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SHOULD I KEEP MY COMPUTER TURNED ON ALL THE TIME?

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SHOULD I KEEP MY COMPUTER TURNED ON ALL THE TIME?

There is no simple answer as to whether you should keep your desktop computer powered ON all the time versus turning it OFF and ON frequently. However, there are some simple concepts and guidelines outlined below that will help you decide what is best for your particular situation.

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THE SHORT ANSWER...

If you have a UPS (uninteruptable power supply) with power conditioning properly setup protecting your computer and you have Windows setup to automatically shut down your monitor & hard drives after a set period of non-use, and you use your computer on a daily basis, and you don't mind paying an additional $60 annually for the convenience of having your PC ready to use all the time, then it's my opinion that you should keep the computer turned ON all the time.

Ok, STOP here is that's all you need to know. 
Continue reading to see how I have come to this conclusion.

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PROS & CONS OF TURNING COMPUTER POWER ON & OFF

Advantages Of Turning The Computer Power ON & OFF Frequently

* You save money on your electric bill if it's only ON when you use it.

How much? A typical PC draws about 0.5 amps in power saving mode which translates to about $5 per month ($60 annually) in electric costs if left in power saving mode 24 hours a day. (Calculations based upon $0.11/kwhour rate)

* Mechanical components like fans and hard drives that run constantly have a theoretical life span before they are expected to fail, so keeping them running will tend to shorten their life span.

* If you DO NOT have a UPS (uninteruptable power supply) with power line conditioning protecting your computer then the computer is always at risk for damage due to AC power spikes, surges, power drops/brownouts and power outages. Therefore, the more time the computer is turned OFF the safer it will be from AC power line risks.

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Disadvantages Of Turning The Computer Power ON & OFF Frequently

* Most computer hardware failures occur during the process of powering the computer OFF & ON, so the more times you power OFF & ON the more likely you are to have a failure. Please understand this.. Powering the computer OFF for hours at a time makes the electronic components COLD and having it ON for hours at a time makes them HOT. Therefore, by turning the computer OFF & ON frequently, the electronic components get thermally stressed and this can cause them to fail.

* Any time you shut down Windows and restart it, there is a very small risk for problems because files or the registry can become corrupted.

* FANs will often fail by making excess noise if not run constantly.

* It wastes your time to shut down and restart Windows.

* You might not use the computer as often if it's typically turned OFF.

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Advantages Of Keeping The Computer Power ON All The Time

* Electronic components tend to last longer when operated at a constant temperature as a result of being ON all the time. In the long run, this can save you BIG money by not having to repair your computer.

* FANs tend NOT to fail (noisy mode failure) when operated constantly.

* The convenience of having the computer ON and ready when you need it typically means you will use it more often.

* Less risk of Windows software becoming corrupted due to shut down & startup of the Windows operating system.

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Disadvantages Of Keeping The Computer Power ON All The Time

* With Computer ON all the time, but set to automatically shut down the Monitor & Hard Drives (power saving modes ENABLED), will increase your electric bill a little bit each month.

How much? A typical PC draws about 0.5 amps in power saving mode which translates to about $5 per month ($60 annually) in electric costs if left in power saving mode 24 hours a day. (Calculations based upon $0.11/kwhour rate)

* With Computer ON all the time (power saving modes DISABLED), it will increase your electric bill each month.

How much? A typical PC draws about 1.5 amps when NOT in power saving mode which translates to about $15 per month ($180 annually) in electric costs if left in power saving mode 24 hours a day. (Calculations based upon $0.11/kwhour rate)

* If you DO NOT have a UPS (uninteruptable power supply) with power line conditioning protecting your computer, then having the computer ON all the time puts it more at risk for damage due to AC power spikes, surges, power drops/brownouts and power outages.

* Windows 98 & ME needs to be restarted often to keep it running properly, so even if you keep the computer ON all the time, you still need to restart Windows on a daily basis. Generally speaking, Windows XP does not need to be restarted on a daily basis.

Note: Do not confuse restarting Windows with turning the computer OFF & ON for extended periods of time (Thermal stress). To clarify, restarting Windows does not cause thermal stress to your computer.

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NOW YOU DECIDE...

Ok, with all the above ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES to consider, you should make your choice by determining whether you have a UPS system with power line conditioning protecting your computer, how clean & stable your AC power is, how often you use the computer, how much you value the convenience of having the PC ready all the time for use, and he additional electric bill costs to keep the computer ON all the time.

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COMMENTS or FEEDBACK...

If you found this info useful, please drop me a note. I realize this a controversial issue. If you have a different opinion or other facts to present, I'd be more than happy to hear from you.


Happy & Safe Computing!
 Any questions? 
---pete---

   
HIGH TECH HANDYMAN
 609-291-1119
 


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