Computer Tips: Should You Shutdown Your PC, Mac, at Night

I get this question asked all the time and the answer varies depending on the device and the person. There are times when you would not want to shutdown your computer or smartphone because there is something running in the background. On the other hand, shutting down every so often can really fix a little strange problems/glitches that occur if you have had your computer or device on for a really long time.

In this article, I’ll try to go through various points and reasons you may want to either keep your device on or shut it down. There’s no single answer, but in general, shutting down is a good thing that can’t hurt your device. Just as you turn on and off your TV everyday, doing so with your PC, Mac or iPhone or iPad every once in a while is not a bad idea.

Computer Tips: Should You Shutdown Your PC, Mac, at Night

When to Shutdown a PC or Mac

Let’s start with the PC and Mac. So should you shut your PC or Mac down every night? Well a lot of people say turning it off and on will damage your computer, but this is a myth. Just search on the Internet and you’ll see that there is no harm in turning your computer on and off unless you do it 10 times a day. Also, it’s a myth that turning a computer on and off uses more power than putting your computer to sleep. It’s actually the same.

Computer Tips: Should You Shutdown Your PC, Mac, at Night

So here are a few reasons why you should shut it down:

- Leaving a computer on will consume more power, especially if it’s a desktop and does not go into a power saving mode like sleep. Of course, if you look at overall power usage in your house, the computer will probably take up only a tiny portion of total consumption. Power consumption is one of those things people will debate forever. I personally don’t turn off my computer because of power savings, but because it helps keep my computer running smoothly and I feel it will last longer.

- Shutting down a computer will increase the life of the computer because your components will get less wear and tear. When the computer is on, everything is getting power and the temperature of the memory chips, graphics card, etc are higher than if the computer were off.

- If you computer has a traditional spinning hard drive, shutting down will reduce the total overall spinning of the drive and extend it’s life. However, there is a second side to spinning drives. Since it takes some time for a drive to get up to normal spinning speed, forcing it to stop and then start again and again can also cause more wear on the drive. From what I’ve read, if you turn off your computer once a day or a few times in a week, you’ll be just fine. However, if you turn it on and off several times in a  day, it could cause your hard drive’s life to be shortened instead of extended.

For an SSD (solid state drive), this is not as much of an issue. You can turn off and on as much as you like. SSDs wear down with writes. SSDs use a lot less power also, so if you have to leave your computer on, it’s better having an SSD as it will consume less power. The other thing to consider is that booting back up from a powered down state with an SSD is much faster, so shutting down is a good choice with SSDs also. Again, as long as you’re not doing it 10 times a day.

- If your computer does absolutely nothing at night (downloading, converting, backing up, etc), then there really is no reason to keep it on. You can search the Internet for shutting down a PC automatically and you’ll find lots of programs, etc that you can use to turn off your computer at a set time so you don’t have to worry about it.

- If you don’t use any power-saving modes, then it’s a really good idea to shut your machine down. Power saving modes like turning off a monitor or hard disks or putting the computer to sleep are almost as good as shutting down, but if you don’t have those enabled for whatever reason, then shutting down is essential.

- Shutting down and rebooting either every day or once or twice a week can also help reset the operating system and make it run smoother. Windows and Mac OS X both start to have issues after a few days either with memory or something else and restarting always helps improve the responsiveness of my system.

"Computer Tips: Should You Shutdown Your PC, Mac, at Night"

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