Should you leave your computer on or switch it off at night?

Do you have to switch off your computer at night?

Torso of man in a shirt using computer and mouse

There's a widespread belief that it's bad to leave your computer turned on all the time, but is there any truth to this claim? Here's how to ensure your device has a long life. 

According to technology experts, leaving your computer on all the time is less stressful than switching it on and off multiple times during the day.

Each time you turn on your computer, a small surge of power causes all the components to wake up and start spinning. Making your computer run through this motion several times every day can lead to a shortened lifespan. This risk is greater the older your computer is.

However, that’s not to say that leaving your computer on all the time doesn’t have its effects. As with any mechanical parts, constant use over time will eventually wear them down. Leaving your computer on all time often means heavier power usage, and can make it a pain to reboot after you eventually shut down, because the computer will take some extra time to process all the new information it has received before starting up again.

So, should you shut down or leave it on? It all comes down to how much you use your computer. If you use it several times throughout the day, it’s better to leave it running and let it slip into sleep mode. However, if you only jump on to it once in a day for a couple of hours, say to check emails or Facebook, then you can turn it off once you’re done.

As a recommendation, if you leave your computer on for weeks at a time, one thing you can do to extend its life is to perform a complete shutdown once per month. Also, once per week, close down your programs and restart the computer. This allows the machine to consolidate all information and clears it of old data that could be clogging it up.



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    27th Jun 2017
    I worked in the computer industry for around 40 years, mainly as an engineer. My experience was that you can turn it off every day just fine. If you leave it on all the time, it will be ok too, but there is a small chance something may fail on a power cycle after a long period of constant running (more so than one that is conditioned to daily cycles)
    27th Jun 2017
    Well, uh, hm.
    If you hibernate that is not like shutting down. Also if you have a solid state hard drive the start up time is significantly faster.
    Heat is the killer of computers. That is why I bough one with a solid state hard drive.
    There aren't too many bits that whirr and go round..........other than the fan.
    Of course you need to restart occasionally to get a clean slate and to install updates as well as when you install certain new programs.
    Don't lose any sleep about it Amelia.
    27th Jun 2017
    I would turn mine off at the power point and had lots of cases where the computer ID was lost and couldn't reconnect to the service provider which was Bigpond.

    At the time I didn't know where the shutdown /restart control was, as I just changed to windows 10 and had to seek professional help. I eventually found the restart, as it was an option on the power icon.

    Now I just let it hibernate what ever that does? so when it looses ID now, I just restart and its good again.
    27th Jun 2017
    Not to mention of course the drain on electricity of leaving any appliance, including the computer, on standby.
    27th Jun 2017
    Not to mention the power usage is around 10 cents/hour when on, but probably about half if on sleep
    27th Jun 2017
    Most of we home dwellers have laptops these days. Switch them off and leave them somewhere that won't set the house on fire should the batteries explode. Its an unlikely scenario but you don't get a second chance when it comes to house fires.
    As someone in worked in rooms full of computers every now and then one would fuse out and you smell the burning components. Its less frequent now unless of course its a Samsung 7.
    27th Jun 2017
    Does this apply to iPads, I just close the lid then when I open it again and type in the pass number everything comes on, as you can probably tell computers are not my first language.
    28th Jun 2017
    Instead of just leaving and it "hibernating" I notice that MS windows 7 does the usual updating of the operating system and virus protection etc when you initiate switch off. That is before it completely turns off itself. So is that something to consider as being desirable and a reason for turning off say each day and is the protection done properly by MS ??
    4th Jul 2017
    I had a friend who went on holiday and when he got back found his (always on)PC had been hacked and used as a server for illegal (torrent) downloads . This was back in the day when you paid by the megabyte , it cost him thousands. Just consider that a hacker has plenty of time to hack into your computer if its on 24/7 . you cant hack in if its turned off .
    30th Aug 2017
    Better to switch the modem off.
    17th Oct 2017
    I have been using PC''s for over twenty years and have always switched them off after a days usage. If I stop using during the day then I hibernate so it comes up quick later in the day.

    As long as you shutdown correctly at night you should not have a problem If you do occasionally do not always blame the fact that you shut it down caused it.

    As a matter of fact if you do not ever shut it down then all the crap (temporary files for example) stay there and gradually fill up your disk space. Shutting down also clears up other things. A lot of updating is also performed during a full startup.

    Look at it this way. Would you leave your car running overnight just in case it may not start the next morning?
    17th Oct 2017
    Another point I should make (especially if you have just bought a new computer or laptop)

    Most electronics are not all perfect. out of say 100 computers there will be a small percentage that may have a flakey component.

    If you do not switch off your computer then it may be fine. But what happens a year and a day later and your computer powers down because of a power outage or you may decide to do it.

    Hard luck you are one day out of warranty.

    Shutting down your computer may not immediately pick up this this flakey component but as they can degrade over time but will eventually and shutting down will eventually make it fail and 99% of the time during the warranty period.
    11th Jan 2018
    "As a matter of fact if you do not ever shut it down then all the crap (temporary files for example) stay there and gradually fill up your disk space."

    Download, install and use a program called CCleaner. It will take care of that problem.

    23rd Oct 2017
    I've stored an eye fixed out on your article of Australian Essay Help, it's miles staggeringly illuminating and obliging for me. I recognize the sincere to goodness statistics you provide in your articles. A commitment of appreciation is all round to put up it.
    11th Jan 2018
    Your English is appalling.
    11th Jan 2018
    I agree with Knowsalot
    5th Jun 2018
    No name supplied also.

    11th Jan 2018
    When I'm not using this computer for lengthy periods, I put it into sleep mode. Rebooting it takes a long time.
    27th Jan 2018
    Sleep is OK for short periods.
    It's also OK for a Notebook with a good battery and plugged in, and for a Desktop if you have an UPS (uninterruptible power supply) with a good battery.
    But if you lose power and the battery runs out and the PC shuts down without running its proper shutdown sequence you can end up with a corrupt system and/or data loss.
    27th Jan 2018
    Microsoft changed the Shutdown process in Windows 10.
    In previous Windows Versions, both "Shutdown" and "Restart" did a complete system shutdown and clear-out of volatile data etc.

    BUT in Windows 10 If you use "Shutdown" it actually does the equivalent of Hibernate.
    That is, it records its current system state (including any errors) in a hidden system file called "hiberfil.sys" before powering off.
    Next time you turn it on again, it reads "hiberfil.sys" and opens at the same system state (including all those errors) as it was in before the shutdown. This allows it to boot-up faster but system errors don't get cleared and tend to build up over time, slowing it down and possibly resulting in lock-ups.

    To clear these system errors, you have to use "Restart"
    Restart momentarily completely shuts the system down, unloading drivers, clearing memory caches, etc. Then it starts up again in a fresh state without referencing the "hyberfil.sys" file, thus clearing out the build-up of errors.
    This is also why you must use "Restart" NOT "Shutdown" after installing some Updates in Windows 10, to unload the old drivers and load up the new ones.

    So, if you have Windows 10, Shutdown and Hibernate are virtually the same, so just use Shutdown at the end of each day.
    But also, take the time use Restart every couple of days (and especially after updates if you don't have it set to automatically restart)
    23rd Mar 2018
    So do I turn it off once a week then ?
    5th Jun 2018
    Mine goes day and night.
    5th Jun 2018
    Mine goes day and night.

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