To Shut Down or Not To Shut Down?

To Shut Down or Not To Shut Down?

Should I shut down my computer overnight or just leave it on? That is the question. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions I’m asked. Like most things computer-related the answer isn’t cut and dry.

First of all, today’s computer hardware is durable enough to withstand either running for months without being turned off or being turned off and on every day. You aren’t going to extend the life of your hardware one way or another. The only exception is a power outage. If your computer is on during a power outage, you run the risk of damaged hardware or corrupted data due to an improper shutdown. A good battery backup for your desktop PC and regularly backing up your data will keep you safe from that possibility. These backups are highly recommended whether you leave your computer on or not.

What is the best answer for you? Let’s examine the pros and cons of each option.

Leaving your computer on:

Pros: The most obvious advantage to leaving your computer on is convenience. You don’t have to wait for your computer to start up every time you want to use it. You can also schedule maintenance tasks like backups, updates and disk defragmentation to run overnight when you aren’t using your computer.

Cons: The obvious drawback is the higher power usage. Another potential problem is that some updates require you to restart your computer for them to be applied. If you do leave your computer on all the time, be sure to restart it at least once a week.

Turning your computer off:

Pros: The most obvious advantage is the power savings. Even though your screen may be dark, your computer is still using electricity. You will likely notice a difference in your electric bill. Another advantage is that you can be sure updates are being installed regularly.

Cons: The most obvious drawback of turning your computer off every day is the inconvenience of having to wait for it to boot every time you want to use it. Another drawback is that maintenance tasks will be run while you are using your computer, which could negatively impact your computer’s performance.

In my opinion the best answer is a combination of both options. I leave my home computer on most of the time. My maintenance tasks run overnight, leaving my PC running quickly and easily accessible whenever I need it. I shut my computer down whenever I’m going to be away from the house for a while. As far as taking good care of your computer, whether you leave it on or turn it off is relatively unimportant compared to backing up your data and running a good anti-virus program.

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