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Poll: Do you turn off your computer when it's not in use?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 25, 2008 7:02 AM PST

Do you turn off your computer when it's not in use?

Yes. (Please explain why you do.)
No. (Please explain your reasons.)
Most of the time. (Except when?)

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Energy Saving
by FCharlesL / January 25, 2008 9:10 AM PST

Overnight I more often shut down, but also often hibernate.
When I will be out of the house for 3+ hours I usually use standby, and sometimes hibernate.
Why .. to save power, save wear & tear, and in the case of a power outage my system is much safer than relying upon the UPS to shut it down.

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FCharlesL - I have to agree with you !!
by pwhite94928 / January 25, 2008 11:16 AM PST
In reply to: Energy Saving

I'm not that high-tech, and there ARE two schools of thought on this one: leave it in "hiberation" (stand-by) when you're be back shortly, but some also say even overnight. The other "school" is to save energy and stop hackers. I'm nobody, really, so the hackers part doesn't really bother me........but saving on my electric bill DOES !

So, sometimes I shut it off overnight. Mostly during the day I'll put it on "stand by" while I go do something else. Not certain which path is better.........and some say it "wears the computer out" by having to start it up fresh every day. I don't know about THAT 'THEORY', but maybe there is some truth to it. I don't know.......maybe somebody more knowledgable can help me here. THANKS !!!!!

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Re:I have to agree with you !!
by muff.inman / January 25, 2008 11:28 AM PST

I never heard about starting up like that wearing and tearing your system. But IDK maybe it does. Still i'm going to shut it down anyway to save energy and stuff.

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Still worry about hackers
by winsleuth / January 26, 2008 5:21 AM PST

Even if you dont think you have anything of value, the more importeant reason to worry about hackers is they will set up shop on your PC. No joke, they may find you boring say but much of the Spam and Porn gets distributed by linking together other PC's that Hackers have gotten in to and using yours and other's PCs as part of a huge Distributed Network. They can set this up just by pulling within Wifi distance of your home and using a laptop in a car, install the software that loads on each boot up. Then guess who gets the police knocking on your door while they are roaming free, YOU. I never knew of this until I saw a TV show one day last year and they featured the authors of a site called Toms I leave mine on but use three software programs and I have stayed clean but they have tried to plant these Trojans on several occasions. I recommend CounterSpy and Zone Alarm plus Avast! home edition antivirus (free).

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No I do not shut down
by Paul Crabtree / January 25, 2008 9:24 PM PST
In reply to: Energy Saving

No I do not shut the computer down when I'm not using it..Electronics and especially computers fail most often when they are cold starting. The energy used by a computer is very small when compared to just starting an automobile. Be real and think if you want to be energy efficient.

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power use
by sauntry / January 26, 2008 1:42 AM PST
In reply to: Energy Saving

I put my laptop in "standby" to conseve energy

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I try to always turn it off
by jandricain / January 26, 2008 4:37 AM PST
In reply to: Energy Saving

I use a laptop at work, and a desktop at home. The desktop is off if nobody is using it for the next hour or so. The laptop gets put into hybernation if I walk away from it.

Although the laptop uses much less energy than the desktop, the following discussion about security applies to both. As far as energy savings - the laptop, when at work, is connected to a 24" LCD display, and the display will 'hibernate' when the laptop is suspended. When I have the laptop at home, the hibernate mode uses far less electricity, and if on battery, saves battery charge to boot.

In terms of security - both of these systems are nearly 100% connected to the Internet when turned on. There are so many, many attacks that the simple thought is this - if the computer is off, it is invulnerable to attack through the net.

