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"turning off PC" = Good/Bad

by tyrantiger / April 14, 2004 3:28 PM PDT

well i heard that not turning off your pc will let your pc 'last' more longer, is that true? what kind of pc is suitable for that and what kind is not?
thanx for any help.

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Re:
by rocks3906 / April 14, 2004 6:16 PM PDT

I personally turn my pc off every nite. I replaced a cooling fan and my hard drive after 3 years, which i dont think is bad. I know of some people that never turn off their pc and some that turn it on and off multiple times during the day.

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Re:Re:
by freak_in_box74 / April 18, 2004 1:02 PM PDT
In reply to: Re:

I turn my computer off all the time and it's 4 years old and the only thing that has burnt out was the video card which was out of date and needed to be replaced anyways, My school computers are fine too and they are shut down and powered up everytime a class comes in and leaves the room, they are powered up about 4 times a day and they are about 5 years old!

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Leave the computer on
by bjupp / April 18, 2004 6:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Re:Re:

I turn my computer off and on about once a week. Its left on 24/7 unless I'm going away.
It doesn't hurt the computer

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Re:Leave the computer on
by nickn / April 18, 2004 8:07 PM PDT
In reply to: Leave the computer on

As a computer repair man I will tell you that leaving them on will cause an accumulation of dust and dirt , much like you will find under your fridge, to appear on your Motherboard and fans causing premature breakdown of these parts.

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Leave the computer on
by Computerdog / April 18, 2004 8:57 PM PDT

I tell the customers that ask to leave them running if they want the convenience of time saving not having to boot. I also suggest they use the hibernation mode for rapid wake, and to aid in power savings. I also place a reminder decal on their PC, that it is a very good idea to open the PC approx. 1 X every six months, and give it a good dust out. It will keep the PC running for yrs. to come, and it'll also give you a chance to give a visual look over, just to be sure nothing has vibrated loose or broken.

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Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by jensf / April 18, 2004 11:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Leave the computer on

I've had about 20 pc's over the years, some servers kept on all the time, and some turned of when not in use.

The one thing I've found about leaving them on is they get dustier than the ones that get turned off, and I have also noticed that a lot of dust tends to cause fans to sieze up, and or grown, and parts of circuit boards to overheat.

If you're not needing it on, I'd say shut it down. Also, check out hibernate, I've found that it works quite well, minimizing boot time.

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Re:Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by shomestang / April 19, 2004 1:02 AM PDT

Keep in mind that you may burn up some power supplies by leaving your computer running all the time. I learned this one first hand.

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Leave it on and suck in the dust
by mrcursor / April 19, 2004 1:03 AM PDT

Ok two things I can say about this:

One: Get a Hepa system or dust more often!
Two: (if HEPA is too much cash or just don't feel
like swiffering... well try modding your CPU case
with a thin breathable mesh that will trap the dust
from getting and is machine washable. You can even
make it all cool by adding (breathable) stuff to it
for a hot new look)
or you can go the el-cheepo route and get some velcro
and green scrubby pads attach them to areas where dust gets sucked in and when they are dirty wash and dry and stick them back on.

I use the El-cheepo method on my four putes and have spare clean velcro-ed clean greenies for change time!

When dealing with PC dust, think out of the CPU Case!
Cursor_

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Re:Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by computquest / April 19, 2004 1:54 AM PDT

I have thought of the same thing. I use standby also, lately more than hibernate, but can't say for sure if the fans turn off. I will have to check on that. Maybe someone else already knows, but it may depend on the computer's age.

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Stand by
by curley95020 / January 17, 2007 12:23 PM PST

Stand by is the best way to go. Everything powers down. Computer will wake up for updates then go back on stand by. I restart at least once a week when I clean. inside and out.

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How to stop sucking dust
by kennethelamb / April 19, 2004 3:54 AM PDT

Get an Antec case with an air filter. My company makes this Antec feature a central sales point for both residential and commercial buyers.

Some case models include the sx630II, sx635IIB, 1040IIB, and Sonata. That's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are others.

Make sure the case has a front panel that closes up over the external bays, and the scroll type cover that lowers over the USB and Firewire ports. That ensures the air flows through the filter. It is a plastic mesh, washable, and will last the life of the case.

BTW, Antec cases and power supplies carry a 3-year warranty.

