The old “Leave it on” vs. “Turn it off” argument

Should you leave your computer on all the time, or turn it off when not in use?

It’s probably been over 15 years since I last had this discussion with anyone; I have always sided with the view that leaving a PC running was better for the electronics. One of the most stressful things you can do to a circuit is to throw the power switch from “off” to “on”. Want a simple example? When do light bulbs generally blow out? Once current is flowing and the components are warmed up, the likelihood of them blowing out (under normal conditions) is significantly less.

There is also the issue of literally wearing the on/off switches out. Sounds strange, but that argument alone was a selling point for power strips, which thankfully evolved into the surge protectors that had real value. Depending on the vigor applied when hitting that button (and yes, the quality of the switch), this may or may not be an issue for you.

These days, most electronics are far less sensitive, and most vital electronics have standby modes that keep a small flow of current going even when turned off, thus eliminating the initial surge of powering them up. While that may sound like an endorsement for turning the PC off when not in use, it’s not… it’s an endorsement for the lower power “standby” mode.

I can see one very good case for “turning it off”: In a corporate environment where PCs are routinely replaced, the wear and tear of daily power up is less likely to outpace the update schedule. In this case, the monetary savings from energy consumption could easily outweigh the potential harm to the equipment, and the benefit to the environment would be far more significant than the average household.

The bottom line? I say a bit of both. Turn off your power hungry CRTs, and allow your more eco-friendly hardware to drop into standby mode when you’re not using it. If you can afford it, switch to LCD monitors – CRTs are the huge energy wasters.

Leave it on!
Why you shouldn’t turn off your PC
I’ve also noticed that PCs are like jetliners–they almost never crap out when cruising, but you have to watch those takeoffs and landings. Cycling the power on a PC is when you should tighten your seat belt.
But if the benefits of instant-on and background housekeeping don’t turn you on, here’s a more human-based reason to never shut down your machine: It takes my computer 48 seconds to boot. During that time, if you’re like me, you sit there, pretty much staring at the BIOS and Windows screens. Maybe you’re even mouth-breathing. Done just once a day, that’s 4.9 hours of looking stupid, every year. I’ll gladly play $120 to take that off my resume.

Turn it off!
Power-hungry PCs cost users dear
People who cannot be bothered to turn off their computers properly are costing both the environment and their own pockets dear, a study has concluded.
For example, a Taxan CRT monitor uses 135 Watts(W) when working and 4W in standby and will cost £ 150 in electricity over five years.