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Leave It On or Turn It Off

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized
 
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Q:
Should I leave my computer on all the time, or turn it off?

A:
This debate comes up often. Sparks continue to fly on both sides of the issue (especially if you don’t have a surge protector!)

I guess I’ll give you the thoughts from both camps and let you decide.

Leave it on:
The electronic components within the computer tend to last longer if they aren’t constantly cooling off and warming back up. Additionally, you don’t get any kind of initial “spike” in power when your machine is first turned on. Finally, it’s much more convenient to just plop down in front of your computer and start working than to sit through a lengthy boot-up.

Turn it off:
Your hard drive may last longer, especially if your computer doesn’t put the drive on “standby” after a certain amount of idle time. The constant spinning of your hard drive motor can wear out the internal bearings. I personally don’t think this a big deal. Newer hard drives will probably be in good service longer than the computer they live in.

Another “turn it off” argument is that you’ll save on your electric bill. Depending on your machine, it uses the same power as one or more 100 watt light bulbs.

Finally, you’re going to pull more dust into your computer if it’s running all the time. More dust = more heat. More heat = short lived computers, unless you clean it out regularly.

Those are the main reasons both ways. My opinion? I let it run during the day when I’m using it and shut it off at night.

I don’t think it’s good for the computer to have someone poking at the power switch constantly. If you’re going to use it in the morning and then again in the afternoon, leave it run till you’re finished for the day.

I used to leave mine run 24/7, but a few things have changed my mind.

For one, all modern processors need a cooling fan and heatsink to keep it from burning itself into a silicon cinder. These fans are not totally reliable.

If I’m using the computer and am getting signs that I have a CPU that’s overheating (your computer will act *really* strange, some will play a little tune through the internal speaker), I can shut things down and get it fixed. If it happens in the middle of the night, I’ll have a roasted CPU in the morning.

So, my advice is to run it when you need it, and when you’re done for the day, shut it down.

~Steve

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