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Leaving your computer on 24/7

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Lori 1, May 29, 2005.

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  1. Lori 1

    Lori 1 Thread Starter

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    Can anyone tell me, the advantages, and the disadvantages of leaving a computer on 24/7? I remember in the past, computer stores would tell me it's ok to leave your computer on 24/7. But now days, with all that goes on here on the internet, with people stealing this and that, if it's safe to leave a computer on 24/7. And also, is it hard on a computer to leave it on, all the time? All replies welcome. Thanks.
     
  2. golferbob

    golferbob

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    i don't leave mine on all the time. it will use some extra power and i don't care for the fan running all the time.
     
  3. jonasdatum

    jonasdatum

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    Well that depends on why your computer is on all the time. I read that it is good to keep the system on because every time you turn it back on you "shock" your system's components. Thus depleting the hardwares lifespan. Also, you may need to keep some folders shared on the network, maybe your running a distributed computing application like Seti@home or United Devices, etc.

    Hope this help!
     
  4. hewee

    hewee

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    Best to turn it off or reboot once a day to make the PC run better.
    I have and old IBM that is over 8 years old that still runs. I don't use it much now but it was my only PC for over 5 years and I turn the thing off every night and any time I was going to be away from it more then two hour.

    Sure it may wear things out faster but if the lifespan is 20 years and by you turn the PC off more how much are you taking away.
    I think most of use will have a newer PC before we ever have to worry about something like this.
     
  5. bassetman

    bassetman Moderator - Gone but never forgotten

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    Rebooting also gives you a fresh restore point! ;)
     
  6. blues_harp28

    blues_harp28 Trusted Advisor

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    Hi..if not connected to the internet while your computer is left on..no info can be stolen..
    As for 24/7..my concern would be overheating...and coming back to a blank screen...
     
  7. Leathers

    Leathers

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    Ok, I may just be the odd man out here (and I certainly don't mind the title) but for the longest time I've left my computer on for days at a time without any problems. Granted I've burned out a power supply recently but I think that was more to do with the fact that when I purchased this particular tower 18 months ago on Yahoo! auctions, the components the fellow used when he built it were mostly used ones, cobbled together from other computers he was building and/or tearing apart, so the PS was due to fail regardless. Fortunately, they're relatively cheap.

    Ever since I got a DSL connection in June of 2004, I've been leaving my computer on for weeks at at time with no problems. I am running with a firewall (ZoneAlarm), and a router with its own firewall, so I'm not too concerned about getting hacked. I leave my email client off and except for one time coming downstairs to a dead computer (when the above mentioned power supply died) I've never had to worry about my computer doing odd things when I wasn't around.

    Granted I am running on a gig of memory, so it takes awhile before things start to slow down, so leaving it on has never really caused me a problem.

    Just my buffalo nickel.
     
  8. jonasdatum

    jonasdatum

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    Make sure you encrypt those critical files that are on your computer, turn off file sharing, and since most use a NT based OS, disable all user accounts not in use!
     
  9. Byteman

    Byteman Moderator Malware Specialist

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    Hi, The obvious things like hardware effects have already been dealt with. There are some other concerns about leaving a pc on while no one is home:

    If a fan dies> things can get very warm inside a pc and do damage. The pc can smoke, stink up the house. If you are home, that would be noticed probably in time.
    Monitors are the bad ones to have short out> they actually can start a nice fire...If your'e like me, there is a lot of burnable material around the pc...

    You really don't want to breathe the nasty material components make when they overheat or burn.

    I always have shut down when no one is using anything- and have only replaced the power supply in a pc with a 700mhz Athlon SlotA processor. If the fan died, my processor is toast in just a few seconds. The FIC motherboard comes with an alarm just for heat alerts, and believe me I used to have them until I installed some additional cooling and learned some tricks to deal with filtering dust, cleaning fans etc.

    The next concern is lightning, here we have some really vicious storms, power goes out during them, and comes on with no control over the pc trying to restart. I bought a Unversal Power Supply which takes care of line surges, restarts are held off until I do them and all is in control--- I leave the UPS powered up, as when turned off it does not protect things as well...... If you are depending on just a power strip type of surge protection, well I hope it's a really good model. If you use a telephone line connection you have more of a problem if the line connects directly to the old 56k modem> There does not have to be a storm to get a surge that will either damage or kill a modem. The only way to actually protect that type of modem is to remove the telephone line from it or the wall jack.

    Newer cable and DSL modems may be better at handling surges but the advice I got from my ISP is that it would be an excellent idea to disconnect it during any sort of really nasty lightning...I don't and have had no problems that I know of, though the tech for my ISP has told me that he can see on the graph at his end that my cable modem is quote "all over the place" and I assume he meant with some kind of throughput...I'm often working when a storm is on the way and cannot just shut down.
    Since at least here where I live we have those wicked sudden electrical storms I shut my pc off, but as above, it's not the only reason I do.

    To me, since I use the pc for work, it's too valuable to leave on. I do know people who have left things on all the time, and they did not have to for just a personal pc for home use...and lots of them end up having me fix something! Usually, a plugged up fan or CPU heatsink---think of the extra dust that enters by leaving things on!!