Kenneth

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Re:Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by nerd32768 / April 19, 2004 9:30 PM PDT

if you get any antec solution series case, you will never have to worry about dust again. It has a machine safe washable air filter. It also comes standard with an Antec 350 watt power supply (Antec power supplies have lasted 9 years for me)

the whole system with 2 120mm fans and the power supply is only 73.99

some other features:
-rubber grommets to silence hard drives
-front door(easily removable)
-good large size(will support up to extended ATX)
-2 front USB ports
-(4)5,1/4 (2)3.5 external (5)3.5 internal

As long as you clean out your air filter every week or so,you will never have dust problems again.


LEAVE THE COMPUTER ON!!!
your problems will be gone after you get this case

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Re:Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by Gsteele / November 25, 2004 11:10 PM PST

My two cents: while many readers know how to keep from zapping components when inside the case, I'd be very careful about recommending opening the case to dust it out to the average user. It's very easy, particularly when you are trying to remove surface-attached dust - often by wiping or brushing - to develop a static charge that wastes your machine. Remember also that there is current flowing when an ATX machine is plugged in, even if it seems off. One arc and goodbye CMOS parts. I'd say turn it off when you don't use it. Sleep mode is not that energy efficient, anyway. Most machines boot in about 90 seconds or less. If yours takes 5 minutes, then back it up and reinstall windows for a clean, fast-booting registry configuration. If you must clean it, use a can of compressed air, and keep the can vertical (if the can's contents get on the board, they can freeze it, and cause condensing moisture shorts). And if you can't resist touching the parts to get the dust out, for heaven's sake, don't do it with wool pants, glass rods and silk in your pockets, while petting a cat in the wintertime. There's a reason why aftermarket components are packaged in antistatic materials. Ground yourself by holding onto the chassis with one hand, and make sure the box is unplugged; don't rub vigorously, and use a moist (not wet) cloth. Leave LOTS of time to dry - do the smell test; your nose is very sensitive to residual moisture. Or ignore the above and use the result as an excuse to your wife to buy a new computer because yours went up in smoke.

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The more time ON, the more time in FIRE RISK !
by jamont / November 29, 2004 8:26 PM PST

I think it's not worthy and sometimes it's very dangerous keeping my computer on all the time.
I explain:
- This will waste drastically several hours of time life of the components (each component has it's own known lifetime stimated in hours). If you spend several hours doing nothing you kill hours when you could do something with the computer
- Energy consumption for nothing
- Overheating for nothing
- Even in a "sleep mode", the voltage stabilizer is ON. And the stabilizer is the part most likely tending
to burn and burn your office or home together with it. I personally saw two of them smoking. One of them was under my desk, when I suddenly smelled a very weird smoke. I can imagine if it had happened in a weekend with nobody in the office.

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Re:Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by sskantor / April 20, 2004 2:01 PM PDT

i use hibernating all the time and it really saves time rebooting..however I do turn it off at night

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Re:Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by lwos / November 26, 2004 2:23 AM PST

On my home computer, I turn it on in the morning & leave it on, shutting it down overnight. I have dusted out the tower a couple/3 times over the last 6 years.
I keep the tower OFF the floor, on a block of wood ( I have carpeting on the floor) which seems to help keep the dust from getting inside & allows for better airflow the machine. I NEVER clean it in the winter...once the furnace kicks in, because of Static electricity.
The only thing I've had to replace after 6 years of constant use, was the on / off plastic button on the tower. It broke.

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Re:Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by boyx46 / June 6, 2004 7:45 PM PDT

I currently use 6 PC's and always used to leave 'em on. However, one of the shop units recently burnt out needing a call from the fire brigade. It's a pizza shop with stacks of food dust about so I've first hand evidence that dust causes problems.

However, I still leave the office ones on.

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Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust
by soder72 / November 28, 2004 12:23 AM PST

I leave mine on all the time, but with the new desk I've got, the fan and dust tend to over heat the complete unit. So with the aid of a small box fan and the the cover off I've been blowing the dust straight thru, obviously not recommended, but for the busy schedule and the design of the desk, it does the trick and no dirty motherboard and no overheating.

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Re: Leave it on and suck in the dust and replace the batter
by WornHall / January 12, 2005 5:19 AM PST

Those are good examples and decisions. Please consider the poor laptop where different solution(s) are found, and a couple of special cases also.

The question dodged the power-hog, the monitor: tube/crt types should be shut down to standby after 15 minutes of inactivity. In standby, the power consumption and wear is minimal. Same for "flat/thin", plasma/lcd monitors, but this time to prevent burnin or just plain using up the service life of the pixels rather than wasting power.

We have:

The server: always on, clean while it is running with compressed air and full sized vacuum sucking the flow of dust as it comes out of the case area. If it can be turned off for p.m., treat same as desktop.

