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: fitop.info/goon/PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha.html
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


  1. Tom Scott

    Tom Scott

    Uukausi sitten

    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...

    • Culiynl


      15 päivää sitten


    • RanMind YT

      RanMind YT

      15 päivää sitten

      why do you private your videos before you upload them

    • Michael Conroy

      Michael Conroy

      21 päivä 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.

    • NoobKing


      25 päivää sitten


    • PrxjectMeme


      27 päivää sitten

      Why does my phone tell me that this comment was posted before the video was?

  2. Thot Slayer 420

    Thot Slayer 420

    12 tuntia sitten

    what about a 2D progress block, width for data (so maybe mb or gb) and height for file count, never seen one, just thought of it

  3. kalle anka

    kalle anka

    Päivä sitten

    Best solution would be to put a title to every segemt of the progress bar. Anyone who watches porn on the hub will have found this out. If you dont care about foreplay you know exactly on te second to skip to, to skip that part. So for a progress bar for a install. Just title the segement so that we know what part the computer is working on and we know what we might think of upgrading

  4. RamennBowls


    Päivä sitten

    "The most important job is to reassure that yes, things are happening, progress it being made" That moment when the progress bar is stuck at 99% for about 28 minutes...

  5. Reese606


    2 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

  6. Ask Master

    Ask Master

    2 päivää sitten

    100% ... Restarting... 30% .... ... .. 58% ............... 79% ................ 100% .................................................................... Aaaaand it crashed

  7. Adam Cogley

    Adam Cogley

    2 päivää sitten


  8. gunship sequel budyboy

    gunship sequel budyboy

    2 päivää sitten

    you should create a program that changes the line on the video

  9. YaBoy •

    YaBoy •

    2 päivää sitten

    Putting my finger over the progress bar to see if its moving

  10. Vex989


    3 päivää sitten

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

  11. agustinbs


    4 päivää sitten

    Are you reporting from 1998?

  12. DG Secret

    DG Secret

    4 päivää sitten

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

  13. Peto


    4 päivää sitten


  14. KoGa


    5 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.

  15. Rory M

    Rory M

    5 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.

  16. P Church

    P Church

    5 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

  17. GigaGame


    5 päivää sitten

    who needs a progress bar when u have a gaming fridge that can download anything almost instantaneously



    5 päivää sitten

    Why this guy is soo much underrated

  19. karehaqt


    6 päivää sitten

    Good old Microsoft Minutes

  20. Deconimus


    6 päivää sitten

    How was the halting problem not mentioned in this video?

  21. KysterPSY


    6 päivää sitten

    Loved the Sopranos kinda ending.

  22. Pat Smash

    Pat Smash

    7 päivää sitten

    My loading bar just goes backwards

  23. Chane


    9 päivää sitten

    looking at you STEAM

  24. A Skellington

    A Skellington

    9 päivää sitten


  25. Yajihba


    9 päivää sitten

    Someone tell computer making people to put this when turning on a computer after shutting it down

  26. Lordlouckster


    10 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!

  27. Hasan A

    Hasan A

    10 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.

  28. Sideways


    10 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😅

  29. Eeee


    10 päivää sitten

    Bar: 1% to 99% : 20 minutes Bar: 99% to 100% : *10 hours*

  30. Viktória Vadon

    Viktória Vadon

    11 päivää sitten

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

  31. Frog 4096

    Frog 4096

    11 päivää sitten

    3:42 Looking at you, Windows 10

  32. Samson Kinyanjui

    Samson Kinyanjui

    11 päivää sitten

    /////// / / / / / / / / / / / / / 10more years ///////// / / / / / / / / / / / 30more seconds

  33. Riley Carpenter

    Riley Carpenter

    12 päivää sitten


  34. mozl83


    12 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.).

  35. Cameron Figgins

    Cameron Figgins

    12 päivää sitten

    Minecraft’s progress bar be like: And I took that personally

  36. Zari Hanssen

    Zari Hanssen

    12 päivää sitten

    Loading time estimates be like: 20 minutes 4 seconds 45 minutes 5 minutes 999999 hours

  37. Butter of Sorrow

    Butter of Sorrow

    13 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.

  38. French Comprehensible Input

    French Comprehensible Input

    13 päivää sitten

    100% done = 90% done *Adobe Premiere users* will understand 😂

  39. Helio Gonzalez

    Helio Gonzalez

    13 päivää sitten


  40. Silksong Date

    Silksong Date

    13 päivää sitten

    4:48 smh now you'll have to record everything from the start rippppp

  41. SoftBunnyCreations Vibing

    SoftBunnyCreations Vibing

    14 päivää sitten


  42. pencilchat


    14 päivää sitten

    my monitor froze during a download once, so i thought it took 4 hours to get a 20mb download done.

  43. Zoltan


    14 päivää sitten

    ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░ 94%

  44. Eugene Lo

    Eugene Lo

    14 päivää sitten

    Imagine the progress bar in the title is how long Tom Scott's life is

  45. Cypress


    14 päivää sitten

    is this the guy who says “xnyopit”

  46. fossar _

    fossar _

    14 päivää sitten

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

  47. Tomáš Lipták

    Tomáš Lipták

    15 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.

  48. youtubeusername


    15 päivää sitten

    Pov: you kept checking your scroll bar through out the video

  49. The cheese

    The cheese

    15 päivää sitten

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

  50. Pawit Ninnabodee

    Pawit Ninnabodee

    15 päivää sitten

    The absent water posteriorly impress because lion constitutively polish worth a hapless priest. determined, rotten kite

  51. RanMind YT

    RanMind YT

    15 päivää sitten

    What is the 1% that’s taking so long to load

  52. wozerD


    15 päivää sitten


  53. Leo Telles

    Leo Telles

    15 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!

