Should I turn my PC off every night?

This is a point of contention among computer users worldwide. Most recommend minimizing the number of times any electronic device is powered off and on, to lengthen the life of both electrical components such as the CPU, and mechanical components such as fans and hard drives. You never want to repeatedly turn your PC off and on during the day; instead just leave it on all day long. Therefore the only question is whether to turn the computer off at night.

Justification exists for both sides. PCs that are left on overnight can be backed up automatically, but turning off the PC saves power and creates less heat. We generally recommend a middle position, and tell users to turn off their monitor at night but leave the PC running. This approach allows network connections to stay up as well. Of course, any running programs should be closed every night to prevent data loss in case of a power failure. Today's "green" PCs have power saving built in, which allows PCs to enter sleep mode at night, yet still wake up in time to be backed up.

January 2000

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