Never turn off the computer???

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.

    Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)

    What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?

    Thank you,

    Jean-Pierre Gauthier
    Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Sep 1, 2006
    #1
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  2. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    beenthere Guest

    "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    > teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    > Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    > What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >

    It`s the old story of the chicken and the egg <g>.

    It depends how large you want your eletricity bill to be.
    beenthere, Sep 1, 2006
    #2
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  3. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    philo Guest

    "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    > teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    > Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    > What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?



    Though I'm hardly an expert...I do a *lot* of computer repair...
    and it seems that the machines that are left on 24/7 loose harddrives a lot
    more often than those
    that are just used periodically...

    I'd turn the machine off over night.
    philo, Sep 1, 2006
    #3
  4. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Jerry Attic Guest

    "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> said in
    news::

    > On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    > teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    > Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    > What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?


    It's been a debate among PC users for years whether to leave the PC on
    after done with a session or to turn it off. Some people leave them on
    because when you turn a PC off and then on, you have a "power surge" that
    flows through the machine when it's cold that may, over time, damage
    components like the electronics (CPU, capacitors, etc.) or the hard drives
    (which contain about the only moving parts in a PC.) Others believe that
    this isn't enough of a problem to warrant worryig about and point to saving
    energy and safety (they fear a running PC as a fire hazard.) As it is with
    most modern PCs, they *always* power running through them even when "turned
    off" because ATX machines power on through software on the BIOS. They just
    haven't instructed the power supply to power the rest of the machine up.
    As for your grand daughter's PC class, I suspect they leave the machines
    on all the time for administrative purposes for the sys admin and to
    prevent any tom foolery like password hijacking. Right around 9th grade you
    have some really computer savvy wannabe h4X0r5.

    HTH

    Jerry
    Jerry Attic, Sep 1, 2006
    #4
  5. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    ian field Guest

    "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    > teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    > Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    > What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >
    > Thank you,
    >
    > Jean-Pierre Gauthier
    >


    One school of thought is that switching on/off causes wear to the hard
    drive, the theory being that as the disks spin at high RPM and create a
    laminar air flow that floats the heads off the surface - no contact = no
    wear. Obviously every time you switch off the HD stops spinning and as it
    slows the heads sink onto the surface and wear the landing point.

    My own experience is that HDs fail just as readily as when the PC is turned
    off and the CPU fan fills with dust and/or its bearings dry out causing
    failure - oh! and leaving it on wastes a lot of elastictrickery!
    ian field, Sep 1, 2006
    #5
  6. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Evan Platt Guest

    On Fri, 01 Sep 2006 19:45:15 GMT, "beenthere" <>
    wrote:

    >It depends how large you want your eletricity bill to be.


    I'm betting a computer uses about, what, $5 a month in electricity, if
    that?
    Evan Platt, Sep 1, 2006
    #6
  7. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Gubo Dangle Guest

    Evan Platt explained on 01/09/2006 :
    > On Fri, 01 Sep 2006 19:45:15 GMT, "beenthere" <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >> It depends how large you want your eletricity bill to be.

    >
    > I'm betting a computer uses about, what, $5 a month in electricity, if
    > that?


    you may be surprised...

    http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/computers.html
    Gubo Dangle, Sep 1, 2006
    #7
  8. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Ron Martell Guest

    "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> wrote:

    >On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    >teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    >Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    >What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >
    >Thank you,
    >
    >Jean-Pierre Gauthier


    The "rule of thumb" that I have used for years is that turning a
    computer on and off once has about the same long-term cumulative
    effect as does leaving it running for 24 hours.

    The only study that I have ever seen was done years ago (on 80386
    machines, no less) where a large number of identical computers were
    purchased by a university and split into two lots - one was put into
    computer labs and classrooms where the practice was to turn the
    machines off at the completion of each class and then the next class
    would turn them back on. The other group was put into administrative
    offices where they were normally turned on at the beginning of the
    work day and turned off at the end.

