Sure, leave it on…
For one, it is more convenient to keep your machine running. Rather than waiting for it to boot up, most of us would rather leave it on if we are going to be on and off it for work or play. A typical system takes around 30 seconds to a minute to boot into the operating system. If you have a large number of programs that are set to launch on boot this can add an additional minute or two to the startup process. Awakening a device from sleep mode only takes a few seconds and there is no additional wait for applications because they are still running.
Benefits of keeping the PC on will depend on your computers hardware. A PC with a solid state drive will take significantly less time to boot up than an equivalent machine with a traditional hard drive. Take this into consideration when determining whether sleep or off if a better resting state for your machine.
The maintenance of a good computer starts with regular updates, most of which are best left to work overnight. A few of these tasks could be installing operating system updates, creating backups, and running virus scans. Big moves of data, such as moving large quantities of photos to the cloud, can be scheduled automatically to occur at night. This ensures that the machine is kept up to date and that the user is not interrupted with update prompts and data moves during the work day.
I think most users keep their machines powered up because they need them to be. Have you ever gotten all the way home only to realize that important document you need to work on is on your work laptop? This can be a major setback if the work machine is powered off and sequentially pieces of software are unreachable. A device left on allows the user to simply log in and reach the work machine remotely from home.
Sure, turn it off…
Simple fact remains true whether you religiously power down your machine each night or not, every component of your machine has a life span. The back light in a monitor can last tens of thousands of hours, laptop battery capacity will shorten within the first 300 charge cycles, and a solid state drive is good for around 3000 program erase cycles. Powering down the device might extend the life of the parts, but most users hit the point of buying an upgraded machine long before they are replacing anything within their original device.
A massive distinction exists in power use between when a computer is active, idle, and sleeping. Turning the monitor off alone saves a significant chunk of power, while putting the machine to sleep saves even more. A computer that is turned off but still plugged in uses around 0.2W of power, for those trying to save money on their electric bill this summer. A computer that is powered down will avoid the risks associated with power surges and cuts associated with summer storms as well. Of course a surge protector will also help alleviate this risk.
Machines now don’t rely on constant reboots in order to survive, but reboots improve performance and that hasn’t changed. A reboot is still the most effective way of solving everyday errors that users encounter. If you find yourself with a application that is non responsive, a printer on the fritz, or some other glitchy activity, a simple reboot can make you feel like a technical genius. Turning off the machine at the end of the day allows the system to perform actions that may only occur when the device powers down. For instance, I learned that my MacBook at home performs clean up functions when powering down, such as clearing stored information from my daily web browsing activities. This is one less thing for me to remember to clear as well as gives me a little extra storage space for my machine. Just from a power down.
So…..basically……use common sense. If you use your computer all day at work, often need to remotely access it from home, and regularly update and backup your machine at night, leave the machine running, it has reason to do so. If you go out of town for a week and know that you won’t be needing the machine – power it down and give it a chance to cool down. If you use your machine for Pinterest recipes and Facebook, and don’t mind an occasional update during the day or often go days without accessing the computer at all, keep it powered down when not in use.
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