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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Hi,

    A question I have had for a very long time is, after I have completed my computer tasks, whether I should leave my computer on or turn it off.

    Thank you for any advice you can give me.

    Moon

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by moon1130 View Post
    A question I have had for a very long time is, after I have completed my computer tasks, whether I should leave my computer on or turn it off.
    Moon,
    Hello....There are as many opinions about this as there are "PC's. Personally after my obsessive cleanup ritual (end of day )...i "tuck her in " ( switch off ) Then when i return... next day i then choose which OS to boot up... If I'm doing things throughout the day then i just use the sleep function..as the "computer magnet" seems to have a power over me that's hard to resist... so a move of the "old mouse" and I'm back in business, without having to start from zero..... Don't see any advantage of leaving my PC on all day ,or over night... just for me is a waste of power. Some will no doubt say that your HD's and components will last longer if you let everything run.... vs bringing everything up from a cold start...killing something. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  3. #3
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    Thanks, Fred. I have just recently started to turn off the computer when I am finished using it, but I still wonder what is the better policy. It is interesting, is it not, that there is no definitive answer to something seemingly so basic.

    Have a great holiday season.

    Moon

  4. #4
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    Ages ago there were debates about lifetimes of hard disk drives and whether it was best to leave them running or turn them off when not in use. Those days are long past - modern OSes tend to spin down drives not in use to conserve on energy consumption, so even if you leave the PC on the hard drive might get "turned off." There were also debates about whether the circuitry in PCs would last longer when always powered on as opposed to "shocking" them daily when turning the electricity back on. Of course in those days entry level PCs were expensive. Nowadays they are cheap, so replacing a PC (or drive) that gets worn out after 3 or so years use is no longer an expensive proposition. Also, there was never any data to back up either camp.

    My recommendation is to turn if off when you are not using it. If you need instant-on, then use sleep or hibernate mode. Reducing electricity consumption and being green is a bigger concern today than whether the hardware can handle the constant on/off switching.

    The only time I leave my PC on at night is if there is a show I want to record, and even then I turn off all of the peripherals (speakers, printer, monitors) to reduce the electricity consumption.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The laptops in my household hibernate when not in use. I have a midtower in my bedroom that often gets turned off, sometinems stays on for several days. I have another midtower that hasn't been turned off (other than a move and the occaissional power failure - and the hurricanes in '04) since the mid '90's.

    That one has been through several changes over the years. Naturally, it is turned off when I'm upgrading the motherboard or something of that nature, but in general it stays on; the printer everyone uses is installed on that PC. I have had only one hard drive failure (which occurred on a startup), but then I have upgraded hard drives a number of times over those years, so that doesn't really say much. The drive that failed was just a month past its fifth birthday - just out or warranty.

    I can say without reservation that the most strenuous period for any piece of electrical or electronic gear (other than overload condition) is startup. It is much easier on a hard drive motor to keep the platter spinning than it is to start it spinning.

    It all boils down to personal choice.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

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  6. #6
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    It's a given that we get storm related power failures and once our Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) battery power runs out, all equipment is turned off.

    I rarely intentionally shut off printer, router, cable modem, hub, switch, speakers.

    Desktops and laptops are shut down about once a week for an overnight rest, otherwise, they are left on day and night.

    External hard drives and networked drives (used for backup only) are turned on when needed a couple of times per week.

  7. #7
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    Save the environment and turn it off.

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    As Fred states this is a personal choice. I worked in the Aerospace field, in electronics for years and found no valid reason during these many years testing and troubleshooting electronics to feel that on/off cycles were harder on electronics than continuous on time. As stated by many, this is more of an environmental issue. We do not treat our planet well. For every joule of power we consume, some where, some how that energy must be generated. There are many means to generate this energy from coal fired to atomic fired to water powered to wind powered, etc, generating plants. Predominately this generation takes place in the form of consuming resources. Hence for each minute your PC is off, is less power generation taking place. Now you will say, so what I am such a small amout in the scheme of things, but consider this, there are billions of these small amounts of power being consumed each minute and they do add up. I believe each of us must help to contribute to saving our world, and cutting down on energy consumption is one of the easier forms for every day people to take. Turn the PCs off when not using them and save a tree, or coal miners lungs, or whatever, and perhaps save a few cents in the process.

    Enough on my soap box this morning. Gotta get a second mug of java, Cheers, Ted
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  9. #9
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    Ted, I enjoyed your soap box oration. I am gonna be turning my computers off when I have finished using them for the day or when I will not be using them for a long interval of time within a given day. It feels good making ths contribution to our planet.

    Everyone have a Good one...

    Moon

  10. #10
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Computers that are built specifically to be running 24x7 cost a small fortune because every fan has ball bearings and not brass bushings. The PSU's are extra heavy duty with a very high degree of regulation, much more than home computers. Usually, the cases have multiple fans to keep the electronics cool.

    Things like hard drives are rated by the number of hours that they can run without failure (MTBF). Why push them to the breaking point any faster than necessary?
    Years ago, I used to loose at least a hard drive a year, to overheating. Then I devised a really neat way to keep my HD's at room temperature, even when they were under heavy load, like doing a virus scan or defrag. I install a Two-Fan drive cooler to every hard drive and the drive never goes through that shock of heating up and cooling down.

