Five (and a Half) Reasons to Power Down Your Computer at Night

Many business offices remain lit and seemingly alive even in the late hours of the night and through the early hours of the morning. The halls are empty, the cubicles are empty and yet the buzzing sound of transformers can still be heard. This is because most office computers remain powered at night. And why we might be tempted to rush out and yell employee negligence and an indifference to the environment, some of these computers need to be functional at night. Some of them have an automated cycle and a certain administrative responsibility that demands them to be functioning 24/7.

But some computers are just glorified typing machines and there is no reason for them to be left running over night.

Be it out of convenience, carelessness or plain indifference, a lot of employees leave their computers running at the end of the day. And this can have multiple negative consequences. These are the same drawbacks as for the above-mentioned administrative computers, except for the fact that it carries none of the advantages. This computer does not manage software updates for the entire business network; it does not handle the 24/7 customer care nor does it host any of the company’s sites. All it’s used for is writing reports and sending emails.

So why exactly should you power down your computer?

Saving energy – The most obvious reason for shutting down your computer should be the electric bill. If the work schedule has 8 hours, that represents 33% percent of the day. Powering down the computer can prevent an additional 66% addition to the bill.

Environmental reasons – You should not use more electricity that you need to. Reducing your power consumption can help protect the environment and reduce the greenhouse effect.

Increase in performance – A computer that is never powered down doesn’t have a chance to cool down, to rest. This might not matter much to a powerful rig that can easily handle the tasks it’s performing, but for your average office desktop, a nap is almost mandatory for an optimum operating cycle.

Hardware lifespan – Powering down your computer can help it stay functional for a longer period of time. Reducing the stress on the hard disk and on the processor (CPU) can help prevent wear-and-tear generated breakdowns.

Security – An unpowered computer is as close as you can get to preventing intrusions. As long as it’s shut down, the computer can’t be easily accessed neither by an on-site perpetrator and neither by an online attacker.

Power surges – Unfortunately, simply powering down your computer won’t protect it from random power surges. To guard against them you need to shut down the power supply (most modern ones have an ON/OFF switch) or even better, unplug it from the socket.

However, if your office computers need to stay powered on but you don’t want to suffer the full force of the downsides, you can try opting for a power management application, something that is a little bit more elaborate and more controllable that the elementary sleep/hibernate options provided by the OS.

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