    You can control dust to some extent by using filters installed in front of intake fans--- I don't have any problems since filters were put in and an extra fan to move air in.

    The location of the pc is also important---they should not enclosed in compartment type desk cubbyholes, unless they are running with good cooling and in a temperature controlled environment.

    The factors for and against leaving a pc on or shutting it off weigh more toward turning it off unless there is a definite reason you must run it all the time.
     
  10. Leathers

    Leathers

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    I've been running on Win2000 since I'm still wary about XP even knowing that Longhorn is due out next year, I like the stability of the OS for the most part, I haven't had a crash in years. I mostly work off my spare drive, leaving a smaller gig'd drive with the OS in the background, so my 'C' drive is behind several layers of protection (but a good suggestion nonethless, a wary Leathers is a happy Leathers)

    I have just the one user account, so there's no disabling necessary, and so far so good...of course if I'm back here in a few days saying I was hacked, I guess I shouldn't be surprised....lol Thanks for replying :)
     
  11. Red Boy

    Red Boy

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    Byteman has covered this topic well. This is a subject that I have a great interest in and have researched rather extensively -- from a practical, economical and technical perspective. With newer computers (4 or 5 years old), the bottom line is that it is best to turn off if you are going to be away for a few hours. At one time -- on older machines -- there was a case to be made for running 24/7. But the problems associated with these older machines that suggested they should be up 24/7 have largely been overcome. The present thinking is that you will have less problems and get more mileage out of your box if you turn off when not being used for a few hours.

    Red Boy
     
  12. Laurie52

    Laurie52

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    I have always kept all of mine off when not using them. Right now, I am on dialup only but as soon as DSL comes available, will be hooking up to it. But in the meantime, up until a couple of years ago, we could not afford to have our main phoneline tied up. So it was never connected to the Internet 24/7. Even with a seperate line now, it is not. Eventually DSL will be available in my area, but I still do not plan keeping it on and plugged into the Web all the time. There is no need and for security reasons dumb to do so.

    But the main concern is environment.

    I live in a very rural area of the Arizona SW and all I have for keeping down the office temps is a Swamp (Evaportative) Cooler. This does quite well during the days in the late Fall, Winter and early Spring. But by late Spring through the Summer, it starts to get dicey with office temps in the 80s/90s when the outside is 115/120. So I run the computer late at night to early morning instead when the temps are in the 70s/80s.

    We do get our share of bad monsoon thunderstorms with alot of lightening, so whenever the storms seem to get close or I will not be at home, the machine is unplugged. My previous eMachine 600 would reboot if the electricity failed and came back on. This was very annoying when we had power failures from storms where the power would go off and then come back on. So the machine was unplugged whenever the power went out and it stayed unplugged until I was sure there would not be anymore outages. This was our business machine for three years and could not afford to have it get "fried".

    Last week, I finally upgraded to a HP Pavilion 504n P4 2gig At least it stays off if unplugged and replugged back into the wall .....unlike the eMachine. At least I do not have any worries in that sector. But even with the extra fans, it will run hotter during the Summer because it is a P4. So this new machine will be left off completely during the day.

    I do have a heavy duty special surge protector for any possible "spikes". This machine will be sticking around for several years for the business. Just cannot afford to buy a newer, or new, one every few months. The 600 was our workhorse for the past three years and we just finally needed to upgrade. There is nothing wrong with it and right now it's in storage. The computer before that (HP Vectra P 120) lasted us for four years before having to switch over.

    I expect this Pavilion to last me a few years for what the family business needs it for. Just keep all the security updated and unplug it from the wall when the storms are too close.
     
  13. dvk01

    dvk01 Derek Moderator Malware Specialist

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    As this is not a security issue I am moving this to a more suitable board
     
  14. justfoo

    justfoo

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    Hi just a quick note to add, if you're concerned about lightning frying your computer, just having it off will not protect it.
    The best protection from lightning is to have it unplugged, this includes telephone lines!
    Better yet would be a quality surge protector and or a good UPS (Uninteruptable Power Supply) with surge protection to protect your computers power supply, just make sure that all of your equipment is connected through it. This includes your monitor although plugging it into a UPS is generally not do-able because amount of power a monitor takes, but at least have it on a surge protector.
    By the way QUALITY is the key word in buying a surge protector, a few extra dollars on a quality surge protector will be well spent.

    The next thing I'm thinking about is economic. Some of these newer computers come with 400 watt power supplies, I realize that not all 400 watts are used, but would you leave two to four 100 watt light bulbs running 24/7?
    I think most of us would not, since that's a lot of electricity to pay for.

    Next is environment, we should all think about the impact of power plants supplying electricity for all the extra wattage of computer and monitors turned on when they're not required.

    Well those are my thoughts, good luck with it Lori.
    DF
     
  15. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    We have one system on 24/7 and two that are shut off at night. I see no difference in hardware issues with any of the systems. It really is up to you as to how you want to run your system.

    If you worry about overheating, set the bios to shutdown at a predetermined point something like 65C.
     
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