The CNET Lounge

General discussion

When you leave your computer for a period of time, what do you do?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 25, 2011 6:54 AM PST

When you leave your computer for a period of time, what do you do?

-- Shut it down. (Why?)
-- Let it hibernate. (Why?)
-- Put it to sleep. (Why?)
-- Just leave it running. (Why?)
-- Other (What is it?)

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: When you leave your computer for a period of time, what do you do?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: When you leave your computer for a period of time, what do you do?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
When you leave your computer.
by CHAS0702 / February 25, 2011 8:38 AM PST

When I leave my computer for an extended period of time, I shut it down. Why! The reason is that many problems present themselves after waking up from sleep. Not worth the trouble!

Collapse -
I use standby a lot
by Boothbay / February 25, 2011 8:39 AM PST

Define 'away from the computer a lot"? i put mine ins standby for a hour or so, sometimes even hours...It beats turning everything on and waiting for the posts, installation of ant virus programs and broswers, particularly AOL to open..seem to take forever. With standby, you ignore all that...true though, sometimes certain web sites don't work as well until you reboot...but i am satisfied with standby

Collapse -
Just leave it running.
by hoohah / February 25, 2011 8:41 AM PST

...so I can access it from work using LogMeIn Pro in the daytime, and my Mozy backups run in the middle of the night.

Collapse -
I leave the computer running and turn the monitor off.
by Ron Geiken / February 25, 2011 8:44 AM PST

When I was using the function that allows the computer to go to sleep, when it woke up, I could not get on the internet with my cable modem. I had to shut the computer down to get back to the internet. Decided it wasn't worth the effort, and just decided to leave the computer running and just turn the monitor off. I do turn the computer off at night.

Collapse -
shut er' down
by tedtks / February 25, 2011 8:46 AM PST

some things left in minimized will still connect to the internet. Ie does this on a regular basis. So when I would come back I sit there and say ' what the
hell is going on here ' LOL.. plus it can get locked up and have to restart anyway.

Collapse -
Depends on what I'm doing...
by Doh_1 / February 25, 2011 9:01 AM PST

If I'm on the work VPN, then I just let it run. If I'm not on the work VPN, I might put it to sleep if I know that I'm going to be away for long enough to justify that and I remember to *smile*. On the other hand, I turn my computer off over night.

So it varies.

-Roger

Collapse -
not using my PC for a while?
by Bukti / February 25, 2011 9:29 AM PST

I alternate between putting it on "stand by" or just shutting it down properly.Which I choose depends on how long I intend to be away from it.I have found in the past when I have put it on stand by too many times or for too long, it starts to play up ,with long waits to change windows or just freezing up altogether.Now I only put it on standby for a short (few hours or so) period,and full shut down longer (overnight etc) periods.This seems to allow it to get its act together properly for a good start up next time.Not sure if it is just coincidence, but I have fewer problems like the above now.I also clean out all the junk files etc ,prefetch files and registry problems either at the end of a session or the start,which may also be the reason for the lower problem levels now I guess?
I use "Ccleaner"(free),"Revo Uninstaller"(free and pro)(which has an amazing array of methods to fine tune a PC,and comes either free or pro)& Uniblue "Registry Booster" and "Speed up my PC".It doesn't take long to run them regularly, and I believe in maintenance BEFORE there are problems rather than trying to fix problems after the fact.If I am away from home for awhile I will also pull the power and phone plugs out in case of thunder storms.One time it would not restart after the second start up window opened ,and was told the "EEP" program (??)was switched off(???) & to hit any key to continue(which did not happen).A quick search on google (another PC)found the answer in safe mode.
Now when that comes up, it does continue after hitting any key,but have no idea why it happens (turns off for re-starts)at all?Good luck all.cheers, Bukti

Collapse -
Not enough information

What do I do when I leave my computer for a period of time? The answer for me depends on which computer, how long I'll be gone, and whether the computer is doing something that doesn't require me.

First, understand that I'm retired and don't have any sensitive business information on my computers. Also, my wife and daughters all have their own computers, and mostly think what I do with my computers is pretty boring stuff, so they have no interest in what's on my machines. So, generally, I don't worry about snoopers; on those occasions when visitors might have unsupervised access to a computer, it's either shut down or has a password-protected screensaver running.

If the computer is doing something that takes time but does not require my attention (downloading a file, defragging, etc.), I'll leave the computer running until I return, although I may password-protect it while I'm away. If I'm stepping away for a cup of coffee, I'll probably not bother to do anything; the kitchen is just steps from the computer room, so I'll know if anyone goes in. If I'm going to be away for more than just a few minutes but expect to be back within an hour or two, I'll either put it into hibernation or shut it down; this is especially true with my desktop, which draws much more power than my notebook. (The default action is shutdown, since sometimes I don't know how long I'll be away.) If I expect to be gone more than a couple of hours, I shut down my computers and peripherals to save power and minimize wear on mechanical drives.

