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Big Turn Off?

How often should you turn off your computer? Every night? Never? Only when you have to?

The current thinking should make everyone happy, no matter what your habit: do what works for you.

There are some advantages to turning your computer off every night and some advantages to leaving it on, but they really have more to do with how you use the machine, rather that what is better for it.

For example, if you use the computer once a day for a short time, turn it off after you are done. You will save all those hours of electricity. However, if you use your computer throughout the day, let it go to sleep when you walk away so that you can pick up where you left off when you return.

Some other things to consider:

  • If your computer is on (sleeping), it can update, download, scan for viruses, etc. during the night, but it will use electricity, make some noise (fan, restart), and give off light (monitor screen saver).
  • Your computer is no less at risk of damage from a power surge if the computer is off; only unplugging your machine guarantees it is not at risk.
  • Your computer is no more vulnerable to viruses if it is on (sleeping) all night; viruses can get into your computer though emails you open, websites you visit, and downloads you agree to, all of which happen when you are using your computer.

Volumes have been written about this subject; here is one good article that breaks down the issues:

Should you turn off your computer every night?

(Note that the article is from 2012, which is a computer eternity ago, but the ideas — if not the prices of electricity — are still relevant.)

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