Is it okay to merely slap down the laptop screen once you’re done, or should you turn your computer off at night? There is no simple one-size-fits-all answer to this, as with all of life’s great questions, but there are certain aspects to consider. According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Panda Security, only 37% of users shut off their laptops every night. It’s commonly considered that shutting down when the day is done is best practice, as if the computer, like the rest of us, requires a good night’s rest. However, turning off your computer after each use isn’t always essential.
Most computers will fall into “sleep mode” after a set amount of time if left unattended. When you close the screen on most laptops, they go into sleep mode as well; however this may be altered in the settings. This is essentially a low-power mode that consumes little energy while keeping all of your files, programs, and data operating in the background but on temporary hold. When you hit the keyboard or wiggle the mouse, you’ll be able to get back to work faster. It’s also useful if you want to run updates, scan for viruses, or perform other tasks while your computer is turned off.
However, there are some disadvantages to this. If you’re connected to an unsecured network in public, it’s not a good idea to put your computer to sleep because it’ll be more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Leaving a computer in sleep mode consumes electricity, which is something to consider if you’re watching your budget. When it comes to electricity, you should consider purchasing a surge protector, which will protect your computer from power surges that could damage its components. Turning your computer down completely from time to time is also beneficial since it clears the RAM, allowing it to run more smoothly.
Another thing to think about is how often you’ll be using it. Switching on a computer consumes a significant amount of energy, and some claim that this surge puts a strain on the system, potentially reducing the computer’s lifespan. This is why some experts recommend that regularly used computers be turned on and off just once a day at most, and that a full shutdown be utilized only when the computer will not be used for a long length of time. “It depends on how often you use it,” said Steven Leslie, Geek Squad agent, speaking to Digital Trends. “It’s recommended to leave your computer on if you use it several times a day.” If you use it for a short time — perhaps an hour or two — just once a day, or even less, then turn it off.”
“Leaving a computer on all the time is less stressful than turning it off and on multiple times during the day — but it is persistent tension,” Leslie added. Overall, the question boils down to how you use your computer on a daily basis. As a general rule, if you’re routinely using your laptop, leaving it on for days at a time won’t harm it, but it’s recommended giving it a weekly full shutdown and taking some measures.