Oh no, don’t turn the computer off now, do read this first.

Lot’s of people don’t turn their computers off when they are finished with them; either at home or at their work place. This is just something I don’t understand.

I’m pretty sure they turn their TV, Radio and lights off (in most cases), so why do they leave their PC on?

Valid reasons to turn the PC off

Of course there are valid reasons not to turn it off, such as:

  • The PC is used as server and other people need access to the files on it while the user is gone.
  • The user needs to access it remotely from home or other location (Only leave it on if you are pretty sure you will be accessing it).

Invalid reasons to leave the PC on

I’m sure people also come up with invalid reasons, such as:

  • Windows is SO slow at booting, so I leave the PC on so I don’t waste that time. Come on, give us a break here, while the PC is booting you could: Make some coffee, say hi to the people around you or clean up at your desk.
  • Other people in the company might need to copy some files from it. So what? Let them boot it, if they can’t wait 30 seconds then it is not important.
  • To continue the previous invalid reason… “They can’t boot my Windows as it got a password”. So give them the password? I mean, if you trust ANYONE to access the PC anyway, then why not get rid of the password or tell them.

What I’m trying to say is that there are VERY few valid reasons to leave the PC on, and do keep in mind, leaving it on is a total waste of energy.

Standby

Sure you can argue about that most devices (screens) will enter a standby mode after some time unused, but even this uses energy. At least it is still better than leaving things turned on.

I will do some measuring of how much the TV, stereo, consoles and PC equipment takes when in standby mode. I’m sure this will be shocking and interesting.

Turn of what you can turn off

My setup here runs at around 480 watts, turning off the 3 screens does make it go down by around 140 watts. So if I leave the PC for awhile while it is doing backup or other tasks then I do turn the screens off.

If I don’t need the speakers then I turn them off; if I don’t need the NAS server for music or backup then it also gets turned off. Same goes with any hardware that is used for game development; if I don’t need it then it does not get turned on.

So think about this next time you leave your working place, does the PC have to stay turned on?

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Ben Barden

    I used to work for a company where we were told to leave our PCs on every night so remote updates could be installed. At the time there were around 10,000 staff across the whole company and the majority had desktop PCs. Remote updates were not usually installed more than once or twice a month at the most. We were told to turn the monitors off though. Sometimes we did turn off the PCs but most people left them on, as that was the company policy. I can’t imagine how much energy this used.

    I do think it is good to conserve energy (and I do switch things off when they’re not in use), but the big companies are the biggest users… they need to do it too!

  2. Damn Brit

    One valid reason for leaving PCs on is maintaining reliability – the most stressful time for any mechanical (and possibly electronic) component is at a cold start. I know people who leave their PCs on 24/7/365 for this reason.

    For what it’s worth, I turn mine off… but mainly because it’s in the next room to my bedroom and is damn noisy!

  3. Sam Nova

    Ben: Yes, got to agree with you here about the big companies been the most evil here. I wonder how it is with universities, if they got lot’s of PC’s also (or Macs).

    Damn Brit: I think you just found one more ‘invalid reason’ because I doubt that it is the case any more really. Sure it might have been in the early days but I doubt it is the case with the latest tech (I might be wrong of course).

  4. Damn Brit

    You’re possibly right regarding the electronic parts, but it’ll probably always be that way for mechanical parts – you can spend 100,000 USD on a brand new BMW, but you still need to make sure it’s warmed up before you drive it hard!

  5. Mitch at Money News

    I leave my computer on at night mainly to schedule all the updates since I hate doing that while I’m working on something at home. That and when I downloading a big torrent file.

    I prefer not to leave my computer on since my room is dusty, I have to clean the fans out quite often. However it seems like I always have something running on it. =P

    As for the remote connect thing, don’t most people have a start on who do things remotely have ways to remotely power on a computer by now?

  6. Sam Nova

    Mitch: I’m not sure about remotely turning on PC’s. If you are on a fixed IP then I guess it could work with the wake on LAN feature, but I never tried it. In the past I did access my PC remotely but had my wife turn in on in the morning (was when I was away from my home office) and then I would turn it off remotely.

    I do also leave the PC on over night from time to time; when I do a full backup.

  7. lankapo

    I always leave my pc on when i run of anti virus scan, other than that I will turn it off to save electricity bills, simple as that:)

    by the way, cute favicon u have there

  8. LGR

    I like to conserve power, but my PC’s stay on at night. I have backups scheduled to run every night to another computer in my office and to an off site server. I don’t need my computer being slow and coping GB’s of data while I am working on it.

  9. Mike Huang

    A HUGE matter of electronics being left on is Global Warming. I might not care much about it, but it’s still something to consider…what if what they say is true?

    -Mike

  10. techfun

    I mostly deal with servers that do stay on 24/7 obviously, but I do have to support about 150 desktops. Damn Brit has a strong point. The majority of failures we run into on the desktops are at startup.

    Companies leaving their machines up over night for updates, as a matter of policy, are living in the 90’s. There was a time when installing updates in the background while an employee was trying to work could be a problem. Thats no longer the case. Most PC’s now have the resources to handle background updates while the user does their work.

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