Should You Shutdown Your Computer or Leave It On All The Time?

When You Shutdown Your Computer, Can It Cause Problems?

There are a number of myths floating around about what you should do with your computer when you’re not using it. Some say that you should always shut it down, while others claim that shutting down regularly will shorten the life of your computer. The fact is that neither of these is totally correct. Shutting down your computer will do no harm, but it may not be the most practical option for your circumstance. It all comes down to your personal preference – as long as you’re informed. Let’s take a look at the options.

Shut down computer regularly

On the surface shutting down your computer every night seems the more practical option, as it uses significantly less energy when not in use. Another benefit is that your system will have fewer temporary issues. There are always little bugs in the computer’s code that can be worked out by simply restarting the computer. When you shut down and restart your computer regularly it can install all necessary software and operating system updates. In addition, shutting down your computer regularly will reduce the noise generated by it, especially if it’s in your room. Finally, it will actually contribute to a long-lasting computer. This isn’t as critical these days, but if you have an older computer that you’re trying to make last, consider shutting it down to reduce wear and tear on the hardware.

There are however downsides to this option. The first is obvious: it’s inconvenient. It’s much easier to just walk to your computer and use it, and to walk away when you’re done, without having to deal with boot or shutdown times. This option also still uses energy, if you’re thinking that turning your computer off will be the greenest option. It actually takes less energy than a powered computer, to be sure, but still draws power from the socket. You can turn the surge protector off or unplug the computer if you’re really worried about it.

Never shut down computer

It’s definitely the most convenient option, and you can have your machine do long tasks overnight like video encoding or a large downloads. However, this option uses a lot of power – up to three times as much as the next best option – which is similar. It relies on using sleep mode to take marginally more power than being off, but much less than when it’s on. All you do is press the power button to turn it on or off. It also solves the noise issue by turning the fans off.

Both of the options above have both their benefits and their downsides. In the end, it comes down to which you prefer. Neither is going to actually damage your computer.

Source: Andrea Eldridge

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