Should you Shut Down Your PC at night?

shut-down1Should you shut down your PC if you are not going to use it for several hours, or at night? I’ve been asking myself the same question over the years. On one hand, I didn’t want to waste power and on the other hand I didn’t want to cause any damage by turning it on and off every day. When I used to keep my PC in my bedroom, I turned it off every night, but only because it was noisy.

Modern PCs are much quieter so noise shouldn’t be an issue. The question is, will frequent shutting down damage the PC in any way? I had to do some research…

Few years ago it was probably not a good idea to shut down the PC at night, as hard drives would start and stop frequently and wear out quickly, and subsequently fail. Today, however, the quality of the mechanisms in hard drives is much better and they are made to last longer. So it makes sense to shut down at night, mainly to save power. New hard drives are made to last up to 5 years before dying (which reminds me, my Seagate hdd is close to 5 years old!).

There are several options to turn off your computer: Shut Down, Hibernate and Standby are the most frequently used ones.

  • Shut down turns off the PC completely. You will lose all work that you haven’t saved and no power will be used while it’s off. I always use this option.
  • Hibernate is a similar option. It saves an exact image of your Windows desktop, then shuts down the PC. When you awaken from hibernation, everything is back where you last had it.
  • Standby turns off power to hardware components like the hard drive, monitor and other components, but continues to power the RAM, so everything you were doing stays active. Next time you turn the PC back on, you’ll continue your last operations and you shouldn’t lose anything.

Heat is much more dangerous and threatening to hard drives. Therefore, you must ensure that your PC stays cool. Make sure you have extra fans in the PC case and that you work in an air conditioned room. Also, keep the dust away from the motherboard and especially the power supply. Clean the inside of the case at least once a month. This way your PC will work and last longer.

Another important thing: Make sure your computer is plugged into a surge protector!

Source: Yahoo Tech Blog

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