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Leave it ON!

Written on September 20, 2019 by Chad Warmenhoven
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What's the point of this article?

While the arguments for both sides are fairly strong and the answer depends on what your use case is for your system, most of our customers use their systems for work so we will be approaching the argument from that angle.

The Meat & Potatoes

If you use your computer as often as we think you do, a restart once or twice a week is sufficient. Shutting down over a long weekend or whenever you will be away from the computer for a few days is enough. For most of our users, WE recommend leaving the system on, here’s why:

Instant Access

If your system is always turned on you’ll have immediate access to anything you need and can even use a number of remote software systems to access your files or folders.

Easier Updates

Windows systems update regularly, automatically (if configured correctly) and only require a restart when a very critical update comes through. Leaving your system on will ensure that you don’t wait for any updates when powering up your system first thing in the morning. You may still need to wait for an update to install from time to time but you control when that happens as you get to choose when the system restarts after an update.

Safety

Numerous different types of software schedule themselves for late night operations. This can be as simple as a software update or system backups, and could also be as significant as your Virus scanner or uploading large amounts of data. These tasks can use up a decent amount of system resources and bandwidth as well as taking a long time. Performing these tasks overnight is a great way to avoid interruption.

Convenience

Most Puget computers boot up in under a minute when we ship them and, depending on the types of software running, should still boot about that quickly. Even if your system does boot quickly, that’s a few minutes each day that you aren’t working and if there is a pending update that can really interrupt your workflow. When the system is on and updates are scheduled, this issue is circumvented. All your previously launched applications will be running already and will only take a moment to dive back into.
 

If you are the type of user that only accesses their system every other day you might find it more beneficial to turn your system off more frequently. Here’s why:

System Lifespan

Every component in your system has a lifespan. While SSDs last significantly longer than HDDs, they still don’t last forever. Monitors and their cables can wear out, chips can fail and circuits can short. An electronic device can only have so much energy pumped through it before it dies. The reality is, most of your devices will have been replaced and upgraded long before you see their end of life. This doesn’t mean you need to subject your system to persistent stress, heat and energy use 24/7 if you only use the system every once in a while.

Power Loss

In the event your home loses power or god forbid lightning strikes, a surge can damage electrical items and high power systems. Plugging your system into a surge protector can help prevent these types of issues but when your system drops power you run the risk of losing critical data or even damaging the OS. Preventing power loss is challenging but with a UPS you would have significant protection against both surges and sudden power loss. Check out this article if you have questions about UPS devices. 

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/support-hardware/How-To-Select-The-Right-Uninterruptible-Power-Supply-UPS-For-Your-Computer-1169/

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Tags: 10, Windows 10, Advice, Hardware, Technology
Jan Dorniak

Where is sleep? You completely skip over it... And there is no link to UPS article.

Posted on 2019-09-21 17:43:36
Chad Warmenhoven

Thanks so much for the feedback and I have added the UPS article link. As for sleep, we really focused just on the objective of this article which was whether or not we recommend turning your computer off, or leaving it on. For some great Sleep articles check out this link: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

The "How to disable Sleep Mode or Hibernation" is a particularly good read and is one of the primary reasons we don't recommend using sleep. More trouble than it's worth in our experience.

Posted on 2019-09-23 00:13:38
Jan Dorniak

Still, it would be prudent to at the very least mention it - even with just the statement in your reply.

And I know it is a hassle, no matter Windows or Linux.

Posted on 2019-09-24 12:08:07

Interesting article, thanks for the opinion as always. My system has a liquid AIO and for that reason alone I shut down the system when not needed.

Posted on 2019-09-22 16:03:03
Randy Fellmy

My understanding is that when any electronic equipment is cold-started, the change stresses it a bit. (Perhaps not the same thing, but remember how, when an old-fashioned incandescent light bulb burnt out, it was almost always right when you turned it on?)

With modern computer equipment, is it possible to quantify the trade-off in terms of wear and tear? That is, for what length of time turned off does the reduction in power-on hours contribute more to longevity than you lose from subjecting the components to another off/on cycle?

Posted on 2019-09-22 17:41:10

The effect you mentioned is referred to as the early in-rush current.

Posted on 2019-09-22 19:13:27
Chad Warmenhoven

Thanks for the question Randy and with today's technology and advanced chips the 'stress' really isn't an issue like it used to be. an Inrush current (or surge) when a system is initially turned on are usually only translated to the Power Supply Unit (PSU). PSUs can produce large inrush current right as they are turned on because of the charging current of the APFC capacitor(s). Large inrush current can cause the tripping of circuit breakers and fuses and may also damage switches or relays but it doesn't translate into the system. PSUs are designed to stop it before it moves into critical components such as the CPU or Motherboard using capacitors and transformers. The on/off cycle really isn't as critical an experience as it used to be. Think of current cars designed with auto on/off when they come to a stop. The advances in technology allow this to be completed without excessive wear or damage, the same is true with current generations of computer equipment!

Posted on 2019-09-23 00:19:19
Paul

I know their are discussions for both leaving it on and turning it OFF. I prefer to turn it OFF when done with my work, reason being is when the system starts back up it re-aligns all the programs so as you will Not Have Problems. As far as the power surge, I have a Master Piece power protector and strip, we get power surges here quite often and have lost numerous appliances, (Just lost the Dishwasher), Even with the Protector it will bypass and blow the computer out. Now lets add a lightning STRIKE, we have been hit 3 times, lost a computer system once, so I prefer to Powered IT OFF.

Posted on 2019-10-01 11:33:10
James Blier

How much money is spent on energy to keep a PC running overnight or when out on errands and not in use versus the cost of PC repairs due to often starting one up and shutting one down in the average USA town/city (electrical prices) and average or above average build PC?

Posted on 2019-10-08 11:58:32
ep5tv

A good (which means NOT consumer-grade) UPS is essential, as you note, but there is one thing which the UPS may not do for you. We had our office extremely well protected with industrial-grade suppressors and redundant levels of transient isolators . . . and lost thousands of dollars in gear when a very nearby lightning strike dumped enough energy into the DSL line to wreak havoc. And don't expect the phone company to care when their failure to protect their line costs you.

Posted on 2019-10-08 13:09:44
Joseph Francis

I’m usually looking for ways to keep the computer from slowing down or sleeping while rendering graphics overnight. I find no matter what I do the renders seem to slow down after I’m afk for a while. In addition to all the power profile settings, I’ve even tried mouse jigglers. So I usually turn the computer off if it’s not rendering. In its normal power profile it does seem to conserve resources nicely when left on, but it’s not often in that mode here.

Posted on 2019-10-08 14:33:07