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Turning off your computer, bad?

post #1 of 7
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I was browsing the internet and came across this comment:

"My desktop stays on 24/7, I only allow it to turn my monitor off and the hard drive motors when it's been so long. Never standby or hibernate, never shut down. Fun fact: Constant cycling of a computer's power supply will cause damage to your system. Not instantly, mind you, but every time the system is shut down after being on for even the shortest time, the heating/cooling cycle of all of the soldered components wears them out, eventually they will become brittle and crack, causing connections to break."

To me this sounds highly unlikely, but I want to hear an opinion from a community more educated than the people on the website where I found this comment.

Is there any grain of truth in what he is saying? Discuss!
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post #2 of 7
I have a 12 year old PIII computer from 1999 that still works fine.

I would say that turning off your computer and allowing the power supply to cool down and heat back up may knock about 2 weeks off of it's 20+ years of service it could provide.
    
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post #3 of 7
The whole shut down and boot up process is more stressful on the components than 24/7 running from what I always heard...psu's last longer, hard drives last longer, from what I've heard like I said. My computers basically had 99.9% up time (no sleep, standby, etc I restart it maybe once a week or every 2 weeks) for the last 4 and a half years and I've literally had not one issue. So there may be some truth to that.
    
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post #4 of 7
w/o knowing any facts about this... I find it hard to believe and if it is true the outcome of shutting down the
computer is minimal and parts die before you can see this kind of outcome.
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post #5 of 7
even if it were true who keeps any one component long enough for this to matter?
    
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post #6 of 7
For me, no windows updates = no reboot. I shut it down very rarely cleaning the dust. Right now it's been like a month no shut down, i dont think it damage anything it's mean to run after all. Also it may be bad to turn it off because of the bearings inside the hdd stop spinning.

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Edited by 222Panther222 - 12/13/11 at 7:54pm
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post #7 of 7
Ok, from someone who has been using PC's since 1994, and who has often left computers running for *YEARS* without powering off (except for important reasons like opening the case to upgrade something or flash /clear cmos), I'll tell you this directly:

Those people ARE technically correct, but the truth is always somewhere inbetween.

Before I explain, ask yourself a question: When do light bulbs usually fail?

When you turn them on.

Turning on components puts stress on the system. A charge has to build up. Devices have to spin up. One reason why Western Digital "Green" hard drives tend to die often is because their spindowns are set to 8 seconds by default, and this spin down/spinup is just like powering a system. it adds wear and tear. If you flash a firmware (wdidle3 1.05) to disable the idle timer, it brings long, reliable life to the drives. That's just an example.

That being said, turning off a system isn't bad for it, and DOES save electricity (or just use S1 or S3 sleep), but does increase the chance that a fading or weaker component might eventually fail. If a system is kept powered on 24/7, well dusted, well ventilated, and does not overheat, there is almost no chance of a failure, unless there is a defect in an IC, resistor, soldier, mosfet, etc... So yes, if a system is well maintained, and well cooled, it is safer to keep it on.
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