Leaving the computer on, or shutting it off?

Most people I have met have an opinion about this, and I’ve also heard that some companies have a policy that forces the employees to turn off the computer after every working day, and if it’s a laptop they also have to lock it into a cabinet or a safe.

I just read a NY times article entitled Leaving It On or Shutting It Off, which talks about the savings and the effect on the machine this might have (thanks for the link, Pedro).

Personally, I always put my laptop at home into hibernation by only closing the lid, and try to remember to restart it once a week or so to avoid it getting sluggish. At work I usually leave the computer on from Monday till Friday, probably out of laziness when it comes to restarting every application, opening all files and projects etc, but I then shut it down every Friday before I go home.

How do you do?


  • Ã&Acirc says:

    Home: turn everything off, desktop and laptop.

    Work: leave everything on … lazyness

  • Turn-off for various reasons it is just inefficient to leave the machine running for several days unless of course it's acting as a Server.

  • Chris says:

    Home and work: Turn it off.

    At work we the policy to turn all non-server-pcs off

  • jordan says:

    I always shut down when I'm done for the day. Startup time is fairly fast, so it's not like I'm losing out on anything.

    I don't have a computer at work, so that one's always off. πŸ˜‰

    Beyond just the energy savings (which are important), my computer is pretty noisy, and I don't care to hear it when I'm trying to sleep.

  • Karl Dawson says:

    At work the laptop goes into my locker at the end of the day and at home I always switch off including the big switch at the back of the PC and the monitor.

  • Adam Larsson says:

    Turns it off at home. Usually leaves it on at work since I telecommunte every now and then.

  • Conny says:

    At my work we must leave the computers on. If turned off, they automatically starts sometime during the night. I think it's for updates or other admin stuff.

  • With my laptop, I always put him in hibernation mode like you, Robert.

    My computer at home, I shut down every time I do something else (even if it’s just watching <abbr title="Television">TV</abbr> for some hours). In the night, I have to plug it completely off power since otherwise there would be some lights glowing in my room resulting in me unable to sleep.

  • sculder says:

    And I usually keep it turned on, even when I sleep. Don't even know, it must be a habit. And I often wake up in the middle of the night, so when I can't sleep I go on checking the e-mail two times a minute and reading LiveJournal πŸ˜‰ Heal me.

  • At home I put my laptop into hibernation and often leave my desktop system turned on over night. I try to close it, but it functions as a file and printer hub for the entire network, so it's not very often I can shut it down.

    At work this system hasn't been turnd off since September 5th (my first day), except for some rebooting.

  • Caislander says:

    Work – Computer remains on 24 x 7 and is restarted once a week. I often have to reach my desktop from home for work relatted issues.

    Home – Computer is off durning the day while I am at work on at all other times. Since I am often called at odd hours of the night/morning waiting for my computer to bootup after I have been paged at 3am isn't an option that I can live with πŸ™‚

  • G.Lindqvist says:

    I always try to turn everything off. Remember that we need to save the power…. πŸ˜‰

  • I work from home, and always have my desktop turned on.

    The laptop goes into hybernation/standby regularly.

  • Home: When I leave the house I turn everything off, then cut the power to the computers.

    Work: Leave the computer on at all times, running Folding@home.

  • Martin S. says:

    I do nearly always shut down my home pc. Sometimes though, when downloading huge files, I can leave the computer during the night or so.

  • Sam Buchanan says:

    Home laptop: leave it in hibernate mode, occasionally reboot just for kicks.

    Work: I shut down every night, partly to save power, partly for security. I'm less concerned about external attacks as I am about off-hours attacks from inside our network, which are often easier and less likely to be detected.

  • Desktops: leave them on, but turn off monitors. Unless I will be away for more than a day, then completely off. Laptops, configured to hibernate and close the lid but off when traveling and not in use to save the battery charge. Servers: always off, joking!

    Years ago there were lots of threads going around about power consumption, hard disk wear and tear and all that and whether you should power down your computers when not in use. Bah! To be honest, unless I'm traveling or there is a huge electrical storm coming I really don't worry about it and have never had a problem.

  • I have two computers at work, a laptop and a desktop. The desktop I leave on all the time but logoff or lock the computer when not in use. The laptop I shutdown every day and bring it home.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for sharing, everyone!

  • Danny Foo says:

    Turn it off during a storm (one friend motherboard is enough), when it's time to go to bed (or I'll never sleep), when my girlfriend or family members start worrying (it happens).

    Leave it on when downloading and when I've fallen asleep at the computer. LoL!


  • Jens Meiert says:

    Work: Only on when I'm there. But that's not quite rare πŸ˜‰

    Home: Only off when I'm on travel. But at home, it varies.

  • erikd says:

    Us real geeks always leaves them on. πŸ™‚

    Since I use unix, I don't feel the need to reboot either. Oh, and the power is free πŸ™‚

  • Glen C. says:

    Home computer is turned off every night. I wish I could keep it on for downloads and uploads.

  • I leave the server and desktop on @ home. I use them too frequently to justify waiting 10 minutes for it to boot.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Again, thanks for sharing with us! πŸ™‚

  • Maaike says:

    Work & home: I turn everything off at night. It's important to save energy, even if you're not paying for it yourself.

  • Work laptop: Off, there's a problem with hibernating a laptop with 2 Gb memory. If I've opened Visual Studio, hibernate won't work and I get an error message. Apparently it's a known issue with Windows. Otherwise when I don't use VS, hibernate works fine. We have to lock our laptops in a safe over the night, but I usually brings it home.

    Home desktop computer: Off, I sleep in the same room as the computer. It's too noisy to leave on.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Definitely, I agree.


    Hmm… Interesting to hear, I don't have that "problem" with having 2GB RAM in any of my machines… πŸ™‚

  • I leave mine on all week until Saturday night. It's off until Monday morning. I don't even want to hear it and I just want to see a blank screen.

    My hard drive doesn't like a 'cold start', so I think leaving it on for the rest of the time is best thing to do to alleviate wear and tear.

    Not very 'Green', but surprisingly it hardly effects my electric bill.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, I lke the blank screen look too. πŸ™‚

  • gian says:

    Hi i'm new on this board and have a question about a laptop i've just bought. How long do you think i can leave it turned on before i should take it off, for example if i left in on for the length of the weekend would that hurt it in any way?


  • Robert Nyman says:


    I think you can leave it on for the weekend without any problems; then again, naturally I can't promise anything so it's best to ask the retailer what's recommended.

  • markIT90 says:

    if i was worried about the energy bill and thats why i shut my computer off?? i bet a fridge consumes more energy ..

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