# Do you leave your computer running?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by clusteringflux, Feb 28, 2008.

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## Is it better to leave computers running?

17 vote(s)
50.0%
2. ### no

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1. ### clusteringfluxVersion 1. OH!Valued Senior Member

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Is it better to leave your computer running all the time or turn it off every night.
We will assume you are not hooked to the net and not prone to virus and hackers.
Also, assume there is no energy issues and we are trying to achieve the longest life span of the components of the computer.

3. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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I either put mine into hibernation or standby mode when I shut it down. I also remove the DSL line to the modem.

5. ### clusteringfluxVersion 1. OH!Valued Senior Member

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I think they run better if they are left on. JMO. Not sure how it affects the lifespan

7. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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6,221
The main problem with turning your computer on and off constantly is that everything heats up (and so expands slightly) when you turn it on, and cools down (shrinking slightly) when you turn it off. This stresses the components, and eventually something somewhere in the system will break/fail because of the repeated stress from expanding and shrinking. By simply leaving everything on all the time, you avoid that.

On the other hand, I'm sure there is some finite length of time that your computer can remain on before something fails. I don't really know how long you have to leave the computer on before the accumulated damage from running constantly is worse than the stress of making the system cool and then warm back up.

8. ### nietzschefanThread KillerValued Senior Member

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Waste of power. Only Servers should be kept running. Been turning off and on for years and years. If any components fail because of this - they should be replaced anyway.

9. ### kmguruStaff Member

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Most of the time I put the computer in hibernation at night...but if I am downloading something...it stays on....

Zonealarm lock up the internet after 30 minutes of idle time....I have never had hard disk problem this way...ever. But my son who left his laptop on for 4 years 24X7, had to replace his hard disk a month ago. He was pissed.

10. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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I log off the internet, but leave the power on on a powersaving mode. According to a friend, turning on and off can damage some components.

There are arguments for turning it off, however.

1. Cost. Turning off the computer when not in use can save you upto $200 a year 2. Most companies will give you a three year full replacement warranty for$150. Turn off the computer and use the warranty.

3. Climate change.
Leaving your PC on 24/7 can release upto 1500 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If you have to leave it on, consider joining a distributed computing network .

11. ### StryderKeeper of "good" ideas.Valued Senior Member

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Depending on the OS would decide the stability of a system being left on for long durations.

Something like *BSD or a Linux build is capable of running for months with no harmful effects to the operating system (although it would still consume energy, put wear upon your equipment etc)

Running a windows system however could be a problem, windows does a lot of activities when you shutdown or bootup, it can "initialise" values as well as saving/setting them etc. Leaving a windows system running for a long duration of time will likely leave you open to buffer overflows. It's not just down to the operating system but the software that runs with it too.

Personally I shut my computer down, Save some power and lengthen the life of my hardware.

12. ### kmguruStaff Member

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11,757
My company desktop at work runs on W2K and stays on all the time except on power save option that turns off the hard disk and monitor after 2 hour and 45 minutes respectively. Never had any buffer overflow or other windows artifacts. The only thing I do is run the automated diskeeper....

13. ### StryderKeeper of "good" ideas.Valued Senior Member

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You'd probably notice if you rebooted.

14. ### kmguruStaff Member

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Yes, come to think of it, I have rebooted a few times. The reason those problem happens is because when you run multiple applications, the CPU runs at 99% and there is disk thrashing (this happens to mainframes too) then the data gets written at the wrong place and then the computer can not find it because the index does not match. While main frames have better error corrections, PCs do not....hence the problem.

You are right.

15. ### RubiksMasterReal eyes realize real liesRegistered Senior Member

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The main reason I don't leave mine on is because of heat issues. I have a lack of fans in my PC, and I have a lot of hard drives. I like to give it a chance to cool down, so I usually shut it down at night.

16. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Once I started to mess around with the hibernation mode, and boy, I got all kind of overheating problems. Never tried that again...

17. ### kmguruStaff Member

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My primary hard drive has a fan with temperature indicator. Then I use several USB drives, some have fans and some do not....

18. ### Avatarsmoking revolverValued Senior Member

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Lately I've started to power down my main computer at night because I noticed the background noise affects my dreaming.

19. ### RubiksMasterReal eyes realize real liesRegistered Senior Member

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Well, I was talking about leaving it completely awake. When I started using hibernation, it would sometimes not fully wake up (it would just hang at a black screen), and I would have to hit the switch. One of those times ended up killing my hard drive. That was my second dead drive in a 6 month period, and I didn't feel like taking anymore risks.

20. ### Dr MabusePercipient ThaumaturgistRegistered Senior Member

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turning power on to any electrical appliance, including a computer, is the most 'damaging' event to the circuits... shy of outright too much heat... any good electrician knows this...

powering on from a conditioned power source helps though... i use APC SmartUPS boxes on everything...

i leave my systems on... with power saving options enabled... but never hibernate, windows is buggy on that...

i do that on the SUN boxes... the Wintel boxes... Linux and BSD boxes...

i had a Sparc Solaris box functioning as a windows domain controller run almost 3 years with no rebooting required... i only powered down to add another SUN SCSI card and a disk array...

Solaris is the best OS man has created yet...

Last edited: Feb 29, 2008
21. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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Electricians are not experts on electronics. That applies to things with constant-RPM motors, because they draw more current when they're not turning. And perhaps vacuum tubes, although being turned on is also hard on them so there's probably a threshold of how long you're going to leave them turned off. So it's probably hard on your disk drive and your fan.

Computers have had built-in power conditioning since at least the first third-generation mainframes with integrated circuits, and possibly some of the second-generation transistor machines.

22. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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By the way the OP's question is a very old one and there is no definitive answer.

I would say if you use your computer everyday, leave it on, if you go away for more than a day, turn it off. Since I use the computer from early morning to late night, it is not being used only for 9 hours max.... If it is a work computer only (9-5) that is a different question and powering down would make more sense...

23. ### 15ofthe1935 year old virginRegistered Senior Member

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I never l turn a computer off unless I'm leaving town for several days, or working on it, or it requires a reboot. It's the most stressful thing on the machine that you can do, and when a machine is idle, it uses very little energy.