    Within 18 months the lab and classroom computers were starting to have
    considerable numbers of failures of motherboards, RAM, video cards,
    hard drives, etc. and at the end of 4 years pretty well every
    machine had experienced at least one major component failure. The
    admin machines were still going strong, with an insignificant number
    of failures, at the end of 4 years.

    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP (1997 - 2006)
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca
    Syberfix Remote Computer Repair

    "Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference
    has never been in bed with a mosquito."
    Ron Martell, Sep 1, 2006
    #8
  9. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Fuck Face Guest

    "Evan Platt" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Fri, 01 Sep 2006 19:45:15 GMT, "beenthere" <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>It depends how large you want your eletricity bill to be.

    >
    > I'm betting a computer uses about, what, $5 a month in electricity, if
    > that?


    It all adds up though -- there are a lot of computer users around the globe.
    It all adds up, bit by bit.
    I'm not exactly your poster-boy for the green movement, since I use
    shit-loads of electricity myself, but I can see how much we all use. It's
    not insignificant.
    I saw this programme years back (on the BBC I think) about this bloke who
    built a dome-like home made of timber and covered in mud & turf.
    It was pretty big inside -- it was warm in winter and cool in summer -- it
    had a wood-burning stove for cooking and heat -- solar panels for
    electricity for his computer -- he used rain water for showering.
    Admittedly he still had to go shopping now & again, but he was
    semi-self-sufficient, and that impressed me a lot.
    [If anyone knows a website for the bloke in question, please let me know].
    After seeing that programme I wondered why more homes aren't built with
    solar panels as a matter of course.
    Surely that'd relieve the strain on the (UK) national grid a huge amount?
    Fuck Face, Sep 1, 2006
    #9
  10. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    John Dean Guest

    Jean-Pierre Gauthier wrote:
    > On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    > teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    > Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    > What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >


    You can find the debate all over the web through a search engine. Very
    roughly, the "leave it on" supporters point to the wear and tear on
    components (particularly the HD) caused on boot-up and power down and reckon
    the occasional capital cost of replacement outweighs the running cost of
    power supply. The debate is complicated by the fact that there is no
    universal agreement on exactly how much power a computer consumes when not
    in use.
    The "Turn it off" guys believe running costs outweigh the possibility of
    hardware failure (and point out how rigorously components are tested and
    that almost everyone will have upgraded before any part of their machine
    wears out.)
    I've seen vehement arguments on-line between people who hold diametrically
    opposing views but who both seem to be equally (and very well) qualified to
    know what goes on under the bonnet.
    The only extraneous argument I know is that using a computer for some form
    of distributed computing (eg folding at home) may be of longer term benefit
    to Society and more work will be done by leaving machines on.
    And there's a third party view that says OK, leave 'em on during the day
    when you may come and go, but turn it off when you turn yourself off because
    the puter is no use to you while you're asleep.
    --
    John Dean
    Oxford
    John Dean, Sep 1, 2006
    #10
  11. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Guest

    "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> wrote:

    >On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    >teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    >Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    >What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >
    >Thank you,


    Depends upon you and it's use.

    I used to run a BBS, and if the computer wasn't on 24/7 it was a near
    panic on my part :) ran trouble free for years and years.

    There was a thread on Digg.com that FireFox will crash you (memory
    leak) if left running for three weeks - about the only problem I know
    of.

    --

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html
    , Sep 2, 2006
    #11
  12. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    PeeCee Guest

