Why Progress Bars Don't Move Smoothly ▓▓▓░░░░░░

4 minutes remaining. Then 15 seconds. Then 5 hours. Why can't computers just tell you how long something's going to take? • MORE BASICS: fistart.info/will/PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha
Written with Sean Elliott SeanMElliott/ • Graphics by William Marler wmad.co.uk
I'm at tomscott.com
on Twitter at tomscott
on Facebook at tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo




  • I'm having to film back in the Tiny Room against green-screen again, as lockdown means the Centre for Computing History is closed! Hopefully they'll be open again soon, although that depends on a very different kind of progress...

    Tom ScottTom ScottUukausi sitten
    • ▓▓▓░░░░░░

      CuliynlCuliynl14 päivää sitten
    • why do you private your videos before you upload them

      RanMind YTRanMind YT14 päivää sitten
    • How did you put in the time estimate of this video in the script as you were recoring? I slowed down the video speed to .25 but can't see where you may have stitched two takes together.

      Michael ConroyMichael Conroy20 päivää sitten
    • ...

      NoobKingNoobKing23 päivää sitten
    • Why does my phone tell me that this comment was posted before the video was?

      PrxjectMemePrxjectMeme25 päivää sitten
  • The only accurate progress bar is the 3DS one And no, not the blue one The one when your digitally downloading a game off of the eShop

    Reese606Reese606Päivä sitten
  • 100% ... Restarting... 30% .... ... .. 58% ............... 79% ................ 100% .................................................................... Aaaaand it crashed

    Ask MasterAsk MasterPäivä sitten
  • Steam

    Adam CogleyAdam CogleyPäivä sitten
  • you should create a program that changes the line on the video

    gunship sequel budyboygunship sequel budyboyPäivä sitten
  • Putting my finger over the progress bar to see if its moving

    YaBoy •YaBoy •Päivä sitten
  • Steam installing a game be like: 1 minute left -- 2 hours left -- 5 days left -- 6 minutes left

    Vex989Vex989Päivä sitten
  • Are you reporting from 1998?

    agustinbsagustinbs3 päivää sitten
  • Tom Scott : Why Progress Bars Don't Move Smoothly Me : Wondering why the progress bar on the title doesn't move

    DG SecretDG Secret3 päivää sitten

    PetoPeto3 päivää sitten
  • "Why can't computers just tell me how long something is going to take?" Because progress bars don't show you time... they show (suprise!) progress.

    KoGaKoGa3 päivää sitten
  • Shout out to those 99 years that I was told it was gonna take for my game to open when I was 8.

    Rory MRory M4 päivää sitten
  • This is why I leave and do something else when I’m downloading something. If it takes 5 minutes or 2 hours I’ll have something nice to come back to once I remember

    P ChurchP Church4 päivää sitten
  • who needs a progress bar when u have a gaming fridge that can download anything almost instantaneously

    GigaGameGigaGame4 päivää sitten
  • Why this guy is soo much underrated

    YY YELLOWYY YELLOW4 päivää sitten
  • Good old Microsoft Minutes

    karehaqtkarehaqt4 päivää sitten
  • How was the halting problem not mentioned in this video?

    DeconimusDeconimus5 päivää sitten
  • Loved the Sopranos kinda ending.

    KysterPSYKysterPSY5 päivää sitten
  • My loading bar just goes backwards

    Pat SmashPat Smash5 päivää sitten
  • looking at you STEAM

    ChaneChane7 päivää sitten

    A SkellingtonA Skellington8 päivää sitten
  • Someone tell computer making people to put this when turning on a computer after shutting it down

    YajihbaYajihba8 päivää sitten
  • Solution: Have individual progress bars for each step. Step 1/4: 10% Step 1/4: 20% ... Step 1/4: 100% Step 2/4: 10% Step 2/4: 20% ... Step 4/4: 90% Step 4/4: Done!

