Keep it on or turn it off ?
Question : Is it better to turn off the computer, or can I just keep it on all
Answer : The question about whether it is better to shut down your
computer at the end of each day or to leave it up and running has been raging
for years, with concern for both the computer hardware and saving electricity
factoring into the debate.
One older argument for leaving the computer on was that turning it off
every night and starting it up again in the morning caused strain on the hard
drive -- because the magnetic heads that read and write information inside the
drive had to start up as well, and could damage delicate parts. But the hard
drives in most modern computers park their heads when the computer is turned
off, and starting back up is a much safer process than it used to be.
It does take an extra bit of electricity when the computer pops on after
being shut down, but the amount of power is less than what would be consumed
if the machine was left on continuously.
Leaving the computer on -- and linked to the Internet with a high-speed
connection -- all the time can make it more vulnerable to infection and
invasion by intruders. Even if the machine is turned off every night, though,
security programs like firewall, antivirus and anti-spyware software should be
installed and updated regularly to help keep the computer safe when on and
online. (Macintosh machines are currently less vulnerable to viruses and
spyware, but Mac OS X comes with a firewall worth using.)
You obviously save electricity when you shut down the computer after you
are done using it, potentially around $100 a year, depending on your system.
Turning your machine off at night also clears up items in the computer's
memory and gives it a fresh start in the morning, which may make it appear
less sluggish if you generally have a lot of programs running over the course
of the day.
If you are torn between leaving it on or shutting it down, consider the
third option: setting the machine to hibernate or sleep for the night. The
computer uses minimal power in this state, but starts much faster than if it
was started up cold in the morning.