Is it OK to leave the computer on all day long?

2010 September 4
by J Storlie
Its OK to leave the computer on overnight

Its OK to leave the computer on overnight

Sure, we love it when they catch on fire and you come in crying. No, I’m just kidding. A lot of us leave our computers on all the time. It’s really not that big of a deal, most of the time.

In fact, we wonder why no one asks whether or not it’s OK to turn it off for long periods of time. Leaving your computer off for a long time can allow dust to get into your tower and settle into the various components within. Then, when you go to turn it on, it can spark or ignite and maybe even smoke up the house.

But when you leave your machine on, it keeps the fan running. That keeps a lot of dust from getting into the tower. This does not mean no dust will get in, just less. If you suspect you have dust in your tower, check out “How to Clean Inside your Computer.”

By turning your computer on and off, you could be causing excessive wear and tear on the various components, that are designed to run, not to be turned on and off. Just like a car, the process of turning your machine on uses significantly more power, and may end up costing you more than leaving the machine on all hours.

There are some times when you need to leave your computer on overnight or while you are at work due to uploads or downloads that are excessively large and will take many hours to transfer. Or you may prefer to do maintenance such as virus scans and software updates overnight when you are not using your machine, as they can slow response time down. This is perfectly fine and will not hurt your computer in the slightest.

Even if you do leave your computer on all the time, you will need to do the occasional reboot which is fine, since the computer needs to do maintenance as well as clear out the memory. But this is not something that needs to be done on a daily basis, it can be done every few days or on a weekly basis if that works better for you. If you do find your computer is not running at its best, go ahead and reboot it to give it a chance to clean out its memory.

One thing to consider doing if you leave your computer on all the time is to turn off the monitor, or put it into power saving mode. This way you will save power. Laptops generally have built-in features for saving power, especially when you’re running on batteries.

If you still can’t decide, you may want to leave it on from morning to night, but turn it off overnight while you are sleeping, unless you’re transferring files, running system maintenance or regularly scheduled virus scans.

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