Keeping your PC on all the time, or turning it off when not in use; does it really make a difference?
You can choose whichever you want, but you need to understand some consequences of your choice and take a few precautions to make sure that your computer gets the longest life.
The idea that one should not turn the computer off at night is pretty popular to avoid frequent shutdowns and start-ups. How does it impact your computer when you leave it on or off all the time?
Why You Should Leave Your Computer on All the Time
There are many good reasons to leave your computer always on. It is not just about being quicker to get started, but it can improve the functionality of your computer too.
The prime reasons for leaving your computer on is convenience as you don’t have to wait for the entire booting process. An average system will take around 30 seconds to one minute to boot into the operating system – based on the PC specifications, of course.
If there are multiple programs that are set to initiate on boot, it will take another one or two minutes before you actually get to work. Leaving the system on may resolve this problem. In Sleep mode and hibernation mode, PC stays on but uses low power. Applications stay open, so when the PC wakes up, you are instantly back to where you left off. The benefits rely upon your computer’s hardware.
A computer with solid state drive will have a significantly shorter boot time than a PC with traditional hard drive.
Keep Your Computer Updated
Multiple tasks run simultaneously that are important to maintain your computer data. Installing OS updates, creating backups, running virus scans or uploading a large amount of data like transferring your music or photo collection to the cloud, all these tasks take some time and use different amount of CPU, memory, disk, and bandwidth. Scheduling these tasks to happen at night will keep you completely update without hampering your work.
Leaving your computer on all the time allows you to run certain software that would otherwise be off limits. This involves remote access software, such as Remote Desktop in Windows or a third party tool to be virtually connected. You will never have to undergo the frustration of forgetting your important files at home. You can log-in remotely on your smartphone, tablet, or PC.
Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Computer on All the Time
Possibly, you turn off the computer after finishing your task. There are some good reasons why you should shut down your PC.
Limited Lifespan of Component
It is a very known fact that every electronic device has a limited lifespan. The lifespan of a monitor’s backlight is tens of thousands of hours. The capacity of laptop’s battery will notably shorten with as few as 300 charge cycles. An SSD is great for about 3000 erase cycles.
In fact, you will have updated your PC long before you reach or cross any of these limits. But by keeping your computer always on, you are putting it under endless stress. It can also cause overheating and that is one of the biggest factors in reducing the life of hardware.
Wastage of Power
All of us know that leaving any device turned on when not in use is a waste of energy. But how much? Let’s take an example, a 21.5-inch iMac uses up to 56 watts in moderate use. This decreases to 44W after being idle for five minutes, and to 18W with the screen off. In Sleep mode, it plunges to just 1W.
So, you can see, there is a huge difference between the power consumption of a PC that is active, idle and sleeping. Switching the monitor off preserves a large amount of power, and if you put it into Sleep mode can save even more. However, in Sleep mode, you will not be able to access your computer remotely. You should also make a note that a computer that is turned off but still plugged in will consume approximate 0.2W of power. To save energy, ensure to remove the plug after turning off your device.
Risks from Power Surges and Cuts
Power fluctuations and power cuts are rare but an easy method of damaging computer health. If the power surge is great enough it can cause harm to any electrical items, not only least the sensitive components in a computer.
You can safeguard against this by plugging the PC into a spike buster or surge protector. These are proposed for general use. Anyway, power cuts and fluctuation are harder to protect against. You can also use an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to protect your PC. The hard drive is the most vulnerable to damage from a power cut and it can lead to a crash where the disk is physically damaged.
There is no point turning your computer on and off multiple times a day. As well as there is definitely no harm in leaving it on overnight while you are running a complete virus scan. Time to time reboot is also necessary to cool down your computer properly.