Caring for Your Computer – Should You Shut It Down or Leave it On
It is a question as old as the personal computer. Is it better to shut your computer down when you are not using it, or should you leave it on all the time, restarting only when you need to install a software update or suffer and unexpected power outage?
Some computer owners insist that shutting the computer down every night is the only way to go. Those users insist that giving the hard drive, processor and other components time to rest will make them last longer.
On the other side of the argument are owners who worry that all that shutting down and starting up will actually wear out the computer components prematurely and lead to a shorter life instead of a longer one.
There are merits to both arguments, and until recently there was no one right answer. Some computer users had great success with the always-on approach, while others got excellent results with the regular shutdown and restart strategy.
For older computers, there was some merit to the argument that shutting the PC down every night did place added strain on the hard drive and other components. That argued for leaving the computer on all the time and only rebooting when necessary. If your computer is more than five years old, you might want to leave it on as much as possible. You can still save energy by setting the power-save mode and allowing the computer to go into hibernation after a period of inactivity.
If your computer is a newer model, it does not matter as much whether you shut it down or leave it on. Newer components, especially the solid state hard drives found in modern computers, do not suffer the same types of problems when shutting down and starting up.
The newer operating systems also argue or a shut it down approach to computing. Older operating systems like Windows 95, Windows ME and even Windows XP could be painfully slow to load, making shutting down the PC very inconvenient and frustrating.
That slow startup problem has largely been solved. Windows 10 start very quickly, especially on newer computers. That makes shutting the PC down each night and booting it back up in the morning a lot easier and more convenient.