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: usplan.info/black/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


  • Tom Scott
    Tom ScottMonth ago

    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


    13 days ago


  • RanMind YT

    RanMind YT

    13 days ago

    why do you private your videos before you upload them

  • Michael Conroy

    Michael Conroy

    20 days ago

    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


    23 days ago


  • PrxjectMeme


    25 days ago

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

  • Reese606
    Reese60616 hours ago

    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

  • Ask Master
    Ask Master21 hour ago

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

  • Adam Cogley
    Adam Cogley22 hours ago


  • gunship sequel budyboy
    gunship sequel budyboyDay ago

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

  • YaBoy •
    YaBoy •Day ago

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

  • Vex989
    Vex989Day ago

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

  • agustinbs
    agustinbs2 days ago

    Are you reporting from 1998?

  • DG Secret
    DG Secret3 days ago

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

  • Peto
    Peto3 days ago


  • KoGa
    KoGa3 days ago

    "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.

  • Rory M
    Rory M3 days ago

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

  • P Church
    P Church3 days ago

    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

  • GigaGame
    GigaGame4 days ago

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

    YY YELLOW4 days ago

    Why this guy is soo much underrated

  • karehaqt
    karehaqt4 days ago

    Good old Microsoft Minutes

  • Deconimus
    Deconimus4 days ago

    How was the halting problem not mentioned in this video?

  • KysterPSY
    KysterPSY5 days ago

    Loved the Sopranos kinda ending.

  • Pat Smash
    Pat Smash5 days ago

    My loading bar just goes backwards

  • Chane
    Chane7 days ago

    looking at you STEAM

  • A Skellington
    A Skellington7 days ago


  • Yajihba
    Yajihba8 days ago

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

  • Lordlouckster
    Lordlouckster8 days ago

    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!

  • Hasan A
    Hasan A8 days ago

    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.

  • Sideways
    Sideways8 days ago

    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😅

  • Eeee
    Eeee8 days ago

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

  • Viktória Vadon
    Viktória Vadon9 days ago

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

  • Frog 4096
    Frog 40969 days ago

    3:42 Looking at you, Windows 10

  • Samson Kinyanjui
    Samson Kinyanjui10 days ago

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

  • Riley Carpenter
    Riley Carpenter10 days ago


  • mozl83
    mozl8310 days ago

    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.).

  • Cameron Figgins
    Cameron Figgins10 days ago

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

  • Zari Hanssen
    Zari Hanssen11 days ago

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

  • Butter of Sorrow
    Butter of Sorrow11 days ago

    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.

  • French Comprehensible Input
    French Comprehensible Input11 days ago

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

  • Helio Gonzalez
    Helio Gonzalez12 days ago


  • Silksong Date
    Silksong Date12 days ago

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

  • SoftBunnyCreations Vibing
    SoftBunnyCreations Vibing12 days ago


  • pencilchat
    pencilchat12 days ago

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

  • Zoltan
    Zoltan12 days ago

    ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░ 94%

  • Eugene Lo
    Eugene Lo12 days ago

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

  • Cypress
    Cypress12 days ago

    is this the guy who says “xnyopit”

  • fossar _
    fossar _13 days ago

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

  • Tomáš Lipták
    Tomáš Lipták13 days ago

    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.

  • youtubeusername
    youtubeusername13 days ago

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

  • The cheese
    The cheese13 days ago

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

  • Pawit Ninnabodee
    Pawit Ninnabodee13 days ago

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

  • RanMind YT
    RanMind YT13 days ago

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

  • wozerD
    wozerD13 days ago


  • Leo Telles
    Leo Telles13 days ago

    You look young and old at the same time. That's a real mistyr to me, you should make a video about it!

  • AK Nephtali
    AK Nephtali13 days ago

    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!

  • SYS
    SYS14 days ago

    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.

  • BlurryPirate
    BlurryPirate14 days ago


  • Phill Wainewright
    Phill Wainewright14 days ago

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

  • Stipe Poljak
    Stipe Poljak14 days ago

    Intro music from the Chase?

  • HowDeeDoo
    HowDeeDoo14 days ago

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

  • whadup
    whadup14 days ago

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

  • Kebbo
    Kebbo15 days ago


  • John Southfield
    John Southfield15 days ago

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

  • Lambor_ghini
    Lambor_ghini15 days ago

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

  • Bubba Games
    Bubba Games15 days ago

    The video progress bar is half a second off

  • Haydenex
    Haydenex15 days ago

    Loading Comment ■■■■□□□□

  • Zak Fallows
    Zak Fallows15 days ago

    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.

  • Cristian Martinez
    Cristian Martinez15 days ago

    why a linguistic knows computing, that aint fair

  • Paul Potter
    Paul Potter15 days ago

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

  • jeremiaas15
    jeremiaas1515 days ago

    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.

  • LRC
    LRC16 days ago

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

  • AsrithTechsys
    AsrithTechsys16 days ago

    Are you anyway realated to Linus Torvalds?

    TROVEN16 days ago

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

  • Sara Olmstead
    Sara Olmstead16 days ago

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

  • Thaer Razeq
    Thaer Razeq16 days ago

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

  • Craig Smith
    Craig Smith16 days ago

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

  • Abhinav Dev
    Abhinav Dev16 days ago

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

  • Simon T
    Simon T16 days ago

    This is a repost?

  • Snowjix
    Snowjix16 days ago

    3:42 Too real Tom..

  • HP Gummy
    HP Gummy17 days ago

    I didn't need to know this

  • Ariel Zabihi
    Ariel Zabihi17 days ago

    Do one on browser compilers and header data

  • DoubleDS9
    DoubleDS917 days ago

    Excellent! Thank you.

  • Cj Slime
    Cj Slime17 days ago

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

  • Phung Ngoc Quynh
    Phung Ngoc Quynh17 days ago

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

  • Shakhzod Mukhammadiev
    Shakhzod Mukhammadiev17 days ago

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

  • Candy Vargas
    Candy Vargas17 days ago

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

  • Dino Hall

    Dino Hall

    15 days ago

    Am I supposed to know what this means?

  • Hayato Tenryuu
    Hayato Tenryuu17 days ago

    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.

  • Brando Calrisian
    Brando Calrisian18 days ago

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

  • Bedrock Yams
    Bedrock Yams18 days ago


  • HarD To Grind
    HarD To Grind18 days ago


  • Free Wolf
    Free Wolf18 days ago


  • Evan Ouk
    Evan Ouk18 days ago

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

  • Edmund Wisell
    Edmund Wisell18 days ago

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

  • Juan Hernandez
    Juan Hernandez18 days ago

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

  • NERV
    NERV18 days ago

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

  • It's Me
    It's Me18 days ago

    League of Legends joined the chat for 87 %

  • Roblo
    Roblo18 days ago

    It's my trash wifi.

  • Andy Delle
    Andy Delle18 days ago

    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.

  • Charlotte Hal
    Charlotte Hal18 days ago

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

  • Illuminati Playz
    Illuminati Playz18 days ago

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

  • Abhay _/
    Abhay _/19 days ago


  • Ocean
    Ocean19 days ago

    ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ There. thank me later.

  • PulsarXZ
    PulsarXZ19 days ago

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

  • KrisRaps
    KrisRaps19 days ago

    So You Tell Me That There Is Not Such Thing As Smooth Operator ?