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energy saving,money saving !!
by nordan777 / January 28, 2008 5:51 PM PST
In reply to: Energy Saving

I'm convinced that the old habits must be reviewed. Energy saving and optimization of even home little aplliances untannded consumption can be of advantage not simply to the individual, but to everyone.
I switch off my pc everytime I'm not using it for longer than one hour or soon after a deep antivirus scan. I leave not lamp turhen up in the apartment - but one, the only one I need, And I still use energy-spare lamps ( you know, those funny lamps that cost a lot but allow you in the year to reduce power demand). I use no electric heating at all, and I love to stay at candlelight. Swiching off TV set - no standby mode at all- can save up to 140

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Yes I mainly turn off the computers when not in use
by pothum_au / January 30, 2008 11:36 AM PST
In reply to: Energy Saving

With all this talk about ozone layers and the rising cost of electricity, plus an all adult household, I try to save a bit when I can. With a main computer and two laptops plus all the other electrical things, it makes sense to save when you can. This includes not using the dryer if I don't have to, switching off the tv of a night, only using the air conditioner when necessary and switching off lights that are no longer needed. So far it hasn't made a big dent in my bill but I live in hope.

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by chanorron / January 25, 2008 10:05 AM PST



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Not in a posistion to have the system off because......
by REACT 1 / January 25, 2008 10:54 AM PST

As part of an Indepentant of the Government 1st Responder Organization our server and outlying units in the network are monitored by Emergency Response Personal 24/7 monitoring areas like all the Camera feeds along the local freeway system to help keep traffic flow moving. On the master base stations there are usually 4 or sometimes 5 monitors on the systems.

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Yes I Do
by muff.inman / January 25, 2008 11:15 AM PST

Yes I shut my system down to save power, not allow hackers to try to get in, and my system doesn't take long too start up anyway (1 Min 6 Sec).

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Heat / Energy / Update
by jeff harrod / January 25, 2008 11:25 AM PST

Two reasons; first, computer generate allot of heat (and uses allot of energy), so I turn it off to let it cool down. Second; my computer checks for updates for my spy-ware / anti-virus on a daily bases, I turn it off to let it update anything new that may be downloaded.

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put it to sleep
by davidbocek / January 25, 2008 11:39 AM PST

average person checks internet sites, email, light stuff. just put it to sleep instead of shutting all your programs down then having to go thru the cold boot startup. These new antivirus laiden norten, mcafee are hogs to contend with at startup then logging on to whatever sites or programs you deal with. Look, the energy use from keeping your computer at sleep is nothing from the time wasted waiting for your computer to awaken from a deep shutdown, its minimal at best. Make sure your monitor is at sleep as well, no screensaver, no disk spinning. And relax, you keep your computer upto date, clean, and well ventilated and your good. Make sure you take your worn out electronics to your local recycling center when all is lost. But before you take it there canibalize all usefull addons, memory, graphics driver, sound cards,cable and telco. modems, etc. Unless your diskdrive crashed take that out too, the new hardware out ther like drobo can utilize the sata drives and incorporate them into some interesting backups. good luck

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Shut off Computers
by fastphoto / January 29, 2008 8:44 PM PST
In reply to: put it to sleep

Yes, we shutdown/put to sleep whenever we am away from my computers. Each computer is set to go to sleep after 5 minutes of inactivity. That way the computer is ready to work and only uses a small amount of electricity to keep our computer world warm and spinning. The HD?s and monitor pull far more energy than the rest of the computer. The only computer that runs 24/7 is our WHS (no monitor, keyboard or mouse) that makes daily backup of all network computers (6). It also has our personal website available and is used by several friends and family that work weird hours, so that is why it runs 27/7. All computers are set to update and backup at 07:00 daily to prevent waking in the middle of the night and sometimes staying on the remainder of the morning.

BUT the big consumers of energy are plasma TV?s, air conditioners and refrigerators. And do not forget the puny light bulb (lamp) that consumes energy and should be turned off whenever leaving a room, it also produces heat that causes the A/C unit to run more, and then we have florescent ceiling lamps that use less energy IF not turned on and off whenever you leave the room for less than 30 minutes.

