Weekend Open Forum: Do you turn your PC off at night?

By on October 28, 2011, 7:00 PM

For years we have heard the pros and cons regarding turning off your computer each night. Those in favor of the practice usually point to energy savings as their main reason for doing so. The trend of “going green” is no longer new but it’s hard to turn a cold shoulder to saving money, especially in this economy.

Those who are concerned with security point out that leaving your computer connected to the Internet unattended could make you vulnerable to attacks, however unlikely it may be. If you live in a small space like a college dorm room or keep your PC in your bedroom, leaving it powered on at all times will certainly add more heat to your surroundings – not very desirable during summer months.

Sure, you could set your PC up to go into hibernation mode to conserve energy and eliminate heat output, but several people complain that their computer behaves differently after coming out of hibernation and a full reboot is needed to remedy the situation.

Those who are against shutting down daily point to a long-running belief that booting and rebooting is hard on components and should be avoided as often as possible. Others run software in the background 24/7 like Bit Torrent clients of Folding @ Home. Some users simply want to gauge how stable their system is by measuring how long it can keep running before a reboot is necessary.

So, what’s your take on the subject? Do you typically shut down your system(s) at night or leave everything running for days, weeks or even months at a time? We’d love to hear your reasons in the comments below!

Image via LHF Graphics / Shutterstock

User Comments: 140

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Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

My electricity bill is high enough. I suspend my system overnight.

Guest said:

I honestly don't remember the last time I turned my PC off overnight. Even when I'm away on vacation I keep it on so I can assess it remotely. I reboot it as needed to apply updates, but otherwise it stays on all the time.

Cueto_99 said:

From monday to friday I leave my office PC on sleep mode, on fridays I turn it off, it's always good to start on monday with a clean desktop

I always turn off my home pc / laptop, although I will try today the hibarnate mode, and see if I get used to it.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have two old iMacs that I run F@H on 24/7 and use if I need to quickly look something up, but they are very quiet and low power. I always hibernate my main desktop if I won't be using it for more than a few hours, or put it to sleep if I will need it again sooner. Since it is in my bedroom, it is just too noisy for me to leave it running at night (not to mention the heat and wasted energy).

Guest said:

I live Off-the-Grid so power is very dear. I make do with 3KWHrs per day.

I turn off my computer when I get up to go to breakfast. I turn off my computer a least five time a day, often ten. So Windows 8's promise of faster booting is high on my want list.

Shawn Knight Shawn Knight said:

I turn my system off every night. I've never been big on hibernation modes and I don't want my cat stepping all over the keyboard doing who knows what kind of damage lol

Guest said:

Always sleep/suspend.

Guest said:

i put mine in standby when not used during the day and turn it off fully overnight

Guest said:

I am always downloading at night, and when I am in bed I always fall asleep watching a movie, or listening to music. So I require my PC being turned on 24/7

DokkRokken said:

I turn it off every night, and also during the day when not in use. An SSD boot with Windows 7 isn't very time consuming anyways.

Placeholder Placeholder said:

I sleep the laptop and hibernate the desktops unless there is a reason not to. They both come up fast, and neither seem to have any hiccups from it.

One peeve tho is I use a USB KVM switch to use the laptop and desktop between a large flatpanel and a wireless rollerball keyboard. If I let the desktop come out of hibernation before I let the laptop out of sleep, the DT takes over the KVM priority and messes up the extended desktop settings. I guess the point is, depending upon what hardware you are running, their may be a difference between how each powersave mode treats your USB bus when it's in 'off' mode...

All of it is still lightyears ahead of the windows 3.1 days, disc OS's, etc. LONG boot times when you couldn't tell if the machine is actually doing anything besides hanging. How soon we forget.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

With the cost of energy nowadays (recent price rise of almost 20% here) and the fact that I have an SSD in my rig means that I power off every night. Different story at work though - still on XP with dual core processor and mechanical hard drive... plus that's not using my electricity

Guest said:

Go to the Sleep mode

Guest said:

Sometimes I turn it off. Sometimes not.


hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

I'm surprised that so many people leave their computers on!

I turn mine off when I'm not using it. That can be a couple times a day.

KingSingh KingSingh said:

I always turn my PC off when I go to sleep. I find it unnecessary to leave my PC on as I can simply just turn it back on in the morning. Overnight, I usually can't sleep if my PC is on due to noise, heat, as well as lights in my PC. >.>

yorro said:

I always thought it was upsurd

Mizzou Mizzou said:

I run with all power management features enabled and have the system set to sleep after 30 minutes. Just takes a few seconds to restore the desktop, definitely quicker than a full boot up sequence. When going out of town I power down completely and pull the plug on the power supply just in case of lightning.

Guest said:


on October 28, 2011

8:06 PM I always turn my PC off when I go to sleep. I find it unnecessary to leave my PC on as I can simply just turn it back on in the morning. Overnight, I usually can't sleep if my PC is on due to noise, heat, as well as lights in my PC. >.>

Someone always says this and it makes me think... How small is your room ffs!

Guest said:

i shut down everytime im done using it

bfilmstudent said:

I often leave mine on. Especially if I'm rendering video. Usually takes several hours.

Guest said:

Set mine to sleep after 2 hrs. Even with an SSD, no need to fully shut down.

TJGeezer said:

Power is undependable where I live in Mexico. If I'm not there to attend to it, I turn off the machine. My UPS is only good for about 10 minutes, long enough to save any work and outlast the fairly frequent hiccups in service, and I'd rather monitor the shutdown than leave it to my software UPS oversight program. Dang newfangled gadgets.