    "Ron Martell" <> wrote in message
    news:eek:...
    > "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> wrote:
    >
    >>On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    >>teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >>
    >>Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >>
    >>What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >>
    >>Thank you,
    >>
    >>Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    >
    > The "rule of thumb" that I have used for years is that turning a
    > computer on and off once has about the same long-term cumulative
    > effect as does leaving it running for 24 hours.
    >
    > The only study that I have ever seen was done years ago (on 80386
    > machines, no less) where a large number of identical computers were
    > purchased by a university and split into two lots - one was put into
    > computer labs and classrooms where the practice was to turn the
    > machines off at the completion of each class and then the next class
    > would turn them back on. The other group was put into administrative
    > offices where they were normally turned on at the beginning of the
    > work day and turned off at the end.
    >
    > Within 18 months the lab and classroom computers were starting to have
    > considerable numbers of failures of motherboards, RAM, video cards,
    > hard drives, etc. and at the end of 4 years pretty well every
    > machine had experienced at least one major component failure. The
    > admin machines were still going strong, with an insignificant number
    > of failures, at the end of 4 years.
    >
    > Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    > --
    > Microsoft MVP (1997 - 2006)
    > On-Line Help Computer Service
    > http://onlinehelp.bc.ca
    > Syberfix Remote Computer Repair
    >
    > "Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference
    > has never been in bed with a mosquito."


    Ron

    I find that study very interesting, it 's a pity they didn't do a third
    group of machines that were left on 24/7.
    That would have covered the other 'extreme' of the argument.

    My own experience has been 24/7 machines tend to be fine until they are
    powered off for whatever reason.
    Then when they are restarted all sorts of latent problems come out of the
    woodwork particularly with software.
    If left for a few days I have noticed powersupplies dying, and in the old
    days of course the sticky head syndrome.

    I personally subscribe to the on in the morning off at night school as a
    nice balance between the two schools of thought.

    Cheers
    Paul
    PeeCee, Sep 2, 2006
    #12
  13. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    PeeCee Guest

    "Jean-Pierre Gauthier" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    > teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    > Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    > What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >
    > Thank you,
    >
    > Jean-Pierre Gauthier



    Benefit:
    The teacher has taught you to consider the issue.

    Drawback:
    Teachers are notoriously wrong with the technical detail.

    (I've fixed many an electronic device that got screwed because the teacher
    knew it was just a case of plugging this in or cutting that out. In
    principle they were right, in practice wrong plug/wrong place to cut!)

    Paul.
    PeeCee, Sep 2, 2006
    #13
  14. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Mitch Guest

    In article <edadr7$lkj$>, John Dean
    <> wrote:

    > You can find the debate all over the web through a search engine. Very
    > roughly, the "leave it on" supporters point to the wear and tear on
    > components (particularly the HD) caused on boot-up and power down and reckon
    > the occasional capital cost of replacement outweighs the running cost of
    > power supply. The debate is complicated by the fact that there is no
    > universal agreement on exactly how much power a computer consumes when not
    > in use.
    > The "Turn it off" guys believe running costs outweigh the possibility of
    > hardware failure (and point out how rigorously components are tested and
    > that almost everyone will have upgraded before any part of their machine
    > wears out.)
    > I've seen vehement arguments on-line between people who hold diametrically
    > opposing views but who both seem to be equally (and very well) qualified to
    > know what goes on under the bonnet.
    > The only extraneous argument I know is that using a computer for some form
    > of distributed computing (eg folding at home) may be of longer term benefit
    > to Society and more work will be done by leaving machines on.
    > And there's a third party view that says OK, leave 'em on during the day
    > when you may come and go, but turn it off when you turn yourself off because
    > the puter is no use to you while you're asleep.


    Then let's clarify the arguments:

    Leaving it on when it's not being used:
    no benefits
    some wear
    using electricity for no benefit

    Turning it off when it's not being used:
    no disadvantages
    zero wear
    not using electricity


    I just don't understand why anyone is resisting turning it off.
    Why wouldn't you turn it off if you don't need it?

    If you just want it available quickly, or conveniently, then why not
    make sure it goes into a sleep mode?
    Mitch, Sep 3, 2006
    #14
  15. Mitch wrote:

    > Then let's clarify the arguments:


    Sure thing.

    > Leaving it on when it's not being used:


    Hardware subjected to fewer power-up surges

    > some wear
    > using electricity for no benefit
    >
    > Turning it off when it's not being used:


    Hardware subjected to more power-up surges

    > zero wear
    > not using electricity
    >
    > I just don't understand why anyone is resisting turning it off.
    > Why wouldn't you turn it off if you don't need it?


