Should I Leave my computer on at night?
To power off or not?
There are several factors at play here. They include the following:
- There is virtually no power-saving advantage to powering off your CRT monitor. The energy consumed to keep your tube warm may extend the life of the monitor itself and in the end may save the University more by leaving it on.
- If your PC is managed:
- You are better off leaving it on as operating system patches will be delivered to you overnight and your PC will be patched by morning. If you power it off patches will still be delivered but not applied until the next scheduled application time. In Academic Support this is 5am the next morning.
- In terms of Virus Protection, you are again better off leaving your PC on. Virus definitions will arrive overnight and a full scan of your PC will happen at that time. If you power it off you will still receive virus definitions when the PC comes up, but you will have missed the scanning window and have to wait until the next scheduled scan. If this time is again at night time, your PC may never actually get scanned. To make matters worse, if you turn off Real-Time Scanning, (the feature that scans a file when it is opened) you could easily be infected.
- If your PC is client managed (meaning you manage it yourself):
- Obviously the sooner you patch your operating system the more protected you are from viruses and hackers that will take advantage of it. Windows XP has the ability to automatically do Windows Updates. If this is not utilized do manual updates on a regular schedule. Since you are choosing the method and the schedule you are the best one to decide whether-or-not to leave your PC powered up.
- The same is true of anti-virus updates. Choose a schedule that best suits your work schedule and make sure your PC is powered on then it is scheduled.
- Some hardware like Hard Disks fail less when they are never powered off. There may be a hardware cost associated with powering your PC every night.