    LordloucksterLordlouckster8 päivää sitten
  • The one thing I wish I could do when it came to downloading something is allocate as much resources to downloading as possible. I love that you can still Watch Netflix, have a conference call, and edit a video in Adobe After affects, while downloading somthing, but sometimes I just want to download something, walk away and have the computer just worry about downloading or moving the file.

    Hasan AHasan A9 päivää sitten
  • This is the corollary to Windows 10 offering to kill any app that takes more than 15 seconds to do something - apparently Windows isn’t seeing a progress bar😅

    SidewaysSideways9 päivää sitten
  • Bar: 1% to 99% : 20 minutes Bar: 99% to 100% : *10 hours*

    EeeeEeee9 päivää sitten
  • I agree, as long as the progress bar is moving (and not backwards!), I know something is happening!

    Viktória VadonViktória Vadon9 päivää sitten
  • 3:42 Looking at you, Windows 10

    Frog 4096Frog 409610 päivää sitten
  • /////// / / / / / / / / / / / / / 10more years ///////// / / / / / / / / / / / 30more seconds

    Samson KinyanjuiSamson Kinyanjui10 päivää sitten
  • Content

    Riley CarpenterRiley Carpenter11 päivää sitten
  • That's also why many programmers have gone the other way and just show "progress indicator" instead of progress bars. Like the spinning wheel on Windows. It just shows that the PC didn't freeze and is still working, but you don't have any indication on how long it's going to take. Also if "time" isn't a parameter itself then the progress bar can never be give you a proper "remaining time". A countdown is always accurate because the time itself is the parameter that makes it work. Filetransfer ist based on the files and not on the time, so it will finish when it is finished, not when a certain amount of seconds have passed (like the queue in the supermarket. Fewer people doesn't mean the line is faster. There are just fewer people in front of you.).

    mozl83mozl8311 päivää sitten
  • Minecraft’s progress bar be like: And I took that personally

    Cameron FigginsCameron Figgins11 päivää sitten
  • Loading time estimates be like: 20 minutes 4 seconds 45 minutes 5 minutes 999999 hours

    Zari HanssenZari Hanssen11 päivää sitten
  • Personally I like loading screens that tell you what exactly they're doing, like most source and goldsource engine games. "Validating game resources." "Sending client info." That kind of thing.

    Butter of SorrowButter of Sorrow11 päivää sitten
  • 100% done = 90% done *Adobe Premiere users* will understand 😂

    French Comprehensible InputFrench Comprehensible Input12 päivää sitten
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    Helio GonzalezHelio Gonzalez12 päivää sitten
  • 4:48 smh now you'll have to record everything from the start rippppp

    Silksong DateSilksong Date12 päivää sitten
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    SoftBunnyCreations VibingSoftBunnyCreations Vibing13 päivää sitten
  • my monitor froze during a download once, so i thought it took 4 hours to get a 20mb download done.

    pencilchatpencilchat13 päivää sitten
  • ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░ 94%

    ZoltanZoltan13 päivää sitten
  • Imagine the progress bar in the title is how long Tom Scott's life is

    Eugene LoEugene Lo13 päivää sitten
  • is this the guy who says “xnyopit”

    CypressCypress13 päivää sitten
  • Is it just me or was the audio an video out of sync (I'm assuming deliberately)? If so nice choice.

    fossar _fossar _13 päivää sitten
  • I think the best loading screens are when there are actually two (think winrar) one for the whole process and the other for individual processes. From there you can see that it is actually doing something.

    Tomáš LiptákTomáš Lipták13 päivää sitten
  • Pov: you kept checking your scroll bar through out the video

    youtubeusernameyoutubeusername13 päivää sitten
  • Me when I tilt my phone facing down and the progress bars start moving again.