If I were still working and had to be in and out of the office all day, I'd make sleep mode my default choice, since a quick resumption would outweigh energy savings. And I'd activate a (password-protected) screensaver every time I stepped out "for just a second".

Collapse -
Other, I lock it so that a password is required
by billd888 / February 25, 2011 10:43 AM PST

For me locking is the best way to go. It responds quickly just by moving the mouse or swiping the track pad. I was a UNIX admin for a long time, so shutting down should be done only when absolutely necessary, Windows update frequently reboots it and unless there a problem, thats often enough for me. Generally I do not use either hibernate or sleep because a number of problems with both in the past.

Back when Windows NT was the ruling enterprise workstation OS, it had to be rebooted at least monthly to be sure that all the resources weren't exhausted causing a crash or BSOD.

Collapse -
Shut it down!!
by gordonll / February 25, 2011 10:52 AM PST

If I am not going to use it for while, I turn it off.

Collapse -
Seti at home
by mwooge / February 25, 2011 11:24 AM PST

My screen saver is a program that examines radio-telescpoe data for signs of alien life.

Or as I like to put it, my computer is searching for intelligent life in my living room and not finding any.

Collapse -
When you leave your computer for a period of time, what do y
by Tania Grant / February 25, 2011 11:44 AM PST

I shut it down; also the printer, etc. for the following reasons:
1. save electricity
2. protect from unexpected power surges
3. protect against malware
4. refresh the computer's brains Wink

Collapse -
shut down
by bbearcat / February 25, 2011 11:48 AM PST

had a problem and manufacturer fixed it on line. They reccommende shutting down and I have done so since.

Collapse -
Hibernate daytime, shutdown & power off at night
by Rover71 / February 25, 2011 12:02 PM PST

We're not heavy users like some more professional types, but have been doing it this way for quite a few years, and very few problems. We do try to keep the garbage out--CCleaner,Malwarebytes, Super-Antispyware,and Avira for AV. Also run Spybot occasionaly. Still on XP Pro. & IE 8.

Collapse -
Leave it on
by ufauxreal / February 25, 2011 12:13 PM PST

I live alone and am the only one who accesses the computer, so my iMac is almost never shut down. Not sure if this is good or bad but it works for me. My Macbook Pro I use mostly when I travel, and I do shut that down overnight.

Collapse -
Leave it running...
by Brittni1 / February 25, 2011 12:30 PM PST

...for more than one reason. The screensaver I use is SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) At Home, so it is processing even with the screensaver running. I also have my anti-virus set to automatically run a full check of my hard drive at 2:00am every day. And there's also the fact that my telephone doesn't work if the computer isn't running (VOIP).

Collapse -
Shut it down
by Shirls2009 / February 25, 2011 1:45 PM PST

I have a laptop and a couple of weeks ago my last laptop was stolen off my desk at home while I was still in the house. The burglar ripped out a window, stuck his arm through the burglar bars and helped himself to my laptop and external hard drive. I heard the crash, saw the arm reaching through the window and hit the panic button. So now I shut down and put the machine in a secure hiding place whenever I'm out of the room which is a great nuisance, but I'd only been out of the room 10 minutes when the last one was stolen. Now having strip beams put across the windows!

Collapse -
Shut down if leaving for over 20 minutes

Have set up my Samsung to automatically go to sleep after about 15 minutes and it restarts really quickly.
Really love my Samsung. If longer time always shut down.
One day forgot something and drained battery so now stick to above. Marie

Collapse -
Depends on the length of time

I always turn it off and the monitor at the plug if finished using and not intending to use again for more than 30 mins. This saves power and since having an electric monitor it saves a fair amount over a year.

I found leaving in standby is ok and quickly starts if needed but putting into hibernation or sleep is the worst thing to do, it takes for ever to start up. It is quicker to turn off and restart as windows is rubbish from sleep or hibernation. Both XP and Windows 7 are terrible for this.

Collapse -
'Orses for courses....
by jaybee48 / February 25, 2011 6:25 PM PST

It's well known that the majority of problems on PC's come from the processes of booting up and shutting down, so my 'main' PC is left running during waking hours with the monitor set to turn off after 30 minutes' inactivity.
My webserver however is set to go to STR after ten minutes, and to wake on any LAN event during the 24 hour period; this is the best compromise for my setup, mindful of the fact that any power savings would be minimal by using standby or hibernate.
Moving components (drives, fans etc) use eight times the running current to start - the inference is clear.
JB.