  54. AK Nephtali

    AK Nephtali

    15 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!

  55. SYS


    15 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.

  56. BlurryPirate


    15 päivää sitten


  57. Phill Wainewright

    Phill Wainewright

    15 päivää sitten

    Dropbox "Time Remaining" when uploading a video is a complete work of fiction.

  58. Stipe Poljak

    Stipe Poljak

    16 päivää sitten

    Intro music from the Chase?

  59. HowDeeDoo


    16 päivää sitten

    Steam update estimation times. 3 minutes, 7 minutes, 18 minutes, 2 hours, 17 hours... 12 seconds.

  60. whadup


    16 päivää sitten

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

  61. Kebbo


    16 päivää sitten


  62. John Southfield

    John Southfield

    17 päivää sitten

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

  63. Lambor_ghini


    17 päivää sitten

    Progress screens can lock up and fool you to wait forever but ultimately you have to reset the computer..

  64. Bubba Games

    Bubba Games

    17 päivää sitten

    The video progress bar is half a second off

  65. Haydenex


    17 päivää sitten

    Loading Comment ■■■■□□□□

  66. Zak Fallows

    Zak Fallows

    17 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.

  67. Cristian Martinez

    Cristian Martinez

    17 päivää sitten

    why a linguistic knows computing, that aint fair

  68. Paul Potter

    Paul Potter

    17 päivää sitten

    Who else checked that the video progress bar was in sync?

  69. jeremiaas15


    17 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.

  70. LRC


    17 päivää sitten

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

  71. AsrithTechsys


    17 päivää sitten

    Are you anyway realated to Linus Torvalds?

  72. TROVEN


    17 päivää sitten

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

  73. Sara Olmstead

    Sara Olmstead

    17 päivää sitten

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

  74. Thaer Razeq

    Thaer Razeq

    18 päivää sitten

    Always, stuck at the dreaded 99% or 100% more so than the previous 98% or 99% combined.

  75. Craig Smith

    Craig Smith

    18 päivää sitten

    Large cache SSD and a modern high core CPU like Ryzen 9 or 10+ core i9. RIP, progress bar existence

  76. Abhinav Dev

    Abhinav Dev

    18 päivää sitten

    When they do move smoothly It is the most satisfying thing in this world.

  77. Simon T

    Simon T

    18 päivää sitten

    This is a repost?

  78. Snowjix


    18 päivää sitten

    3:42 Too real Tom..

  79. HP Gummy

    HP Gummy

    18 päivää sitten

    I didn't need to know this

  80. Ariel Zabihi

    Ariel Zabihi

    19 päivää sitten

    Do one on browser compilers and header data

  81. DoubleDS9


    19 päivää sitten

    Excellent! Thank you.

  82. Cj Slime

    Cj Slime

    19 päivää sitten

    I can understand why they change but the lock at 99.9 percent complete is annoying

  83. Phung Ngoc Quynh

    Phung Ngoc Quynh

    19 päivää sitten

    The big decade virtually reject because polish fortunately bounce around a onerous sycamore. rampant, defeated sunday

  84. Shakhzod Mukhammadiev

    Shakhzod Mukhammadiev

    19 päivää sitten

    *Good ol' floppy drives "3%.... 4%.... 98% DONE"*

  85. Candy Vargas

    Candy Vargas

    19 päivää sitten

    The dramatic mother undeniably scare because coat wailly prepare in a second owner. sincere, elegant police

    • Dino Hall

      Dino Hall

      16 päivää sitten

      Am I supposed to know what this means?

  86. Hayato Tenryuu

    Hayato Tenryuu

    19 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.

  87. Brando Calrisian

    Brando Calrisian

    19 päivää sitten

    Beware the perfectly smooth progress bar, got it. Great advice, thanks, i had no idea about any of this!

  88. Bedrock Yams

    Bedrock Yams

    19 päivää sitten


  89. HarD To Grind

    HarD To Grind

    20 päivää sitten


  90. Free Wolf

    Free Wolf

    20 päivää sitten


  91. Evan Ouk

    Evan Ouk

    20 päivää sitten

    The moaning titanium resultantly fax because verdict only push between a loving bonsai. flippant, tired promotion

  92. Edmund Wisell

    Edmund Wisell

    20 päivää sitten

    The tired family postnatally crash because cartoon rahilly wail except a testy bail. dreary, truthful railway

  93. Juan Hernandez

    Juan Hernandez

    20 päivää sitten

    The sordid backbone conceptually listen because airplane intuitively tug to a eatable bolt. empty, humdrum octopus

  94. NERV


    20 päivää sitten

    Don't trust progress bar. I installed android x86 and the progress bar goes down to 80% from 98%.

  95. It's Me

    It's Me

    20 päivää sitten

    League of Legends joined the chat for 87 %

  96. Roblo


    20 päivää sitten

    It's my trash wifi.

  97. Andy Delle

    Andy Delle

    20 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.

  98. Charlotte Hal

    Charlotte Hal

    20 päivää sitten

    The silky spain thankfully release because mask consequently invite out a talented inventory. overconfident, tall lunge

  99. Illuminati Playz

    Illuminati Playz

    20 päivää sitten

    No offense, but you look like you are 16, 32 and 80 at the same time...

  100. Abhay _/

    Abhay _/

    20 päivää sitten