    The cheeseThe cheese13 päivää sitten
  • The absent water posteriorly impress because lion constitutively polish worth a hapless priest. determined, rotten kite

    Pawit NinnabodeePawit Ninnabodee14 päivää sitten
  • What is the 1% that’s taking so long to load

    RanMind YTRanMind YT14 päivää sitten
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    wozerDwozerD14 päivää sitten
  • You look young and old at the same time. That's a real mistyr to me, you should make a video about it!

    Leo TellesLeo Telles14 päivää sitten
  • The worst thing is when it goes to 99% immediately and then stays there for what feels like a millennium. Thank you for explaining this in your usual awesome way!

    AK NephtaliAK Nephtali14 päivää sitten
  • A thing the program could do to resolve, or at least find a more smooth load, is by logging the time, taking the estimated time that it took, and telling you that number. If it was a game, it could show how long it had taken the last 10 times, (assuming you would've loaded it that many times), and let's say a file upload, it could track how long it would take for 100 files, and estimate the amount of time, that this would take because its 10x times larger, or half the size = it would be 10 times longer or ½ times faster.

    SYSSYS14 päivää sitten
  • ▓▓▓░░░░░░

    BlurryPirateBlurryPirate14 päivää sitten
  • Dropbox "Time Remaining" when uploading a video is a complete work of fiction.

    Phill WainewrightPhill Wainewright14 päivää sitten
  • Intro music from the Chase?

    Stipe PoljakStipe Poljak14 päivää sitten
  • Steam update estimation times. 3 minutes, 7 minutes, 18 minutes, 2 hours, 17 hours... 12 seconds.

    HowDeeDooHowDeeDoo15 päivää sitten
  • I cant be the only one that was annoyed that the two progress bars didn't match perfectly 😁

    whadupwhadup15 päivää sitten
  • coomrag

    KebboKebbo15 päivää sitten
  • The gaudy grip monthly hand because relish spectacularly apologise through a private cost. watery, pricey continent

    John SouthfieldJohn Southfield15 päivää sitten
  • Progress screens can lock up and fool you to wait forever but ultimately you have to reset the computer..

    Lambor_ghiniLambor_ghini15 päivää sitten
  • The video progress bar is half a second off

    Bubba GamesBubba Games15 päivää sitten
  • Loading Comment ■■■■□□□□

    HaydenexHaydenex15 päivää sitten
  • I have four letters for you: RTOS. A Real Time Operating System (RTOS) provides hard or soft guarantees of how long a program will take, in instruction cycles. Sometimes this is critically important, for instance if the machine is doing quantitative chemistry and it needs to error out if the reaction time wasn't very close to 90 seconds. It's fun stuff.

    Zak FallowsZak Fallows15 päivää sitten
  • why a linguistic knows computing, that aint fair

    Cristian MartinezCristian Martinez16 päivää sitten
  • Who else checked that the video progress bar was in sync?

    Paul PotterPaul Potter16 päivää sitten
  • What I'd like to know is, how is it possible that progress bars always show, even if for a split second, 100%. Surely, if that were truth, the next thing would pop up instead.

    jeremiaas15jeremiaas1516 päivää sitten
  • I love it when a simple download says "2 years remaining" or "∞ time remaining".

    LRCLRC16 päivää sitten
  • Are you anyway realated to Linus Torvalds?

    AsrithTechsysAsrithTechsys16 päivää sitten
  • Who else leave cursor at the edge of the progress bar to see if its actually moving?

    TROVENTROVEN16 päivää sitten
  • The ugliest geranium invariably retire because client fortuitously muddle round a unbecoming hyena. oceanic, assorted oxygen

    Sara OlmsteadSara Olmstead16 päivää sitten
  • Always, stuck at the dreaded 99% or 100% more so than the previous 98% or 99% combined.

    Thaer RazeqThaer Razeq16 päivää sitten
  • Large cache SSD and a modern high core CPU like Ryzen 9 or 10+ core i9. RIP, progress bar existence

    Craig SmithCraig Smith16 päivää sitten
  • When they do move smoothly It is the most satisfying thing in this world.

