista, you can find out when the system was most recently started by opening a command prompt window (Cmd.exe) and entering this command:


You’ll get a screen full of information about your computer (model number, CPU, memory, and so on) and your current Windows installation, including which version you’re running and when it was originally installed.

In the opening block, on a system running Windows XP, you’ll see System Up Time, measured in days, hours, minutes, and seconds, as shown here:


On Windows Vista, this block of information includes the System Boot Time (the date and time when the system was last started), but the System Up Time value is not shown here. Instead, you need to go to the Performance Tab of Task Manager and look in the statistics block at the bottom right corner:


In the case of Windows Vista, the measurement of up time does not include any time when the system was sleeping or hibernating.

13 thoughts on “How long has your system been up and running?

  1. Ed, glad I saw this article after reading one of yours’ from a year and a half ago ( discussing Windows Vista speed.

    You basically spend an article post (and subsequent responses in the comments) defending Vista, and then seem to basically tell anybody that has Vista slow-downs or half a gig of RAM useage sitting at the desktop doing nothing that they’re “crazy” and that you have an identical computer with no issues relative to the ones they post about… then proceed to lock the article from comments after I think fifty-eight responses, seemingly getting tired of having to defend Microsoft’s latest OS.

    Then I see a screenshot you have where a particular system you had is using FOUR GIGS of RAM (which is disgusting, fyi) with an additional eight gigs of pagefile assigned to the OS installation… and Windows Vista doesn’t use a lot of RAM?

    Clearly you’re running something, god knows what, to suck up so much memory, but let me give a better example against your past arguments: right now, my Vista installation is eating up 789MB of RAM sitting here, running nothing but Norton 2009 and Internet Explorer, and that RAM useage is AFTER you take out IE and Norton.

    Even more disturbingly, of my 3GB of RAM (the maximum for this laptop), over 2GB of it (the amount NOT being used) is “Cached”. Cached to what, Christ knows. I know XP Professional SP2 (or SP3 for that matter) never did that.

    Oh, and my up-time is less than two hours (I just restarted the system because the random fluctuation in CPU and RAM useage made this thing so damned slow that the only way, seemingly, to fix it was to restart), my RAM 3GB of DDR2-800 on an AxthlonX2 1.9Ghz Dual Core with a GeForce 8200m with 256MB of dedicated VRAM, all on a brand new (less than two weeks old) laptop that has had every piece of bloatware that came with it uninstalled, then defragged, and with services such as Indexing and System Restore turned off. Yet, I might point out, that does not stop SearchIndexer.exe from running.

    Oh, and did I mention the weird CPU usage including a lot of usage that isn’t monitored? It says anywhere from 6% (rarely) to 12-27% (right now, doesn’t seem to be able to make up it’s mind, there, as I type this is spikes to 42%, god knows why)… 7% now 20% 10%, you get the picture. Oh, and did I mention that it seems to use 40-50%+ CPU power (between BOTH cores) UNTIL you Ctrl+Alt+Delete (or, I guess in Vista, Ctrl+Shift+Esc), where it quickly drops down to the random range of 5-25%. And again, this is running nothing, no Norton scans, no games, no Windows Media Player, nothing but Norton 2009 active virus protection and a few tabs in Internet Explorer 7.

    This is after turning off, again, things such as SearchIndexer and pretty effects.

    So yeah, just to sum up, to find somebody saying that, because my laptop has 3GB of RAM, it should ALL BE USED ALL THE TIME is quite ridiculous. And don’t tell me Windows was allocating 50% of my dual core processor to type 120WPM in a chat bar in Internet Explorer 7 to write this, because that notion is ridiculous as well.

  2. Matt, can I recommend some blood pressure meds? Chill, dude.

    Comments on this site get closed automatically after a set period of time. I don’t close them because of some nefarious reason.

    And the system you see here has 6GB of RAM installed in it. It is running multiple virtual machines. It has probably 75 IE tabs open. It still has 2GB of free RAM. I want all that memory to be used. If you don’t use it, why have it?

    Meanwhile, I’m typing this reply on a Sony notebook with 2GB of RAM, with 55% of it in use. I almost never use all the RAM in either system.

  3. BTW, Matt, you say I “basically tell anybody that has Vista slow-downs or half a gig of RAM useage sitting at the desktop doing nothing that they’re “crazy” and that you have an identical computer with no issues relative to the ones they post about.”

    Here’s what I wrote in comment 19:

    “I’m not minimizing other people’s experiences, Richard. I’m trying to understand them. In my experience, which involves communicating with hundreds of beta testers and people using the RTM product, I have found that experiences like yours are the distinct minority, but they are real. I suspect there’s a simple explanation for your experience, and I wish I knew what it was.”

    I just read through the comments and my replies, and I don’t see anything that justifies your characterization.

  4. I do beleive the point people have been trying to make about Vista is that it seems to often times take control of a person’s system, regardless of whether or not they want it to do so. If I wanted less control over my system itself, I’d go buy a Mac, or put Mac OS X on my laptop.

    I don’t see the need for Vista to Cache (or “Pre-fetch, for the searches I never run) 2GB+ of RAM. I either run a distinct application (Media Player, Bit Torrent, a game) or maybe a few Internet Explorer tabs… with the exception of some of the games I play, nothing I do encompasses 2GB of RAM, yet Vista feels the need to find 2GB+ worth of crap to FILL a pre-defined and non-customizable cache, because even though my usage is fairly random and erratic, 2GB of random stuff may some day help me.

    Oh, and you can’t turn it off, or even customize WHAT is cached. That’s pretty bad. And this is all with Prefetch off, fyi, however I did double-check it after typing my initial post, only to find it had re-enabled one of the directories I had removed during initial system customization… curious.

