Computers, On or Off?

Should You Leave Your Computer On All the Time, Or Power It Off When You Are Done?

Many people ask us if they should leave their computers on all the time, or power them off when they are finished with them. There are many conflicting opinions about which option is better, even between our own technicians! We believe that at this time, it is more of a personal decision than anything else. Whichever option you choose, there are some things to be aware of regarding each practice.

Leaving Computer On Turning Computer Off
Start Up Time
Start up time is minimal. Computer is starting from either hibernate or standby, rather than having to go through the full start up process. Usually, only moving the mouse is required to wake the computer back up. It is normal for the computer to take at least 60 seconds to go from powering on into Windows. This process may take longer with older machines.
Operational Costs
For the computer and monitor alone, the average increase in the electric bill is roughly $40 per year. When the computer is powered off, it pulls no additional electricity.
Slight additional maintenance required, usually in the form of cleaning fans and heatsinks more regularly. Standard maintenance is usually sufficient. A once a year cleaning is usually all that is necessary for fans and heatsinks.
Running Programs
You can save time by having your antivirus, backup program, or download of a large file run overnight, while you are sleeping. No programs can be used while computer is powered off.
Lifetime Parts Wear and Tear
Fans and other moving parts gain wear and tear from always moving, which can cause them to fail sooner. All moving parts stop when your computer is powered off.

Please note, these tips apply only to desktop computers. We do not recommend leaving your laptop computer powered on for any extended period of time while you are not using it. Laptops should either be powered off or placed in hibernate when you are done using them.


So, should you leave your computer on or power it off when you’re done with it? What’s your opinion?

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9 Responses to Computers, On or Off?

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  4. Daniel Cowee says:

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  6. I agree with leaving the desktop on. I have left one particular desktop on almost nonstop for 5 years with no problems. It is true that it will need cleaning more often, it attracts dust bunnies better than an air purifier!

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