Should you turn off your computer at night?

Should you turn off your computer after each session or is it safe to keep your computer running? This a pointed debate with strong opinions on both sides of the argument. Some feel that shutting off and powering on your computer daily will contribute to wear and tear and take extra time. While others believe that leaving your computer running all the time will cause damage to the device and keep it from running it’s smoothest.

Well, we’ve asked multiple experts, and this is what they had to say on the matter.

Should you turn off your computer?

Should you turn off your computer after every use? Or is it save to keep your computer running? There are many ways to slice this debate. For example, we need to consider that there’s shutdown, hibernation, and sleep and how each of these might affect the computer differently. We also need to consider what the device is used for, where it’s stored, and how old it is. All of these different aspects can affect this decision. So, you’ll need to use the information presented and determine if you should turn off your computer every night, or if it’s safe to keep your computer running.

The Core of the Debate

This debate revolves around the question of “What hurts my computer and what doesn’t?” Computers are an investment and we want them to work as long as possible. The fact is, that computers won’t last forever and they will eventually break. Using them is leading to their ultimate demise, and nothing we do or don’t do can cause our computer to escape that fate. Therefore, regardless of what state we leave our computer in when we’re finished using it, our computers lifespan is shortened every day. The goal is to simply reduce the damage.

One point that both sides agree on is that it’s a bad idea to leave your computer always on. Meaning, it never enters sleep mode, and the monitor and computer are running constantly. This will significantly reduce the lifespan of your computer.

Problems Caused By Powering On

Every time a computer powers on, it has a surge of power. Now, this is a manageable surge of power but powering on your computer several times a day will shorten your computers lifespan. Older computers with more traditional hard drives have more moving parts. These moving parts all need to whiz around and move to get the device started. Therefore, powering on the computer frequently will cause more wear and tear on those parts. Most modern computers have solid state drives. These do not have moving parts and therefore are less affected by that problem.

The Arguments

There are some legitimate arguments for both sides. Some key reasons to keep your computer running (i.e. sleep mode) is if you are using the computer as a server or if you want remote access to it, if there are background updates, virus scans, or other functions you want to take place after hours, or the main argument is you don’t want to sit around and wait for it to start up every morning.

Turn off Your Computer

Some key benefits of turning your computer all the way off are that you can save money on your electricity bill (minimal savings), you won’t hear fans buzzing or notifications coming through, and reboots generally help computer performance.

Keep your Computer Running: Sleep vs Hibernate

Putting your computer into hibernate mode will put it in a very similar state as shut down. It stops power usage and will turn the computer back on where you last left off. However, turning the computer back on from this state requires that surge of power that will accelerate the wear and tear of the computer. Now, this won’t break the computer overnight, but throughout continued starting and stopping it can have lasting effects.

Putting the computer in sleep mode will still use a minimal amount of power and keep the computer running; barely. This reduces both the time and surge of power needed to turn the computer all the way on from hibernating or being shut down. The tradeoff here is that it will use more electricity to keep your machine running. However, that difference in your bill would be small.

The Verdict

It really doesn’t make a huge difference. Modern computers are sophisticated enough that either option won’t destroy your computer and any real damage would be unperceivable. The main takeaways are that it is good for your computer to reboot occasionally, and it’s a bad idea to start and stop your computer multiple times a day. If you are going to keep your computer running at least it shut off once a week or so to allow for a reboot. If you are going to turn off your computer when you’re done, only do so once a day. These experts opt to put their computer into sleep mode at the end of the day. Their reasoning? It’s just faster.

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