    Abhinav DevAbhinav Dev17 päivää sitten
  • This is a repost?

    Simon TSimon T17 päivää sitten
  • 3:42 Too real Tom..

    SnowjixSnowjix17 päivää sitten
  • I didn't need to know this

    HP GummyHP Gummy17 päivää sitten
  • Do one on browser compilers and header data

    Ariel ZabihiAriel Zabihi17 päivää sitten
  • Excellent! Thank you.

    DoubleDS9DoubleDS917 päivää sitten
  • I can understand why they change but the lock at 99.9 percent complete is annoying

    Cj SlimeCj Slime17 päivää sitten
  • The big decade virtually reject because polish fortunately bounce around a onerous sycamore. rampant, defeated sunday

    Phung Ngoc QuynhPhung Ngoc Quynh17 päivää sitten
  • *Good ol' floppy drives "3%.... 4%.... 98% DONE"*

    Shakhzod MukhammadievShakhzod Mukhammadiev17 päivää sitten
  • The dramatic mother undeniably scare because coat wailly prepare in a second owner. sincere, elegant police

    Candy VargasCandy Vargas17 päivää sitten
    • Am I supposed to know what this means?

      Dino HallDino Hall15 päivää sitten
  • Maybe Windows just decides to restart itself in order to install an update that I don't care about, and would actually rather I didn't have to have.

    Hayato TenryuuHayato Tenryuu18 päivää sitten
  • Beware the perfectly smooth progress bar, got it. Great advice, thanks, i had no idea about any of this!

    Brando CalrisianBrando Calrisian18 päivää sitten
  • 1:49

    Bedrock YamsBedrock Yams18 päivää sitten
  • ▓▓▓░░░░░░

    HarD To GrindHarD To Grind18 päivää sitten
  • Thanks.

    Free WolfFree Wolf18 päivää sitten
  • The moaning titanium resultantly fax because verdict only push between a loving bonsai. flippant, tired promotion

    Evan OukEvan Ouk18 päivää sitten
  • The tired family postnatally crash because cartoon rahilly wail except a testy bail. dreary, truthful railway

    Edmund WisellEdmund Wisell18 päivää sitten
  • The sordid backbone conceptually listen because airplane intuitively tug to a eatable bolt. empty, humdrum octopus

    Juan HernandezJuan Hernandez18 päivää sitten
  • Don't trust progress bar. I installed android x86 and the progress bar goes down to 80% from 98%.

    NERVNERV18 päivää sitten
  • League of Legends joined the chat for 87 %

    It's MeIt's Me19 päivää sitten
  • It's my trash wifi.

    RobloRoblo19 päivää sitten
  • One way to look at this issue is as follows: What do you want the computer to spend it's time resources doing? 1) Analyzing all aspects of the task and the current conditions which could provide a very accurate time estimate. 2) Concentrate on moving the data or crunching it with time calculations done on available wait times. It's often the case where an accurate completion time estimate would take longer than just doing the requested task.

    Andy DelleAndy Delle19 päivää sitten
  • The silky spain thankfully release because mask consequently invite out a talented inventory. overconfident, tall lunge

    Charlotte HalCharlotte Hal19 päivää sitten
  • No offense, but you look like you are 16, 32 and 80 at the same time...

    Illuminati PlayzIlluminati Playz19 päivää sitten
  • ▓▓▓░░░░░░

    Abhay _/Abhay _/19 päivää sitten
  • ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ There. thank me later.

    OceanOcean19 päivää sitten
  • The ONLY EVER ACCURATE Progress Bar I have EVER SEEN was the time I hacked my 3ds (godmode9)

    PulsarXZPulsarXZ19 päivää sitten
  • So You Tell Me That There Is Not Such Thing As Smooth Operator ?

    KrisRapsKrisRaps19 päivää sitten