On or Off, what should you do with your computer when not in use?

Do you shut down your computer and electronic gadgets when you are not using them?

keep-calm-turn-off-the-computer-walk-awayIn my “Camp Wired” computer classes that I teach weekly, I get this question often from students. There are so many different answers out there depending on who you talk to. This is a good topic for discussion to see what everyone’s opinions are.

So here is my professional and personal opinion. I will preface this with the fact that I am a computer repair technician and have been repairing computers since 1999. With that out of the way, If you use your computer throughout the day, it is best to leave it on. If you check your email once a day then do nothing else on your computer, then shut it down. The same applies to hardware like printers and scanners. When not in use, shut them off. This does not apply to cellphones though. Unless you want to miss messages. I have shut my cellphone off and gotten busy doing other things and wondered why the phone was not ringing.  Doh!! Blonde moment on my behalf.

It’s good for your computer to be turned off, it clears the RAM closes any processes that you aren’t using that don’t boot at start up, etc. It’s definitely something that is worthwhile.

The other night I fell asleep while working and awoke to the room being illuminated like a Christmas tree and the sound of a message coming thru. (I had my speakers on high)  I got over the initial shock and after catching my breath, and my pulse slowly going back to normal, I  shut the dang thing off completely. I also forgot to add I swore like a sailor at the computer. It was definitely not G rated.

The only time it becomes a real problem is if you shut them down incorrectly. Taking your vengeance and stress out by ripping the power cord out computer shoot 2while laughing like a maniac. Well…then you have a problem. I have to admit there have been times I wanted to feel like King Kong and rip the cord out & toss the computer out the window, but then realized what would I have to gain by doing that?

Think of it this way too. Even though computers have fans they heat up when they are turned on and heat is one of the enemies when it comes to computers. Hardware has mechanical parts that will fail eventually, so take that into consideration as well.

Many people are concerned about the cost of the power usage for devices to be plugged in. Some devices use more power than others. A tablet on a charger will not use the same amount of power as a Desktop computer that is left on. However, if a cell phone is finished charging, you should then then unplug the charger as it will still draw power even though your phone is not connected.

TURN+OFF+COMPUTERLeaving your gadgets on all the time will not hurt them but consider the security threats that might.

There are so many school of thoughts this is a good topic to see what others might think.

Reasons to leave them on

  • You are generally not a patient person and hate having to wait for anything to power up.
  • There are updates or scans or other activities you would like to occur when you are not present.
  • You’re using the computer as a server and want to access it remotely.

Reasons to turn them off

  • Computer performance benefits with a reboot from time to time.
  • You don’t want to be bothered by fan noise or notifications on screen.
  • leaving it on wastes electricity and brings up your electric bill.
  • less activity = less stress placed on components, will contribute to a longer lifespan for your computer.

So the answer is…

It all depends on how you use your computer and what you need it to do for you.


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About the Author

Sherri Meinke

A long-standing Computer Geek with over 25 years of experience. Having owned her first Apple IIe and moving on up the ranks with a multitude of Windows-based pc’s to her latest toy, a Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet with Windows 10. Sherri repairs, upgrades, and recycles computers as well as consults, trains & designs Websites. She is a Former AOL Community Leader and loves forums as well as online training. She created the "Camp Wired" computer training program at the Medina County Library system, 8 years ago. It is a free computer education program teaching technology in a relaxed atmosphere where students at all levels get to mentor other students and grow in their knowledge and understanding of technology. This program runs year round with no signs of slowing down.

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