Computer always on

  • Thread starter quasi426
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I was wondering if anyone knew if it is better to keep your computer on as much as possible, or is it better to shut it down when you are not using it? Will the computer have a longer "lifespan" if the on-off cycles are minimized vs. keeping it on all the time.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
dduardo
Staff Emeritus
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That's a myth. Your computer will be fine if you turn it off. I still have a computer that is +10 years old that I turned off every day.
 
  • #3
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quasi426 said:
I was wondering if anyone knew if it is better to keep your computer on as much as possible, or is it better to shut it down when you are not using it? Will the computer have a longer "lifespan" if the on-off cycles are minimized vs. keeping it on all the time.
One thing is for sure, your electric bill will be a lot higher.
 
  • #4
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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ComputerGeek said:
One thing is for sure, your electric bill will be a lot higher.
$20/month/computer here in California according to my measurements. I'm pretty sure its more though because I didn't measure a few other things related to my computer (speakers, router and modem... and theres something else plugged in there that I can't see).

I would have thought that keeping your computer on would put more strain on the circuits... but oh well... aren't they designed to last decades now-a-days?
 
  • #5
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From what I remember, the computer has to heat up so the parts expand a little bit. When they cool down they contract again. Thus the constant retracting will damage them over time. However, I still think this is a myth. I've been into computer science a long time. I never have been able to find the validity of this.
 
  • #6
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I like standby.
 
  • #7
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For some reason windows xp (valid and upgraded) will not let me choose standby mode. The button for standby is there when i go to shut down, but for some reason it is dark or shaded and I can choose that option. I am only able to choose standby or shut down. Can anyone help here? Thanks.
 
  • #8
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I used to turn my computers off to get to sleep, but now I figured uptime is better than sleep. :)

Why would you want to leave your computer on 24/7 anyway?
 
  • #9
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quasi426 said:
For some reason windows xp (valid and upgraded) will not let me choose standby mode. [...] Can anyone help here?
google.com/search?q=xp+standby
 
  • #10
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gazzo said:
I used to turn my computers off to get to sleep, but now I figured uptime is better than sleep. :)

Why would you want to leave your computer on 24/7 anyway?

what ?
your kidding right ?
 
  • #11
rho
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some operating systems do perform maintenance routines at certain times (i.e at night). I just log out and switch the display off.
 
  • #12
ranger
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gazzo said:
Why would you want to leave your computer on 24/7 anyway?
The computer could be a server of some sort.
 
  • #13
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turning on and off the computer brings the harddrive platter to a complete stop rather than just a slower revolution. everytime the harddrive is stopped, wear and tear occurs. for the harddrive, leaving it on is actually better.

leaving the computer on 24/7 may not be good for the rest of the computer though, especially if the CPU is v-modded or even just running hot. fans also will wear and more dust will be sucked in
 
  • #14
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Myth... does no damage at all...

Axeae... everytime you the arm moves in an Hd you get wear and tear
 
  • #15
ranger
Gold Member
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everytime you the arm moves in an Hd you get wear and tear
Does that mean that the platters gets scratched or something?
 
  • #16
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I turn off my computers at home and leave my one at work running, but log off. I think if you use it intermitantly throughout the day, it would be better to leave it on, but log off and shut down the monitor or let it go to sleep mode, mainly for a time saving. It's much faster to just log on than restart.

At home I go for hours between uses so I turn them off. I have a wireless network and it sometimes locks up on me if the computers are left on continuously, so I have to restart to reset it anyway. Does this hurt the computer? I have one that is over eight years old (a cheapy E-machine) that is still running great.
 
  • #17
hotvette
Homework Helper
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axeae said:
turning on and off the computer brings the harddrive platter to a complete stop rather than just a slower revolution. everytime the harddrive is stopped, wear and tear occurs. for the harddrive, leaving it on is actually better
Not true, actually. Continuous POH (power on hours) is worse. Reliability is a function of usage, not non usage. Start/stop isn't an issue. The typical start/stop spec on a hard drive is in the 40k-50k range. Even if you turned your computer on/off 4 times a day (not so unusual for a laptop, actually), you'd get <15k in a 10 year period. By all means, turn it off.

Actually, there is another reason, not having to do with hardware. I always rest easier knowing that I boot up Windows fresh each day. We've all had situations where something goofy happens and re-booting fixes the problem. Whatever happened was obvious enough for you to notice. If Windows were to be left on all of the time, who knows what strange subtle thinks happen over time..........
 
  • #18
98
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The longer you go between restarts, the weirder Windows gets.
It is best to give Windows a chance to stop all processes and restart fresh regularly.
 
  • #19
Danger
Gold Member
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With the exception of power failures or time-out for installations, mine is never turned off. The display shuts down automatically after 5 minutes of non-use, the HD after 10 minutes, and the whole system goes to sleep after 15. Those periods work best for me, but can be set to anything through the control panel.
 
  • #20
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current generation of computers idle wattage is about 200W maybe...more with the higher TDP processors like prescott/dual smithfields. help the planet, help your pocket, turn it off. if you have regular nightmares about shutting down too often killing ur data, one word: backups.
 
  • #21
-Job-
Science Advisor
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ranger said:
Does that mean that the platters gets scratched or something?
The heads never touch the disks, if they did, you'd get a head crash and probably goodbye to your hd, so i don't think scratching should occur.

I have a web server so i need to keep it on all the time. I noticed an increase in my electricity bill, but there's no other way, especially since the Windows Server OS when running as an Active Directory Server takes at least 15 minutes to shut down and 10 minutes to start.
 
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