May 052010
 

Should you leave your computer on overnight? It all depends upon the specific use of the computer and the nature of tasks being performed on it. For example, if the computer is being used for the processes like taking backups, scanning disks, defragmentation or for some other scanning processes, then leaving the computer on during those nights would be a definite “yes”.  However, if the the computer is used frequently, perhaps with some intervals of non-use, then the system should probably be set to “sleep” automatically after a certain period of idleness. The “sleep” settings can be adjusted for a light or deep slumber to occur to match your exact needs and personal experience. A “light” slumber, a.k.a. “sleep” in Windows, puts your computer in a low-power state where it’s almost immediately ready to use when you need to get back to work (it wakes up quickly). The “deep” slumber, a.k.a. “hibernate mode” in Windows, puts your computer in the lowest-power state, but it takes longer to get back to work when you wake it up from “hibernation”.

Since it depends on your own circumstances, here are the pros and cons of leaving your computer on overnight to consider:

Pros of leaving your computer on overnight:

  • Skipping the boot process gives you an instant access to the applications you want to use on your computer the next day.
  • If your antivirus program is configured to scan overnight, or other automated tasks are scheduled, then your computer will receive the regular maintenance that it needs.
  • Keeping your computer on avoids the wear and tear of components associated with heat-up and cool-down.

Cons of leaving your computer on overnight:

  • If your computer is being used for some business purposes or contains important or private data, then leaving your computer on exposes it to additional risk from bad guys: generally, today’s computers are always connected to the Internet, which means increased exposure to hackers and malicious software like computer worms.
  • Most of the latest computers built today include an option for sleep mode, but Sleep mode on computers still uses some electricity, and the most economic thing to do is to turn off the computer at night. Some older computers don’t have option for sleep mode, so if you have an older computer you should turn it off to save the electricity cost. When computer is being set to sleep mode (on Standby or Hibernate), electricity consumption goes down to about 1/10th of its normal use – about 0-6 watts. This is a good option (second to shutting it off of course) to save power (and money).
  • Some of the computer programs becomes less prone to crashes if the computer system is rebooted when the computer is turned on again in the morning. Windows is an example of such computer programs called “operating systems”. Most home computers use Windows. Thus, your computer is more likely to crash if always left on.
  • If a fan running inside the system dies, some of the major hardware components like processor or motherboard chip can get very warm inside, resulting in damage like crashes and data loss. The pc may smoke and stink up the house if your power supply goes bad overnight. Thus, an unmonitored computer presents additional fire and data loss risk. Monitors are also vulnerable to fires in some cases which can further cause problems as there is a lot of burnable material around the pc.
  • Since some of the components like case fans inside the computer have limited lifespans, leaving your pc on overnight may reduce the life of those components more so than other components that do better when you leave the computer on.

How much electricity does my computer use? Desktop computer systems are generally labeled with electricity usage of around 300 watts max (which is not applicable most of the time). On average, these computers regularly consume about 60 – 70 watts when being used in a typical manner.  When a particular computer switches to sleep mode (aka “standby”, “hibernate”) the electricity uses goes down to 0-12 watts.

Almost all of the latest computers can be set to sleep automatically after a certain amount of idle time which saves energy during the times when not a single process is running on the computer system and is completely idle. It is also the best and easiest way to save on computer energy use.

How to Save Power Automatically: Setting the computer to auto sleep mode:

In conclusion, the tradeoffs make it better for some to leave their computer on, and better for others to turn their computer off at night. If you are concerned about power usage, then you should look into the energy saver options. For many, leaving the computer on at night vs turning it off is a wash. Consider that it takes your time (and patience) to power up and down the computer with each power cycle, and that it might not be cost effective to cycle the computer’s power more than once a day. If your computer is scheduled to perform tasks like virus removals or defragmentations on a regular schedule, then you should leave your computer on during those nights when the routine maintenance is performed. If the environment is a primary concern, then you will probably save the most energy by making use of sleep mode, and turning off your computer over night. The tradeoff will be a slower access to your computer.

EFFECTS OF LEAVING YOUR COMPUTER ON DURING NIGHT

Leaving computer on or off during nights: In today’s world leaving the computer on because of potential power switch related issues may not be applicable with any of the latest computers. It is still possible for components of the computer system to get wear and tear if tuned on and off regularly but it is almost always not mentioned to turning the computer on and off each day.

It all depends upon the specific use of the computer system and the nature of tasks being performed on the computer system. For example if the computer system is being used for the processes like taking backups, scanning disks, defragmentation or for some other scanning processes then in that case leaving computer on for nights wouldn’t be an issue but if in case the use of the computer is very frequent and is being used after big intervals of time then the computer system can be set to sleep automatically after a certain interval of time for which it is idle or can also be turned off.

It is always not a good or a bad thought to turn off the computer each day or to leave the computer on for some days.

Pros and Cons of leaving your computer on at night can be listed as:

Pros:

  • Skipping the boot process gives you an instant access to the applications you want to use on your computer.

  • Keeping your computer system on would eventually avoid wear and tear of the computer system components.

  • Nothing beats sitting down to a computer that’s all ready to go at the moment you need it.

Cons:

  • If your computer is being used for some business purposes and contains some important & secret data then not only does leaving the computer on threaten the security of your computer, but it could also give hackers entry to your business.

  • Most of the latest computers built today include an option for sleep mode but Sleep mode on computers still uses some electricity, and the most economic thing to do is to turn off the computer at night.

  • In case you have older computer then those computers don’t have option for sleep mode so if you have an older computer you should turn it off to which would save the electricity cost.

  • Some of the computers programs being used as an application programs becomes less prone to crashes if the computer system is rebooted when the computer is turned on again in the morning. According to the computer experts Windows is an example of such computer programs.

  • When computer is being set to sleep mode (on Standby or Hibernate), electricity consumption goes down to 0-6 watts which is also the better option (second to shutting it off of course) if you want to save money.

  • Computers which are permanently connected to the Internet become vulnerable to hackers so leaving computers 24/7 on would be harmful if you are carrying some important data in you computer. Your information can be stolen.

  • If in case fan running inside the computer system dies than in that case some of the major hardware components like processor of the on attached with the motherboard can get very warm inside and do damage. The pc can throw smoke, stink up the house.

  • Monitors are also vulnerable to fires in some cases which can further cause problems as there is a lot of burnable material around the pc.

  • Another thing that could cause problems is that some of the components inside the computer systems do have limited time span so leaving it on could reduce the life of those components. One of the components is fan which do have limited time span.

Power consumption of electricity by computers when running:

Computer systems when bought are generally labeled with electricity usage of around 300 watts which not applicable in most of the cases. On average computers when being used regularly consumes about 60 – 70 watts of power supply.

Power consumption of electricity when computers are Sleep mode:

When a particular computer switches to sleep mode (aka “standby”, “hibernate”) the electricity uses goes down to 0-12 watts.

Almost all of the latest computers can be set to sleep automatically after a certain amount of idle time which saves energy during the times when not a single process is running on the computer system and is completely idle. It is also the best and easiest way to save on computer energy use.

Setting Computer system to Auto sleep mode:

  • Windows XP : Go to Start > Control Panel > Power Options

  • Mac : Go to System Preferences > Energy Saver

  One Response to “Should I Turn Off My Computer At Night?”

  1. I designed this to stop my kids leaving the PC on -https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/status-minder/id568491107?mt=8

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