Here's why progress bars on your computer don't load at a steady pace

Why is it that every time you will have a progress bar pop up on your computer, the factor by no means runs at a steady velocity? Why all of the little stops and begins?

That is the query YouTuber Tom Scott dives into for his newest video, which breaks down the numerous complexities of making a progress bar that really runs easily.

“An installer might need to obtain information from the web, then decompress these information, then save these information together with studying or deleting stuff that is already there, and perhaps make some modifications to the system settings as properly,” explains Scott. “Now in idea, a programmer may work out roughly how lengthy every of these processes will take after which bias the progress bar accordingly, however every a type of steps will take totally different quantities of time on totally different machines.”


Downloading, Scott explains, will fluctuate relying on web velocity, whereas decompression will likely be affected by the computer’s processor and saving/studying information by its disc velocity. Even working a progress bar primarily based on the MB of information which were transferred can go mistaken, he provides, as a result of copying plenty of small information can take longer than a few giant ones. 

And in case you issue all the above in, and attempt to work all of it out it so the bar runs easily?

“That might nonetheless go mistaken,” says Scott. “As a result of the velocity of your switch, or your obtain, or your sophisticated video render — all of these speeds may change at any time due to what the gadget is doing, or what the person’s doing.”

On the finish of the day, Scott argues, perhaps it would not matter all that a lot.

“I reckon progress bars must be simply a little bit jaggy, as a result of they replicate one thing that is actually occurring,” he concludes. “And moreover, an important job of a progress bar is to not give an actual, exact estimate of how lengthy’s left. It is nice if they’ll, however an important job is simply to reassure the person that sure, issues are occurring. Progress is being made.”

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