We have started using lower wattage lamps throughout the house, set the heat pump to 68 degrees and the A/C to 77 degrees. We replaced a good 50 gallon electric water heater with a whole house hot water on demand unit that reduced our energy need considerably.

As I am retired and have plenty of time, I rebuild computers for friends and family using as much ?stuff? from their old computer as possible. If they like the case, I replace the power supply to match their new needs, etc. But I never throw anything into the trash that can endanger the environment. Yes, even the triple A batteries go to the recycle center.

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I used to but since I have Vista,
by joanie707 / January 25, 2008 11:49 AM PST

I was told to leave it on, because that is when it does all the updating and other tasks--So whats the word now?

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Weekly poll
by BridgetW / January 27, 2008 1:44 AM PST

I too am curious about whether or not it's OK since I use Vista. I have always shut my computer completely down, but now I have Vista and it says to put it to sleep and only shut it down if you're going to be away for several days OR if you're installing hardware. I'm putting it to sleep, but I'd feel much better if I was sure it was OK to turn it off daily (wear and tear on my computer??? My old one was fine for 10 years!)

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by Daylight51 / January 25, 2008 11:52 AM PST

I always turn my comp off overnight, simply to save energy. I often use stand by when breaking from computing for short periods.

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Turning off the computer/laptop
by elevations2000 / January 25, 2008 11:52 AM PST

I am one to save on my electric bill (half of the bill is TAX)by shutting down my desk top when it is not in use and the same holds true for my lap top.

I know that the hard drives did at one time have a life expectency of only 3yrs., but that was with the old 386. Todays technology should keep them running for much longer.

Technology keeps pushing us along with new products. So, we buy them because it is not only the new "keeping up with the Jones'" but attempting to remain at least in line with what is happening.

So, powering down/off is a great idea if you want to spend the extra money on new technology.


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Powering off computers
by rphunter / January 25, 2008 4:51 PM PST

All three of my computers run 24/7, even when I am on vacation.
The main users of power in a computer system are the hard drives, and monitors, including in laptops. If you have power-saving modes on them, then keeping just the memory and processor alive requires about as much power as a 55 watt incandescent light bulb. As I use my computers throughout the day, and night, turning them off and on would use more power than just leaving them on in power-saving mode. On my newest computer, even the processor goes into a slower, less power using, mode when it isn't busy, lowering both temperature, and voltage.
If you use your computer only once or twice a day, then it may save power to turn it off between uses. Usage pattern, and power-saving option usage are the main considerations.

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Multiple Reasons
by Technogeek24 / January 26, 2008 2:50 AM PST
In reply to: Powering off computers

I have several PC'c, I always shut down the ones with large hard drives. After a few hours a large hard drive can burn your finger, (that can't be good). The smaller ones >13gig run cool for days. The older machines being used for specific purposes do not overeheat and can be left on. But I often shut them down to save on electric bill.
The last couple of weeks with the shop at extremely low temperatures, maybe I should have funneled the heat into assisting the furnace.

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power off/down
by charle.s / January 27, 2008 4:49 PM PST
In reply to: Powering off computers

o.k. here's the deal firstly a computer laptop uses/costs approx 10p
per hour to run but like me I finish work at 4.30 friday and I've no
intention of working until monday so yep computer gets turned off.
secondly as far as hacking is concerned no antivirus software is sufficient to stop serious hackers remember front door back door cos a
serious hacker will always find a way in so the tip is if using for online banking scramble your data then log out.As far as plasmas and other energy saving devices are concerned they are only as energy efficient as the user!.But there is more fundemental argument here.
House price where I live have rocketed!,but theres nothing to justify the rise like income/salaries everyone wants a wage increase but againg are we producing more!.ok gas electric etc are all going up but is the gas any different maybe its an intelligent gas or super electric?,nothing has changed only our demands!when people start to realize this we might get somewhere I value houses and the only element I can think of is greed so if people start to cut back and to lower prices then we'll get back to basics.( think of the sixties seventies) but prices going up inthe eighties again nothing to justify them what are we doing thats so different?.

