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Ask yourself this quick question: At the end of the day, do you turn your computer off or simply stand up and leave? If you were to ask this question to 10 people, you would likely not get all of them to agree on which is the best method. This is actually a common question, but one which is not as simple to answer as you might think.
So, let’s take a look into whether you should shut your computer down at night or not. The first thing we should do is look at three myths that surround this topic.
Myth 1 – My computer is safe from power surges if I turn it off
If you live in an area that has an unstable power grid, or is prone to random blackouts, you may be worried about power surges. In truth, if one reaches your computer when it’s off, it will do almost exactly the same amount of damage as if it was on. Therefore, you should ensure that your computer is plugged into a surge protector, even if it’s switched off.
Myth 2 – Leaving a computer on will cause it to overheat
This isn’t quite true. Both laptops and desktops have fans and heat sinks that are designed to cool a computer efficiently while it operates. If your computer has a working fan, leaving it on overnight will not cause it to overheat. On the other hand, if the fan isn’t working properly there is a high chance it could overheat. In other words, if the fan isn’t working, you should get it fixed before damage is done.
Myth 3 – Turning a computer on and off, or leaving it on will cause parts to wear out quicker
In theory, this is actually true. When a computer runs, it gets hot – high end video cards can run as hot as 180 F – and when it is shut down, the parts cool quickly. Anyone with a basic understanding of science knows that many substances contract when cooled and expand when hot. Therefore turning your computer off and on will cause wear from expansion and contraction. .
Well, in truth, it really makes little difference. Think about other similar electronic devices like your monitor, TV or even phone. You no doubt turn these off and on all the time with no problem. Most computer components are designed for this too. In fact, many are designed to outlast the expected time you will use the computer. This means that the vast majority of people won’t notice a difference.
The truth behind these myths shows that there will be little outright harm to your computer if you turn it off, or leave it on. But the question about which is best to do still remains.
Reasons you should turn your computer off at night
There are four main reasons as to why you should turn your computer off at night:
Reasons you should leave your system on at night
There are three main reasons as to why you would want to leave your system on at night:
So, which is better?
In truth, it really comes down to preference and how you work. If you work with an IT partner who manages your systems, it is a good idea to ask them what they would recommend.
If you just use the computer while you are at work, or are worried about potential security threats, then you can probably shut it down at the end of the day. That being said, if you do shut your system down, it is a good idea to run security scans on a regular basis while your system is on to ensure maximum protection.
At the same time, if you leave your system on, it is a good idea to periodically reboot it so important security and program updates can be installed and your computer can be refreshed.
Still not too sure what you should be doing? Why not give us a call to see how we can help keep your systems running and secure.
Published on 5th September 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.