A switch in time rarely saves anything. . .

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HAVE YOU TRIED switching it off and switching it on again?”

Each time I say those words  I want to slap myself, but so often it’s the logical thing to do when something isn’t working.

There’s a huge variety of ways in which my IT consultancy customers use their computers/technology: some switch everything off at the wall at night, others just turn the router off and some, including me, NEVER switch anything off at all.

As a basic rule, it’s better NOT to switch your technology on and off too often. Switching most hardware off and on repeatedly causes thermal stress of the components when a device is switched on. The effect of going from cold (or room temperature) to operating temperature, (around 30 to 40C) causes the components to expand and shrink as they warm up and then cool. This causes tiny stress fractures in the metal and components and, over time, can cause them to fail

When it comes to your router, it is sometimes necessary to power it off. If you aren’t getting your emails and can’t surf the internet, for example, then switching off and back on helps the router re-negotiate its connection with the broadband server and this can sometimes be a quick fix to what looks like a bigger issue.

So what about your computer? In simple terms, leaving your computer on all the time is less stressful for the machine. Every time a computer powers on, it can shorten the computer’s lifespan.

The risks are greater the older your computer, since a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) has moving parts, whereas a more modern solid state drive (SSD) doesn’t and is far more robust as a result. Switching off your monitor and putting your PC to sleep will often save you more on electricity.

If you regularly use your computer, shutting down can be extremely inconvenient: BEFORE  shutdown, you need to save your work and then the next time you start it up, you have to sit through the boot-up process, manually reopen all the programs you were using and the documents you were editing.

Your computer is generally set to do operating system updates during the night, these will download if your computer is on and even asleep, but not if it is shut down which means next time you switch on and the computer checks for updates it will start updating and clog up your bandwidth and processor as it tries to carry out the update whilst you try to work…

What works best for you will depend on your usage habits and personal situation. If you need advice, drop me a line.

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