Please, Turn Off That Computer

Turning off your computer won't hurt it. (Photo: Long Zheng [CC BY SA-2.0]/Flickr)

Years ago, when I was a network administrator, I heard a variety of reasons why coworkers didn’t turn their computers off at the end of the day. Some people simply forgot and others were worried that it would affect the life span of their computer. Some even likened turning on the computer to starting a car; the computer uses more energy to start up (like the car uses more gas to start vs. idling). They felt that it was better to simply leave the computer running 24-7.

Oh, how I wish that the story I came across today on Planet Green was written 10 years ago! It turns out that no, turning your computer off and on isn’t going to affect its lifespan. Additionally, the idea that turning on a computer uses more power than letting that computer idle overnight is also a myth.

Josh Peterson went straight to the U.S. Department of Energy to debunk the altered lifespan myth. “According to the United States Department of Energy, there are no computers on the market that actually last long enough for the negative effects of turning your computer off and on to affect anything.” Source: Planet Green

On a related note, computers are now 2.8 million percent more efficient than they were a few decades ago. Pierre Bull pulled this figure from the results of a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Bull discusses the study on the NRDC Switchboard - 2.8 Million Percent.

Although this improvement is great, do your network admin a favor and don’t use this massive increase in energy efficiency as an excuse to leave your computer on after work. Please, turn off that computer.