How often should you reset your Genie DVR?

There’s this long-standing belief that if you want the best performance from a computer, you have to reset it every so often. It’s not far from the truth. With general-purpose PCs, it’s usually good to reboot them whenever they seem to be getting a little slow. Sometimes processes don’t quit right, or updates are queued up. Does this same advice apply to AT&T’s popular Genie DVRs? After all they’re really just computers at heart, right?

How a DVR is different from a computer

Genie DVRs are actually very similar to general purpose PCs. They do have different chips but they handle a lot of the same tasks. The difference is in the operating system. Genie DVRs run a specialized version of Linux that is stripped down to run on this sort of device. AT&T took out all the parts that really aren’t needed, in order to keep the whole thing running faster and smoother. A general purpose PC has thousands and thousands of different modules running at the same time in order to support all the things that are happening. A DVR only has the modules it needs to do the job it has.

The end result is that the DVR itself doesn’t get into some of the same problem situations as a regular PC.

Is there any benefit to rebooting a Genie DVR?

In general, there isn’t. In the early days it was common to ask people to reboot. It’s still the first thing you should try if the box isn’t behaving. However, things have gotten so stable that you rarely have to take any steps like this. It’s just not needed.

As a general rule, new software rolls out for these devices about once a quarter. This software improves performance and adds new features. You generally don’t notice it since it’s automatic and takes place when the device isn’t being used. When new software is installed, there is a reboot and that will also clear out any logs that need clearing.

If you are experiencing problems with guide data, especially if the guide is blank, rebooting twice in a row will clear out all the old data and start from scratch. I’ve found that I’ve had to do that about four times in the last five years.

Should you need to reboot the client?

I’ve found that the wireless clients especially do benefit from a reboot about once a month. That seems to keep them moving quickly. However that might not always be the case, as I believe AT&T’s engineers are working on a fix for that.

Genie clients are really really simple and there’s practically no software on them so there’s practically nothing to break. My wired clients only get rebooted when I move them or if there’s a power failure.

Is there any harm in rebooting?

Other than losing live TV while everything is coming back up, there’s no real harm in it. If it’s something you like doing or if you feel it’s helping, keep doing it. However, if you’re out of the habit, there’s no reason to start.


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.