Myth or fact: Leaving your computer on 24 hours a day is much better for it than switching it off and on again regularly?
The correct answer: Myth
This myth has circulated around computers for a long time and although it may have been true a long time ago it is now no longer the case. Advancements within technology and computers means that issues that may have shortened a computer’s life in the past, such as switching the computer on and off again are now no longer a problem.
In fact, shutting your computer down properly is really important to ensure you’re reaping all the benefits of regular shutdowns.
The top 3 harmful ways to shut down your computer are:
– Cutting the power
– Pulling the power cable out
– Holding down the power button until the power cuts out
If you use any of these methods don’t worry, it easily happens and it’s not too late to change your methods to something that’s significantly safer for your machine.
Unfortunately, just closing the lid every night or pressing the power button on your monitor is not going to shut down your computer at all, but will instead just put it on standby or into sleep mode.
So how can you ensure that you’re shutting your computer down properly?
Here’s our guide to shutting down your computer safely based on what type of computer you are using:
The best way to shut down your Mac is to choose Shut Down from the Apple menu.
Press the apple key in the top left corner of your screen and a dialog box will appear. Click Shut Down. A little box will pop up on your screen, click Shut Down again.
Click the Start button (the windows icon) and then select the Power button and click Shut down.
Windows 8.1/ Windows RT 8.1:
Move your mouse to the lower left-hand corner of the screen and right-click the Start button or press Windows logo key + X on your keyboard. Tap or click Shut down or sign out and choose Shut down.
Click the Start button The Start button and then click the Shut down button.
So now you know how to shut your computer down safely how often should you really be switching it off?
If you use your computer multiple times per day, then it’s best to leave it on during the short periods it won’t be in use. For example, whilst you’re on lunch, in a meeting, etc.
However, if your computer will not be in use for a significant amount of time then we highly recommend you switch it off. For example, overnight, over the weekend, whilst you’re on annual leave, etc.
You may be thinking is it really worth the hassle of shutting my computer down when I could just leave it on standby all the time?
There are many benefits to regular shutdowns and here are just some of them:
Lower energy bill costs
- Computers use a lot of power. An average network of 15 computers, using 171watts per hour, costs about £7.50 per 24 hours to run.
- Over the weeks and months that can really add up. Especially when factoring in the amount of time computers may not be in use like over the weekend, when staff are away on annual leave, etc.
- By shutting your machine down fully when it’s not in use it will use significantly less power, waste less energy and therefore reduce your energy bill.
Improved computer performance
- Computers need to be rebooted (switched off and back on again) regularly to be able to complete updates.
- These updates are released regularly to maintain the security of the software and improve its usability.
- Not rebooting regularly will not only make your computer slow, but also make it vulnerable to viruses and attackers.
Longer machine life
- Having a computer switched on constantly exerts a constant stress on its components, which will inevitably wear them down quicker.
- The heat that is generated when a computer is on also reduces the life of its components.
- Shutting down decreases the stress on the computer’s components, allowing it time to cool down and extending the life of your computer.
Reduced temporary system issues
- When a computer is in constant use little problems may start to crop up that are often solved by a reboot.
- If you’re regularly shutting down your computer, it will help avoid these temporary system issues.
More quiet time
- Computers can be quite noisy when they’re running. The noise from the fans, notifications or alerts can easily disturb you, especially when the computer is not in use.
- Turning it off will stop this.
Less chance of it being attacked
- In general, when your computer is turned off, hackers and viruses cannot attempt to break into it.
- Whilst on your computer is constantly being probed by attackers and viruses looking for a way to hack into it.
- Shutting your computer down when not in use significantly reduces the amount of time that your computer is vulnerable to this probing, making it a smaller target for attackers and reducing your likelihood of being attacked.
However, there is a significant reason as to why you may need to leave your computer on:
- If you’re using the computer as a server or you need to be able to remotely access it then it will require the computer to be on.
Ultimately the amount you shut down depends on how and when you are using the computer and what you need to do. It’s important to shut down correctly to ensure that you do not damage its components, but regular reboots can really benefit you and your computer.