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Turn it off?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Ljay, May 5, 2010.

  1. Ljay

    Ljay Micky's Packin

    Nov 2, 2006
    Do you turn yours off at the end of the day, or leave it run 24-7, I just have a desk top. Do they need a rest other than cleaning or reboot?
  2. tous

    tous GET A ROPE!

    Jan 7, 2001
    Plano, Texas, Republic of
    I leave workstations and servers running forever. The only time they get powered-off is when I vacuum the innards or install new stuff.

    Note: if you leave your house for a few days, turn off your router or just pull the data cable. Bad guys can't get to your equipment if if there's no cloud connection.

    Does turning them on and off do anything?

    Over the years, I have heard many theories: HDDs having to spin up and down shortens the life; cycling power supplies shortens their life, etc. I have yet to see concrete evidence that any of that is true.

    The only consideration might be your electric bill. Running computers consume.

  3. Ffolkes


    Oct 29, 2002
    Early motherboards (we're talking PC and 286 here) had memory in individual chips you pushed into sockets on the board. Constant expanding/contracting/heating/cooling from turning the system on and off could actually cause them to work themselves right out of the socket ("thermal creep"). I don't think its a big deal anymore.

    I do set power saver to spin down my large data drive if I'm not going to be there for the day, not sure if physically stopping the platters from spinning while keeping the electronics warm is good or not.
  4. havensal

    havensal Nozzle Jockey CLM

    Aug 14, 2003
    Western, NY
    Mine also serves as my DVR, so it only shuts down when needed. :wavey:
  5. Toyman


    May 6, 2003
    West Michigan
    I never shut mine off unless there's a power outage, bad electrical storm, or for maintenance. It really depends on whether you want to save power, or save the machine. Turning them on and off are hard on them.

    The expanding and contracting because of heat is what kills them most of the time. Think about it, you have plastic, fiberglass, silicon, solder, various densities of metal, etc. They all expand and contract at different rates, putting stress on stuff.

    I can't count how many times someone said "It was working just fine the other day, but today it won't turn on."
  6. glock19_fan

    glock19_fan ... --- ...

    Mar 25, 2005
    I use the sleep / stand by function more than anything else.

    I would suggest turning it off or using sleep / hibernate. It will reduce the wear and tear on the components / hard drives.

    Another benefit to turning it off, is it will reset the memory space, which can become corrupted over time due to memory leaks.
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  7. stooxie

    stooxie NRA Life Member

    Apr 10, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    My dad shuts down his desktop religiously. Always when not using it.

    He manages to blow up a computer every 18 months :upeyes:
    Then he crows to me about the next one he bought at Costco for $500.

    I always left my desktops running and never had any components die. The last two desktops I had were Macs (not trying to start anything) and they lasted for 6 years each. They didn't break, I just upgraded.

    What people have said above is correct regarding electrical components, especially with drives. Tons of issues with drives, including oil in the bearings that settles when they are off.

    A good rule of thumb is leave the device in the state closest to it's operational norm (i.e. "spinning" if it's a drive.)

  8. JBnTX

    JBnTX Bible Thumper

    Aug 28, 2008
    Fort Worth Texas
    I've researched this question before and come to the conclusion that
    about 50% of people say turn it off and about 50% say leave it on.

    I always turn mine off when not using it. Sometimes I turn it off 2 or 3
    times a day. I've never had any problems whatsoever.

    Modern computer components are less affected by heat than they were
    15-20 years ago. It makes little difference to turn it off or leave it on.

    It all boils down to your preference!
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  9. kc8ykd


    Oct 6, 2005
    We used to have this huge news system back in the day, I had about 4 shelves of 9 disks each. Those things never got powered off after they were installed because they had redundant power supplies.

    Well, after about 4 years of continuous operation, we had to move the shelves from one rack to another, about 5' away. About 1/2 the disks didn't spin up after the move :(

    They were real nice Seagate 50g and 75g SCSI disks, with a 5 year warranty. I was able to send them back and get new ones, for the price of shipping.

    The other failures i've seen are with fans, the bearings fail or whatever dirt is waiting to get in to the bearings, does when it's spinning down.

    My personal machines, i just leave on all the time because i never know when i'll be using them next (they also check mail ever 10 minutes).. so, rather than go through the time it takes to power up and recreate whatever state i was last working in, it's just easier to leave it on, rather than for fear of a hardware failure.

    Also, when i was oncall, it was a time saver to simply turn on a monitor, or wake it out of powersave (just the monitor), and get working on whatever the problem was, then screwing around with waiting for a machine to boot, get the vpn up, get terminals going, get remote management sessions going and all.

    My old cobalt Raq1 also serves as a Squid and DHCP server, so that stays on all the time as well. (only took me 2 days to get that blasted custom redhat os replaced with debian)

    For the average user, I would agree with JBnTX, user preference as to on/off when not in use, especially considering the low cost of replacement parts these days, if something does happen to fail.
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  10. ChristopherBurg


    Dec 18, 2009
    I never turn off my computers. My desktop runs 24/7 while I just put my laptop into sleep mode when I'm not using it.

    I'm not worried about the life of my computers it's just a pain in the rear end to do a cold boot for me. I never close applications, preferring instead to leave them run all the time. Needless to say when I do a cold boot I have to open my applications again and get settled in. I don't really like waiting for Eclipse, Firefox, Mail, NetNewsWire, Terminal, VMWare Fusion, Wireshark, etc., etc. to open back up again.
  11. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001
    Turning it on/off, is harder on those components than just leaving them running.
  12. Ralff


    Sep 10, 2008
    Central FL
    Shut it down before bedtime. Otherwise it stays on, barring any storms that come through.
  13. inthefrey

    inthefrey Moved on...

    Jul 3, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    I have systems in my control room that have been running for 10 years. In my experience, they break more often when they are power-cycled.

    I have TWT's out in my transmitter shack that have been on since they were fired up and tuned. If I were to turn them off, the power supplies will likely draw moisture and fail.

    Newer construction uses solid-state capacitors which increases the life of newer PC system by years.

    The only problem I've had with leaving a system on is that the fan bearings will eventually fail and start screaming. The same thing will happen to your hard drive. This is why high-volume, solid-state memory will revolutionize the computer industry

    If it spins, it will eventually fail.