True or False: It’s Best To Leave Your PC Running 24/7

Posted by admin on Jul 17, 2008

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, August 2008 Edition

For a couple of decades now, various people – inlcuding a few otherwise-brilliant IT pros – have been telling people that it’s better to leave your PC running around the clock than to shut it off at night and boot it back up in the morning.  If you never shut down your computer, the reasoning goes, you wills save wear and tear on your components and extend the life of your machine.  Top tech types at HP, Seagate and other major companies do not know how this rumor was born.  But they all agree on one thing: It’s bogus.

“If you don’t care at all about energy consumption, or your carbon footprint, then there’s no great downside to leaving your PC running”, says Ken Bosley, a 12-year veteran of HP’s Personal Systems Group who has spent years researching hard-drive reliability.  “But you shouldn’t waste energy to extend the life of a computer by a very small amount.”

Bosley discounts the notion that shutting down and starting up a computers puts undue stress on the components, noting that most systems are retired because of obselescence, not because of hardware failure.

Always-on proponents cite hard-drive longevity in particular as a major reason never to shut down.  But Seagate staff engineer Billy Ruddock says, “Turning off the system is usually best to prolong hard-drive life.” Unless you’re talking about servers, most computers’ hard disks are simply not designed for continuous operation.

Besides, Ruddock notes, “Windows operating systems execute various important housekeeping tasks during shutdown and startup – another very good reason for turning off a system.”

ICS Note: We suggest for business systems, that you leave the systems on, and turn off the monitor.  That way, you can schedule maintenance tasks to run at night (ie. virus scan, defrag, etc.)  For home systems, we recommend that you turn your systems off when you are not using them.

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