Most of barely bothering turning off your computers. Mostly we pop the lid down and open it back up when we need to work again.
Ever wondered what consequences that bring to your machine? Some might say that frequent startups and shutdowns can wear out several components. But so is going to leave the machine running all the time.
Leaving your computer on might save you a couple of minutes when you’re resuming a session, but sometimes, it’s well worth the extra time. In this article, we look at several reasons why you’d want to leave your computer running, and why the frequent shutdown is essential, especially if you have an older machine.
Why would you keep your machine running?
So I’m taking my machine as a case study here. I have an HP ab522tx with an i5 6200-U and 8GB RAM. Not precisely modern by any standards, but still, it gets me by the day.
The PC runs on a modest 5400 RPM HDD with no SSD. So not fast by any means. The logical choice is to keep the PC running.
If I do so, I always get my PC running in a couple of seconds as compared to a whole ten minutes watching everything boot up. Personally speaking, I’m sold there and then. However, there’s more to keeping your PC running like that.
The first reason is wearing out your parts. Some parts get more affected than others, but movable parts get affected the most. If you keep your PC running 24 hours your HDD life is going to come down a lot. As with me, I’ve had to change HDDs almost every second year so far.
As you can guess, that’s a lot of trouble. Also, your fans, heatsinks and any other cooling solutions wear out as well as they have to work for much longer now. And if you’ve got a power-hungry gaming desktop, don’t be surprised when you see your power bill go through the roof.
Why should you switch off your computer?
Even if you’re a power user, there’s a reason big enough to compel you to turn off your computer every once in a while.
Performance. Yeah, the occasional reboot can help clear clutter that’s been slowing down your system.
Look at it from a software perspective. The longer you keep your PC running, the more chunk your OS and the software running on it will collect. Temporary files, zombie processes, page files. sockets, pipes, open file descriptors and memory leaks, among other things, will clog your system.
The occasional reboot and I mean a complete reboot, not sleep or hibernate, can help clear this clutter and make your computer feel fast again. This is especially notable on older systems like mine.
Now, this depends upon the system. A system with more RAM will be able to go on for much longer before needing the said reboot. Servers can go for way longer than desktops.
So when should you shutdown? Well if you’re a power user, once every 2-3 days shouldn’t hurt. If you use your computers for only a couple hours each day or even less, it might be a good idea just to turn it off after you’re done with your day’s work.