The desktop: On when you are returning within a brief period, otherwise standby, then hibernate. Standby uses power while hibernate shuts down completely. So, three solutions, depending on probability of returning.

Classroom - off at end of class. Cleaning - once a year turn off, remove the case cover, and vacuum using the soft brush, assisted by an air-blower cannister.

Laptops have two environments; on the go and in the docking port or its equivalent. For either, treat the battery first and foremost; use short-durations to switch to standby, then to hibernate. Cleaning - like the classroom,, but do not open the case.

Hospital, lab, and special environament - run as needed, don't fuss with standby or hibernate. Clean as for server or desktop. Be carefull.

Having used and worked on hundreds of computers, those are the formulae that seem to balance power, convenience, and longevity.

Warren

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Re:Leave the computer on
by keyguy / April 19, 2004 12:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Leave the computer on

I am also a computer repair technician. You're going to have dust and dirt accumulation whether it is left on OR off. You'll need to clean it every so often. Leaving it on won't hurt it.

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Re:Re:Leave the computer on
by eddings1 / April 19, 2004 12:52 AM PDT

I agree. Leaving on will not hurt the machine. But you have to remember that windows 9x needs to be restarted occasionally for optimum performance. As far as cleaning goes you will need to clean your machine every six months or so to keep the dust and dirt from getting too thick on your chips. One last thing to consider is if you smoke take special care and clean your machine a little sooner(about 4 months) as the nicotine from tobacco smoke will stick to your chips and attract more dust. If left too long it will actually cement the dirt and dust to the chip severely shortening the life of the chip as it cannot diisapate the heat as fast as it would if it were clean. So yes leave it on but make sure you clean it regularly

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power off your PC
by cxr / April 19, 2004 6:08 PM PDT

I see there are an awful lot of postings on this subject, mostly personal, non-fact-based opinions. While I am not discounting anyone's personal experiences, here are some facts to correct a few of the erroneous assumptions that people seem to have.

Bottom line:
It is 100% ok to power your system off overnight or over the weekend when you are not using it. I do it on my own personal systems at home. Please keep reading to understand why.

(I am re-posting this again from an earlier msg).

---

I have designed computer components and systems for over 15 years and worked on several large computer-manufacturing facilities, which have produced many consumer and industrial-grade PCs and Server Systems (I won't plug my employer's products but many of you are running these systems today). Here is my opinion on the subject of whether to leave your system powered on or off. Disclaimer: this is strictly my personal opinion and not endorsed by my employer.

The system manufacturers, as well as the component manufacturers (power supplies, disk drives, fans, boards, monitors, etc) go through rigorous product development and QA to determine the life span/failure rate/cause-of-failure of each component. While some of this data, from system manufacturers, are not made public, much of the component's MTBF (mean time between failure) data, optimal operating voltage and temperature/humidity range, etc, are available to everyone.

Due to improvements in component and system manufacturing, we are building far better products today. The answers below apply mostly to systems built in the last few (5-7?) years.

Some (of the more reputable) component manufacturers build very solid products, but not everyone is equally good. Some of the "cheaper" components and brands tend to fail more often, some by as much as 200-300%. These failures, especially on the power supplies and disk drives, are more susceptible to power surges when the system is turned on and off regularly. However, the rate of failure is also higher for these same components when you run them continuously (due to "normal" wear and tear, etc). In the interest of brevity, I won't go into detail on the different causes of failure for each component, but to sum up, for "lesser quality" components, it doesn't make much difference whether you run the system continuously or power it up and down every night -- both will increase failure rate.

For computer systems built many years ago, power cycling the system, which caused voltage/current surge in the system, have caused a high percentage of failures. This historical information lead to the popular belief today that powering the system up and down a lot is bad. While there are exceptions (see below), unfortunately, that "myth" is less true today.

Today's PCs, especially for home/small business users, have more than adequately rated components to handle repeated power cycling of the system. Power supplies have surge control circuits as do some motherboards, disk drives, etc. Disk drives have built-in ramp-up curves. Temperature regulation for chips and boards have gotten quite good so as long as you operate it within the spec range, you should be fine. In other words, it is not as much of a problem for today's systems to have chips and boards heat up and cool down, or have drives spin up and down, as it used to be.

Again, this is assuming that your computer manufacturer uses quality components and has done their R&D in quality assembly and testing.

