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Linux® For Dummies®, 8th Edition by Richard Blum, Dee-Ann LeBlanc

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Don’t Just Turn Off the Machine!

Even when you’re not tapping the keyboard or clicking buttons, Linux runs along in the background, doing lots of housekeeping chores. Some of these chores may involve swapping cached data to and from the fixed disk — a geeky way of saying that it’s actually jotting down things onto your hard drive that before it had just been making sure to remember in RAM. When you shut off the power out of the blue, anything the computer was remembering but hadn’t written is lost (kind of like when you or I fall asleep before making a to-do list for the next day).

If you’re used to Windows 98, you need to recondition yourself: Don’t just shut off the power when you’re finished. For one thing, many Linux users leave their computers on when they’re not using them — they just log out of their accounts so no one can mess with their stuff — and (oh yeah) shut off the monitor because monitors draw a lot of power.

When you do decide to turn off your Linux machine, for whatever reason, you must shut down the computer in an orderly manner. You can use one of these methods to shut down Linux properly:

If you’re in the GUI, log out of your account by choosing SystemShut Down — and then click the dialog box option that says (strangely enough) Shut Down.
If you have a command prompt open, type the halt command at the shell prompt; when you press Enter, Linux shuts itself down ...

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