It has been one of the most long-running discussions in computing: is it better to leave your computer turned on when you’re not using it, or should you always turn it off?
Leaving a computer on all the time is less stressful than turning it off and on several times a day. Every time a computer powers on, it has a small surge of power as everything spins up, and if you are turning it on multiple times a day, it can shorten the computer’s lifespan.
If you use your computer more than once a day, leave it on at least all day. If you use it in the morning and at night, you can leave it on overnight as well. If you use your computer for only a few hours once a day, or less often, turn it off when you are done.
Sleep or hibernate?
Sleep is fine because it puts the computer into a low power state without turning it completely off. In hibernate, your computer stops using power and resumes where it was when you put it in that mode. Hibernate is a less desirable option because it produces wear and tear that is like start and stop.
Reboots Improve Performance
Back in the day, regular reboots were an integral part of the life of a computer user, just to stop the machine from grinding to a halt.
This is no longer the case. Modern operating systems are very adept at managing resources, and if you choose to never turn the computer off, you won’t notice too much degradation of performance.
However, the reboot is still the most effective way of solving many of the day-to-day errors that you’ll encounter. Whether it is an app that is crashing, or a printer that has mysteriously stopped working, a quick restart will often fix it. Also, sometime required to finish installing updates.
ALWAYS have your computer plugged into a power surge protector
Do you have your PC, television, or other expensive electronics plugged directly into a power outlet? You shouldn’t. You should plug your gadgets into a surge protector, which isn’t necessarily the same thing as a power strip.
Power Strips vs. Surge Protectors
Some people are confused about this and call every power bar a “surge protector,” but this isn’t true. The cheapest power strips are often not surge protectors and only provide additional power outlets for you. When using a power strip for your expensive electronics, be sure its specifications say it has a surge protector. Below, you’ll see a type of power bar that probably isn’t a surge protector.
You should also consider sticking with a surge protector from a reputable company. The cheapest surge protector from an obscure manufacturer may not provide much protection when it’s actually needed. Reputable surge protectors will also offer warranties, promising to replace any electronics connected to the surge protector if a surge occurs and they become damaged. Look for this before you buy a surge protector.
How Often Do You Need to Replace a Surge Protector?
Surge protectors don’t last forever. The components they use to divert energy can wear down as a result of power surges. This means that your surge protector’s life depends on how frequently power surges occur in your area. A surge protector can only absorb a limited amount of additional power.
Some surge protectors have lights that go off (or on) to let you know when they can no longer provide any protection, while some of the more expensive surge protectors may even have an audible alarm that goes off to let you know of this. Keep an eye on your surge protector and replace it when the surge protector asks you to.
Surge protectors are easy to forget about when everything seems to be going fine, and they would be completely useless in a perfect world where the electrical system never malfunctioned. However, surge protectors are a fairly inexpensive and important way of protecting your expensive gadgets. You probably want a power strip for your gadgets, anyway — so you might as well get a surge protector that provides one.