    Even with some of the lowest electric rates in the country, I still find it advantageous to keep my power usage at a minimum. My electric bill last month was just $58.
    I run my computer like any other household appliance...... when I'm not using it, it's shut OFF.
    You probably wouldn't think of just leaving an electric stove on all the time so that when you want to use it, it doesn't have to heat up. Eh?

    So as far as home computers, made with Hobby-Grade components are concerned, when not in use, turn them off.

    I take full advantage of the time it takes my computer to boot up. A single switch, on a power strip, starts up my entire system.
    From my Startup folder, I run a batch file to clean out all the junk files from the previous session, then I run a script to force a new Restore Point to be created, then after my AV program starts and my computer goes on-line, my email program runs and goes out and gets my email.
    So by the time I get my coffee, get my TV set to the proper channel and get back to the PC, everything is done and my email is waiting on my monitor, so I can sit down and start reading it.

    I use a Quick Shutdown shortcut that shuts down my PC in 5 -8 seconds. Then I shut off the power at the power strip and walk away knowing that my PC is completely SAFE.

    I didn't start doing this last week, or last month or even last year, but I've been turning off my PC when not in use, going all the way back to my first PC, an IBM XT Clone that I built in ~1983.
    What I do today, is based on my experience as an electronics tech, going all the way back to 1965.

    Cheers Mates!
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  11. #11
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    The only thing I would add is if you leave just the PC on it can get updates and do virus scans at night when the PC is not being used. I do this so I am not bothered by slow downs from these activity's.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I shut my computer down when not using it as well.
    Windows 7, for me at least, is the first MS operating system were S3 sleep to hibernate is a very cool & reliable 2nd when it comes to
    power saving. For all intent and purpose it is nearest to off. Sleep to hibernate is far more reliable than other MS operating systems imo.
    For tasks that are in the process of completing, I can reliably walk away from the system and it will go into S3 sleep-hibernate mode
    when the task is done.
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  13. #13
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    Both the electronics and the disks in a computer are stressed more by too-frequent start/stop cycles than by simply being left running. Furthermore, unless you're running a macho machine the power drain during inactive periods is modest (especially now that CRT monitors are fading away - though monitor power-down helped them a lot, and even LCD monitors should also be darkened when not in use for lengthy periods). Finally, during cold seasons of the year unless you're heating with a renewable fuel whatever power you're wasting is largely offset environmentally by lower heating fuel consumption (though, conversely, during air-conditioning season any power you can save results in additional power saved by not having to get rid of that additional heat).

    For the conditions in our area, it makes sense to put a computer into standby or hibernation (or shut it down completely) if it's likely not going to be used for more than a few hours, and otherwise to leave it running with the disks spinning (the typical 50,000 start/stop cycle lifetime of disks is likely less conservative than some of their other specs).

  14. #14
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    Had a very pleasant surprise when I went to APC to replace my ten yearl old UPS. The new model has six outlets on top to plug in my peripherals. When the computer is turned off or goes into a low power state (hibernate) power to all the peripherals is turned off. Have one printer, monitor, speakers, etc on these circuts. Whenever leaving desk, I just click Hibernate and all turn off. And, when I forget Hibernate is automatic after 20 minutes.

    When I press switch on computer to turn it back on, everything else comes back automatically. Works very nicely.

    Only problem is that our laser printer is also our fax and it needs to stay on for wife's work (nurse), so continues drawing current along with the cable modem and router.

    If you need a new UPS, look into ones have this turnoff feature.

    Carl

  15. #15
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    For all you non-electronics majors, here are some considerations (you can double check some of these facts with a product called 'Kill-O-Watt'):
    1) If you are debating turning your computer off, keep these facts in mind.
    A) With the amount of energy it takes to charge all the capacitors (voltage stabilizers) in a modern computer (Win 2000 forward), you can leave a standard desktop on for about 3 days and a standard laptop for about 6+ days. The energy usage is roughly the same (assuming you are using the default power settings). Pretty much the same with external hard drives.
    B) Most problems with computers occur during startup or shutdown (power supply overloads, motherboard problems, other hardware issues, and OS and HDD corruption).
    C) 'Green' hard drives are badly named. They drop to 5400 rpm when not in demand, then rev up to 7200/10,000 rpm when needed (read power burst).
    2) Always make sure the monitor is off when not in use (that's your biggest energy hog).
    3) Always make sure your inkjet printer is turned off when not in use. Not so much for energy savings (although it helps), but because when you turn the printer off, you'll hear the ink cartridges move to their 'protected' position and the ink won't dry on the jets. As long as the printer is on, the cartridges are exposed in the 'ready' position and can dry on the cartridge with non-use. If this happens, you may possibly 'save' them with a good cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth.

    So, basically, it all depends how often you use your computer. Sorry, but gamers, multitaskers, and video editors will always use more power.

    BTW: Make sure you have at least one good, working surge protector between the wall and ALL your equiptment whether you leave it on or not!

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