Collapse -
All of the above.
by LadyAyn / February 25, 2011 10:12 PM PST

I suppose it depends on what I am working on and how long the "period of time" is. I nearly always close my computer down overnight, but otherwise, it just depends. Happy

Collapse -
Scan for Viruses!

What do you do when you leave your computer?

For when I know I'll be away for more than a couple of minutes, I leave a Malwarebytes virus scan, or Defraggler, or something, in "Pause" mode, and just make sure to unpause it when I leave.

This way the necessary puter chores get done, and I'm not sitting staring at the computer needing it for something else. Even with the browser closed, we're in constant contact with the Web on Ethernet hookup, which also lets things like the Java updates download. So I feel a need to scan constantly, just in case. Better Paranoid than Repentant!

Doesn't work when there's someone at the door or for some other reason I have to leave very fast, but I've made a habit of it.

Adaware has no pause, so I save that for when I'm going to be gone from the house or asleep, or if all I'll be doing is playing Spider or another game in which I mostly just stare at the screen thinking. (256 Ram doesn't leave room for much else).

I do shut down all the programs I won't be needing for that time period, or am finished with, especially the browser.

I even leave the Monitor on, as my screensaver is family pix or other pix that my mom likes to sit and stare at. 1998 square CRT monitor that still works just fine. She doesn't even know how to use AOL without help; I print out all her computer docs for her, do her inet shopping, etc. She doesn't touch it much.

Stepstone :0)

Collapse -
Shut it down!
by peddlerp / February 26, 2011 1:31 AM PST

When I leave my computer(s) for an extended period, I shut them down.

I was a die-hard supporter of Leave-it-on, which I still prefer with my legacy Win2K system, but now I shut everything down. I find there is a benefit from closing the registry and restarting. Not to mention the cost savings from the electricity use!

Collapse -
Sleep is good.
by seekercnet / February 26, 2011 2:23 AM PST
In reply to: Shut it down!

I have a Toshiba Satellite A205 S5000 laptop with Vista Home Premium. If I have it on at night I let it sleep overnight. When I leave home I shut it off and hide it. It always wakes up or reboots without a problem and has been a humble, but great computer.

Collapse -
Shut it down when away for an extended period

When I am going to be away for more than a couple of hours, I not only shut down the computer but the monitor and my APC which shuts down all power to most of my peripherals. I know that this increases the time when I come back to my computer to boot up etc, but because my energy bill is over $500 in the winter I do what I can to keep the bill down.

Collapse -
I think I'll be shutting down for awhile
by flrhcarr / February 26, 2011 8:02 AM PST

If I'm not going to come back to the computers for the day, I'll shut them down to saves energy. This also gives the computer a fresh start the next day.
that is, if I don't have them working on a task. Otherwise I'll let them stay on (obviously) till they are done.

Collapse -
Leaving computer - shut down or not ?
by GO WELL / February 26, 2011 4:26 PM PST

I used to always shut down computer, then was told uses more power in start up than actually leaving in hibernation/standby mode. Had done this for few years, unless of course it was not going to be in use daily, it then got shut down. Well I have now changed my opinion on this, while I may leave it in some sort of 'on' mode during the day, as it gets frequent use, I now shut it down each night, as I feel this gives a good fresh reboot on start up again. But as I had any scans scheduled to run during the night, I now have had to change times for any such procedures. ( which can sometimes slow things a times )

Collapse -
When I leave my computer for a period.
by bansidhar9 / February 26, 2011 9:04 PM PST

I just shut it down, why just to save myself from an complexity or trouble appearing after return and also to save environment.

Collapse -
I shut it down to keep the RAM 'clean'
by john1499 / February 26, 2011 9:59 PM PST

Many programs do not fully erase data stored in RAM and over time, the computer is corrupted and doesn't perform as expected. Shutting down gives the computer a fresh start and I have fewer problems.

Collapse -
When I leave my computer
by Bat-fish / February 27, 2011 8:01 AM PST

I close the lid,the rest happens automatically.
I shut it down if:
I go away,disconnect from power and lock away.
If something seems not to work properly I restart
or if an update requires a restart.
I have face recognition for restart.

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Help 47,885 discussions
icon
Computer Newbies 10,322 discussions
icon
iPhones, iPods, & iPads 3,188 discussions
icon
Security 30,333 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 20,177 discussions
icon
HDTV Picture Setting 1,932 discussions
icon
Phones 15,713 discussions
icon
Windows 7 6,210 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 14,510 discussions

Tech Tip

Know how to save a wet phone?

It's not with a dryer and it's not with rice. CNET shows you the secret to saving your phone.