    I just provided that answer, but understanding is indeed optional.


    --
    Blinky RLU 297263
    Killing all posts from Google Groups
    The Usenet Improvement Project: http://blinkynet.net/comp/uip5.html
    Blinky the Shark, Sep 3, 2006
    #15
  16. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    ProfGene Guest

    Jean-Pierre Gauthier wrote:
    > On the first day of school, my grand-daughter's 9th grade computer
    > teacher told the class that it was better not to turn off a computer.
    >
    > Sounds odd to this semi-literate computer whizz..... ;-)
    >
    > What would be the benefit?/drawbacks?
    >
    > Thank you,
    >
    > Jean-Pierre Gauthier
    >

    Anything that is me electronic or mechanical wears out with use so I
    would turn it off when not using it.
    ProfGene, Sep 3, 2006
    #16
  17. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    thanatoid Guest

    Mitch <> wrote in
    news:020920061419227745%:

    <SNIP>

    > Then let's clarify the arguments:
    >
    > Leaving it on when it's not being used:
    > no benefits
    > some wear
    > using electricity for no benefit
    >
    > Turning it off when it's not being used:
    > no disadvantages
    > zero wear
    > not using electricity


    <SNIP>

    I read the rest of the thread last night or something and I
    don't remember everything, but your summary is not very
    accurate.

    => ON 24/7/52
    Very infrequent "start-up" blasts (ever heard of
    ANYTHING not needing rebooting OIAW?)
    HD's reach their "MTBF" quicker,
    but MTBF is a marketing lie more than anything else
    Some wear on fans and such which are cheap
    and easily replaced and tend to last forever anyway
    Considerable electricity use

    => ON UNLESS IT WILL STAY OFF LONGER THAN 6 (or 8) HOURS
    1 or 2x daily "start-up" blasts
    HD's reach their "MTBF" slower, but more on-off "jolts"
    Minimal wear on fans and such
    Moderate electricity use

    (...)

    AFA "Turning it off when it's not being used".
    This is a dangerous oversimplification. It can mean on/off 20
    times a day or once a day. There is a CONSIDERABLE difference.

    IMO, switching ANY machine (MOVING or NO moving parts) on/off
    more often than three or four times a day MAX is NOT a good
    idea. Ever notice how cab drivers only turn off the engine at
    the end of the shift? And the only time I have had a car engine
    blow up was when I was trying to start it.

    I don't know what your exact def. of "sleep mode" is, but
    setting the HD to switch off after 2 or 3 hours of non-use is a
    good idea (ESPECIALLY if those 3 hours often turn into 8 or 10
    hours). Otherwise, let it run all the time. Same with the
    monitor.

    Whatever electricity may cost, a new computer or even one
    good'n'big hard drive will cost more, not to mention the
    annoyance and loss of data and loss of time fixing the problem.
    And it's not like the computer is responsible for 95% of your
    electricity bill, is it? It's a TINY part of it.

    AFA "green" concerns go, even though I have donated a fair bit
    of money to Greenpeace and will probably put them in my will, I
    do not believe Homo "Sapiens" will keep on killing this planet
    for longer than two more generations anyway. So, IMO, it just
    doesn't matter. Sadly.

    Cars could run on cheap hydrogen fuel after a $500 conversion
    (producing only steam out of their exhaust pipes) 30 years ago.
    The inventor offered to convert all postal trucks in Orange
    County (or LA County, can't remember) for free, but they said no
    thanks.

    All the US gov't tried to do is kill the guy instead. They may
    have succeeded, since I have not heard of him since then.

    I know this because I knew a guy who worked with him, although I
    never met the inventor personally. (Amazingly, there were even
    fairly extensive TV news reports, but that was when something
    important still had SOME chance of getting in the mass media.
    Those days are LONG gone.)