Guest said:

i turn it off every night then turn it on in the early morning, i use it then turn it off in a bit to go to school then turn it on and keep it on all day except when not using it i let it sleep

Guest said:

I leave mine on .It is harder on hardware to shutdown and reboot.

I leave my machine doing Foldng@home all day. I don't worry about the electric charges that it produces because .I have reduced my carbon/electrical footprint more than what I use with the folding. and plan on reducing it further. Most people don't realize how much power all their appliance and lighting take...just switching your lighting from bulb to LED would probably pay for the power used by your computer.

Going green is the way to go...but going green with purpose is better. Folding helps medical science that could one day save a member of your family. A reason enough for me to continue that while finding ways to go green.

Guest said:

yes, of course. and from outlet, too.

only medieval people don't do this.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Always on and 100% CPU

I'm part of Folding@home project, my PC runs 24/7 regardless of whether I am on the PC or not.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I used to leave my rig on 24/7, but noticed it was considerably hotter in my office, and hallway, than in the rest of the house.The temp has been a lot more comfortable in the evenings since I began shutting my pc off. Another plus is that my power bill is consistently $70-$90 less each month. I don't think of it as "going green", so much as plain old smart economics.

bchen88c said:

I put my laptop into low power consumption settings at night (not sleeping it), because the next day I typically SSH tunnel into it from my school network to bypass school filters (SOCKS5 proxy) and to access documents as well. Very helpful.

Guest said:

straight on all time.

just reboot when it crashes.

and it just goes off when have a blackout.

Guest said:

I let it suspend to ram (s2ram) after 60 minutes w/o use or overnight. It just takes a few seconds to wake up in OpenSUSE.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I turn it off at night now. Back in the day when I had a much slower internet connection, I used to leave it on all night to download stuff, but now the connection is fast enough not to worry about it.

Guest said:

Why would i want to wear out my hardware by leaving it on 24/7? Not to say that i don't leave my p4 fileserver on from time to time but that also seeds my favorite versions of linux. I feel that power savings and saving my hard drive life is much more important. Also gaming rigs suck a $hitload of juice.

negroplasty negroplasty said:

Stay on 24/7 365. I've heard it can hurt your machine turning it on and off frequently as when you kill the power your system continues to heat up for a short period of time, if turning off after heavy use you can see the potential for problems here. My computers have always stayed on with their hard drives spinning. No longevity problems as of yet.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have one computer that I keep on 24/7, for whatever tasks I decide for it to do. This system does not use much power, so I am not terribly concerned. I put my other "main" computer on standby whenever I'm gone during the day and at night I sometimes outright turn it off, though the later is not regularly part of my routine.

Guest said:

i have always shut down at night, except when i was in the business. we had novell server that ran for 8 years without a reboot. sure wish windows could do that.

Guest said:

My computers stays on 24/7. At night when I am asleep is when my computers run backups, disk cleanup, defrag, scans, ect... I also have security cams connected to my pc and a lot of other programs such as ftp, network scanners, ect.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I only leave my computer on at day when I leave something downloading, every other case and over nights I turn it off. It is unnecesary to leave it powered when I'm not even at home, specially since boot times are of around a minute or minute and a half.

Guest said:

I never shut my main PC down and haven't for years. One of the main reasons is that I remotely access it when I am not at home using Orb or Splashtop.

treeski treeski said:

"Going green" be damned lol. I turn my computer off every night to save money. It's a pointless waste otherwise, except for a rare occassion when I have something to download over night.

PinothyJ said:

At the wall...

yRaz yRaz said:

It gets cold in my room at night and my computer doubles as a space heater. I also need the ambient noise of the fans to put me to sleep at night.

Guest said:

Suspend every time I get up from the computer and shut down if more than a few hours.

TrueBooleanFals TrueBooleanFals said:

cut it off at night, the bright blue LEDs would keep my wife awake all night and would heat the room to a temperature I couldn't sleep with. During the day, it's only on when I feel like it or if the wife wants to surf the web. Fast boots, decent net, 380w/h usage, why keep it on like back in the day. I can't believe I used to keep my 750w PC on when I lived with my parents...

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I always turn my computers off when I'm not using them.

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Shut down before I go to work, turn back on when I get home after 14 hours. However, depending on if I'm working on any projects then I leave it on.

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

negroplasty said:

Stay on 24/7 365. I've heard it can hurt your machine turning it on and off frequently as when you kill the power your system continues to heat up for a short period of time, if turning off after heavy use you can see the potential for problems here. My computers have always stayed on with their hard drives spinning. No longevity problems as of yet.

Probably depends on the component. However I also did hear specifically about GPU users who have long gaming sessions with their GPUs heating up, and then shutting the computer down immediately leaves all the heat inside the GPU. Some suggested to let it cool down first before shutting it off. Sorta makes sense.

mailpup mailpup said:

I shut mine down at the end of the day or if I know I won't be using it for awhile.

learninmypc learninmypc said:

Many years ago when I was reading a similiar article from Kim Komando

She said it was best to leave your pc on 24/7, 365 so it would get virus/malware updates as they arrived.

That was good enough for me,but since I also listen to the tunes on my pc to sleep by, I can't really turn it off. So yes, I leave mine on all the time. rebooting a few times a day.

Guest said:

I shut my pc down every night, my roomate leaves his on. Guess who has more trouble with their pc? He does, period. I know this is by no means difinitive but it saves energy and I feel more secure.

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