As a previous post correctly stated, continuously running a system will definitely cause "normal" wear and tear. This applies to disk drives (high RPM spin rate, head wear and tear, other mechanical issues, etc), power supplies, and fans more than other components. In our "real world" test labs, this can cause failures sooner (mostly due to other factors; again, see below) than powering the system on and off regularly, but it is still well past the published MTBF rating.

As an example, a typical Western Digital 80GB 10,000 rpm ATA drive has a MTBF of 1,200,000 hours (135+ years) and a start/stop reliability of 20,000 cycles (55+ years, if you turn it on and off once a day, every day). It is safe to say that this component will hold up pretty well for the normal lifespan of a computer, regardless of what you do.

Some different rules apply when you are running high-end servers or multiple CPUs with large disk arrays and accessory components. These systems will draw a lot more current upon start-up and run at a higher temperature. This extra high current draw can shorten the life of the components, but continuously running it at an elevated temperature will also cause early failure. This is the reason why large servers need filtered clean power, air conditioned temperature regulation, and it is better to run them continuously, in a controlled environment, than to power cycle them frequently.

However, the normal, everyday, consumer desktop PCs or laptops have more-than-adequate components to handle both running continuously as well as daily power cycles.

The bottom line and a few recommendations:

. For newer systems, built in the last 5-7 years by reliable manufacturers, it is fine to turn it off at the end of the day. If you want to run it continuously for whatever reason and don't mind paying a little extra for the electricity use, that is ok too.

. The biggest enemy, by far, are environmental factors, such as temperature, dirty power, and dust. It is far more critical to keep these in check to maintain the health and longevity of your system:

- Built-up heat is always a big problem, so maintain adequate ventilation and don't let it overheat (for example, keep the system out of direct sunlight or a hot room in the summertime)
- Don't overload the system with too many disk drives or high amperage components. It will unduly stress the power supply.
- Put a good Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) w/ filtered battery power on your system (avg cost = $50-$90).
- Keep it clean and dust-free inside. Every 6 months or so, power the system down, remove the side cover, and carefully vacuum out the dust. For the average home/small business user, you will be surprise how much dust can accumulate inside. The dust causes the fan to work less efficiently, which causes overheating & component degradation. Dust accumulated on circuit boards also acts as insulation, creating heat build-up and possibly even short-circuiting boards (by *large* dust balls). Almost all hard drives shipped today are hermetically sealed, so they are not as susceptible, mechanically, to dust compared to drives built many years ago, but dust is still bad for overheating, causing component degradation.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of

Your information was excellent. However, at the risk of sounding stupid, can you tell me where the slide cover is on my computer? You said to remove it and vaccum out the dust; is it on the front of my modem or where? Thank you

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of
by Butch F. / November 25, 2004 9:07 PM PST

He said side cover, not slide cover, and the newer computers let you remove just the one side to access the components of the computer. The older computers had the entire top and sides as one piece and you had to remove the entire thing to access the components.

Also, if you use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum, you can clean anywhere you see dust. Be sure to clean around the power supply and the CPU fan.

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of
by doughboy / November 26, 2004 9:33 AM PST

on the side of the tower you may or maynot need to remove two screws from the back of the cover.some covers have a indentation where to slide.

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of
by rfred0707 / November 27, 2004 5:02 AM PST

the slide cover is part of your computer case, or "tower." There should be screws in the back (where most of your connections are). Remove these and you should be able to slide the slide cover off, revealing your system's componets. this cover should slide off the side. Do not bend anything. You should not experience too much resistance. If you do, check to see if you have missed a screw in the back.

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of

Thanks Dude,

I really appreciate the comprehensive report you posted. It gives us average "Joe's" a great deal of
insight from a pro's perspective.

Take care,

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of
by doc_36_01 / November 27, 2004 9:12 PM PST

i vacuumed the inside of my tower once and leaned the hard way that it created a static charge apparently because of the fast moving air flow created by the wacuum which fried my motherboard ,i suggest using canned air and put your finger on the heatsink fan to stop it from turning while blowing the dust out ,and do not inhale cause it tastes like crap lol

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of

Simply put (in 1000 words or less): blah, blah, blah, blah, blah ...

I would *hate* to be this person's kid!!!

Look at the data that he gives: 2.5x failure rate turning the system off daily vs leaving it on. Leave it on ... clean the system regularly (every 6 months.)

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Re: Some technical fact-based answers on whether to power of
by glakes / November 29, 2004 2:03 AM PST

Hi,
Thanks for the good advice! Do you have any suggestions for those of us who use notebook computers? Taking the case off to clean seems pretty iffy to me.
Glen

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