    Pollution and global warming will continue as long as there is
    one last drop of oil and one last ounce of coal left on Earth to
    burn and make a buck in the process. And when it's all over, all
    there will be left will be nice big piles of computers and
    disposable diapers all over the place.

    Sorry, well into a major rant on another subject. Shhhh....
    thanatoid, Sep 3, 2006
    #17
  18. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Mitch Guest

    In article <>, Blinky the
    Shark <> wrote:

    > > Leaving it on when it's not being used:

    >
    > Hardware subjected to fewer power-up surges
    >
    > > some wear
    > > using electricity for no benefit
    > >
    > > Turning it off when it's not being used:

    >
    > Hardware subjected to more power-up surges



    And just WHAT is a power-up surge?
    Power is regulated -- this is NOT analogous to a water pipe with too
    much pressure.
    Mitch, Sep 3, 2006
    #18
  19. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Mitch Guest

    In article <07qKg.105$>, Luke O'Malley
    <> wrote:

    > I have neve had a light bulb burn out; it always goes on the
    > inditial surge.


    But there are additional factors there, yes?
    It is a very fine resistance filament that the current is being passed
    through -- and it's enough current to make that filament glow.
    When you turn it on, the filament is probably cool.
    And a light bulb doesn't have a sophisticated power-management
    component.
    Mitch, Sep 3, 2006
    #19
  20. Jean-Pierre Gauthier

    Mitch Guest

    In article <Xns9832EFEF9EF63thanexit@66.250.146.158>, thanatoid
    <> wrote:

    > I read the rest of the thread last night or something and I
    > don't remember everything, but your summary is not very
    > accurate.
    >
    > => ON 24/7/52
    > Very infrequent "start-up" blasts (ever heard of
    > ANYTHING not needing rebooting OIAW?)

    But that's an entirely separate issue from the decision to turn it off
    when it is not being used.

    > HD's reach their "MTBF" quicker,
    > but MTBF is a marketing lie more than anything else

    Huh? That's silly -- MTBF 'claims' might be nonsense, but ask any
    engineer -- the concept of MTBF is a very real necessity.

    > Some wear on fans and such which are cheap
    > and easily replaced and tend to last forever anyway

    Yes; some components are cheap, easy to replace, and easy to get, but
    this is mostly about avoiding the necessity.

    > HD's reach their "MTBF" slower, but more on-off "jolts"

    Again, only if you can justify the analogy to pipe pressure --
    otherwise there is no jolt.

    > AFA "Turning it off when it's not being used".
    > This is a dangerous oversimplification. It can mean on/off 20
    > times a day or once a day. There is a CONSIDERABLE difference.

    Oh, sure -- and a huge variation between users. That's why I mentioned
    using the SLEEP function.

    > setting the HD to switch off after 2 or 3 hours of non-use is a
    > good idea (ESPECIALLY if those 3 hours often turn into 8 or 10
    > hours). Otherwise, let it run all the time. Same with the
    > monitor.

    I'd take issue with this 2-3 hours idea -- why not set it to sleep
    after three or six minutes? Is it getting anything done in those extra
    two hours?
    I won't even argue about the monitor -- since the monitor can't do
    ANYTHING for you when the computer is not being used, there simply is
    not reason not to let it sleep or turn it off.

    > Whatever electricity may cost, a new computer or even one
    > good'n'big hard drive will cost more, not to mention the
    > annoyance and loss of data and loss of time fixing the problem.

    But that isn't what we're talking about at all -- it isn't a matter of
    comparing energy cost with component replacement. It's a matter of the
    ROI of a component running all the time commpared to the ROI of a
    component used only when you have purpose.

    > And it's not like the computer is responsible for 95% of your
    > electricity bill, is it? It's a TINY part of it.

    That's a silly argument -- "it's not much to waste, so why not waste
    it?" If you're holding a six-pack, do you throw one away because you
    have five others?
    Mitch, Sep 3, 2006
    #20
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