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by JeffDeWitt / January 25, 2008 11:59 AM PST

My big system at work I leave on, it takes forever for that old IntelliStation to start up, the network forces lame corporate wallpaper on it (which looks even worse stretched across two monitors, and one of the monitors is dying... it works perfectly as long as it's left on but if it's turned off it doesn't like to stay running after it's turned back on.

At home I just close my laptop when I'm done with it, unless I'm actually taking it somewhere, then it's shut down.

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Computer poses chance of electrical short
by circuit30 / January 25, 2008 12:06 PM PST

I had a monitor short and explode. Fortunately it occured while I was
sitting in front of it. Since then I don't want to be asleep or gone and have a similar occurance. Perhaps a small problem, it I have first hand experience with this potential.

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Yes, I turn off my computer when not in use.
by rosie82 / January 25, 2008 12:09 PM PST

I turn off my computer when not in use. I used to do it to avoid premature cooling fan failures. The computer I now have will hibernate, so I do not have to worry so much about the fans anymore. However, I will still turn it off when not in use, primarily due to unexpected power failures which tend to happen more often than I like.

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My computers are always in use
by mknorr / January 25, 2008 12:09 PM PST

My computers are always on as they are always in use, doing SETI@Home calculations. But when I get no data I always turn them off.

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No, it's a MAC and turns itself off appropriately
by genou souris / January 25, 2008 1:57 PM PST

One of the features that caught my attention when researching for a new computer was the mechanical design of the G5 dual core Power MAC. The Power Mac G5 features a thick anodized aluminum alloy enclosure, designed to provide rugged security as well as conduct heat from inner compartments to the surrounding environment. The new enclosure is built around four independently controlled thermal zones for advanced airflow management, with fans in each zone that are individually controlled based on a combination of thermal and power monitoring, resulting in the Power Mac G5 running two times quieter than the previous Power Mac G4. Since most of the heat is conducted to the case and the case has extensive air-holes for air currents to efficiently remove internal heat generated, the fans are seldom on saving power. This feature alone will make-up for small dollar savings up-front between the two major competing computers based on one of the responses of this forum indicating approximately $400 per year in cost of power to keep the PC on full time. So the gal that prodded the computer community about inattention to energy use, my response is get a MAC, or become the first woman Thoreau near some similar quiet Malden-pond and describe how we might better simplify...simplify as David suggested without the sophisticated modeling needed to cope with increasingly complex problems; e.g. white light generation from RGB LED mixing that is predicted to save 25 % of current oil used in the US.

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I'm never done using them!
by dburr13 / January 25, 2008 12:10 PM PST

I never shut mine off...When i'm not using my computers they are running the BOINC distributive computing client...and have been doing so 24/7 for the last 4 years...So except for my PC's never sleep.

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Sleep Only
by LarryQW / January 25, 2008 12:13 PM PST

I have a UPS that measures the actual power being used. My high power dual core computer uses 110 Watts (or higher under heaving processing) and my 24" LCD monitor uses 60 Watts, or around 170 Watts total.

I have the monitor shut off after 10 minutes and the computer go to sleep after 30 minutes. In the sleep state, my computer only uses 15 Watts, as much as a night light. If I turn the computer completely off, it goes down to around 1 Watt, probably from all the other chargers plugged in.

I only turn off my computer if I'm going to be gone for a couple days. With Vista, I rarely need to reboot, maybe once a month for upgrades.

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Turn off computer all the time when not in use
by joeabecker52 / January 25, 2008 12:13 PM PST

2 reasons; save money on electricity and reduce security exposure. Since the original question was related to increased electricity consumption; before worrying about something like computers, I'd like to see people do something as easily as replacing their incadescent light bulbs with CFL's first. This will go a long way to cutting down on electricity consumption and global warming.

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