    Other than a few incompatabilities with software, I don’t mind Vista. I do have to run it in “look like eight year old Windows 2000 mode” in order for it NOT to suck up a variety of random system resources, including but not limited to 100+MB of RAM and graphics power on a stupid system theme, and I’m convinced the reason I haven’t run into any driver incompatabilities is perhaps because laptops have a very limited scope of what drivers you CAN have.

    However after seeing more and more lately the ridiculous about of RAM Vista uses, I’m considering going and pirating an ISO of XP (since I sold the XP Home license I had with my previous laptop) and putting that on here, if only to actually be able to use the low amount of power my GeForce 8200 puts out.

    I dislike Vista so much (after initially liking it… until I tried to DO stuff) that I’d go and commit a sizeable crime just to escape it – that should tell Microsoft something.

    Also, I’d probably rather die than even attempt to run Vista on anything less than a Dual Core of some sort and 2GB+ RAM. 800-900MB doing nothing, sitting at desktop, please.

  5. For an alternate viewpoint, I’m running Vista Home Premium SP1 on a mid-1997 vintage laptop with a 2.2 Ghz solo core AMD CPU, 2 GB RAM, and a cheapo Nvidia Ge Force GO 6100 graphics card (set to use 64 MB of “shared” RAM). I use it for my work every day — running multiple Office apps, charting software, multiple browsers with tons of tabs open…all at the same time. It runs just fine for me. I even have the full Aero experience running and it seems just as fast as Win XP did when I had it on this laptop.

    Now, when I first got the laptop with Vista RTM installed, I had all sorts of problems — and regular BSODs. So much so that I wiped the HDD and installed XP. When Vista SP1 came out, however, I gave it a try and haven’t looked back. They’ve obviously fixed whatever was giving me problems before.

    Oh, and, who cares how much RAM an idle system uses?

  6. Reading the Osterman article recently posted on this site gives me some hope for Windows 7 – perhaps Vista will be skipped over like Windows ME was.

    XP is still selling strong, though I know some vendors who are concerned that the supplies might run out at some point – it seems that the deadline has been unofficially pushed back again, though I haven’t been paying attention as much, so maybe I missed the announcement.

    As far as uptime goes, unfortunately, I just rebooted my machines to upgrade the OS, as the uptime was two to three hundred days for all of them. And if I remember correctly, the only reason they were that small was due to a major power outage last year.

  7. Jon, what OS is that? On two Linux machines here, I have been forced to reboot at least twice in the past three months because of kernel updates. If you ignore updates, you could stay up and running forever, I suppose. My Windows Server 2008 box is currently at 39 days of uptime and would presumably run forever if I chose not to install some updates that are waiting for it. This box is never used interactively and isn’t accessible from the outside world, so I might do just that to see how long I could go on. I’m sure I could extend it to hundreds of days. Not sure what that would prove, though.

  8. My windows machines have to reboot almost every second tuesday of the month. I am not sure how you get around that – I have even added the registry hacks to make the annoying “reboot now” or “later” go away, but something must be turning it back on, because my laptop has been complaining again – and I often accidentally click on the “reboot now” button when I am typing something and the window pops to the foreground and I hit “enter” or whatever key is the shortcut to it.

    The machines I am referring to are Linux – I am running a 2.6.26 kernel at the moment (having just rebooted recently, so got the upgrade to the latest. I never reboot the machines unless I am sitting in front of it, on the off-chance that a kernel upgrade breaks something – it never has, but as I am running a web hosting company, I am not interested in having any downtime. The reason why I rebooted the machines was due to a kernel bug on one of my servers, some hardware specific issue – and I rebooted all the rest of the servers while I was there. So – I do need to reboot sometimes, just nowhere near as often as with Windows. Windows has come a long way since the days of 3.1 and 95 that ran a lot better if you rebooted every day, but I think it is pretty hard to find windows uptimes to be anywhere near any of the linuxes/unixes. When I worked at a mostly Windows-only place, the servers (2000 and XP) had updates requiring updates probably two to three months, and since most of the updates had to do with remote attacks, I don’t think there is a choice but to apply them.

    I check the changelogs for the kernel updates, and I am on various security mailing lists, so immediately upgrade if there is something critical for me.

    I have the advantage of being a small company, so I don’t need to worry too much about the local exploits, only remote exploits.

    I upgrade the applications and server apps once or twice a week, and drivers as they are released, but on Linux, that doesn’t ever require a reboot. I suppose if there were a filesystem driver updated or something like that, I would have to reboot, but I don’t remember any security releases for drives like that.

    If Windows didn’t force a reboot on almost every update, I would be happier with it – and I think you have said that Vista doesn’t require as many reboots as XP, so that is a good thing – not enough of a reason to make me upgrade though.

    I am hopeful for Windows 7 – Microsoft must have gotten enough of bad press about Vista that 7 will be released.

  9. Internet Explorer 7 has the tendacy to use ridiculous amounts of RAM, even with low uptime/small or no tab useage, I have over two GB of RAM free, however Windows feels the need to Cache it with random crap – god knows why, I don’t USE 2GB of data on a regular basis, even if you compile ALL that I do, soo who knows what’s put in there. Windows itself with few or no programs running typically sucks up between 1 and 1.5GB, which I find depressing as the owner of 3GB of RAM, and performance in resource-intensive programs (such as games) is not nearly as good as it is in XP. And that’s with SP1 and every update available – it’s a brand-new laptop.

  10. Matt, you’re beginning to sound like a troll.

    I have a desktop system with Vista Ultimate, running with 3GB of RAM. It uses roughly 550MB of RAM under normal circumstances. I can reproduce that on multiple systems.

    Go and learn something about the hardware you’re using.

Comments are closed.