I have a digital camera that plugs into my computer. Do I have to shut the computer off each time I plug / unplug it?
Yup. Never plug (or unplug) any component into (or out of) a running computer unless it connects via a USB cable. In theory, USB devices are designed to be plugged in and out when a computer is powered on. The rest of your ports & devices are not.
That said, you may want to check with your equipment manufacturer before you start yanking on USB cables while your computer is running. Some don’t recommend plugging / unplugging your digital camera even if you’re using a USB connection.
So, you may be safer to power down, plug in your camera, then turn things back on. I’m guessing the worry here is for the camera, not the computer.
If you do plug or unplug a non-USB component when the computer is running, you may not have a problem. The first time. Or even the second. But you will eventually. It can range from just locking the computer up to blowing out a port.
You can disregard this advice if you like, but when you’re in the repair shop, remember “I told ya so!”