At first thought, turning it off seems to conserve the most energy and preserve your computer’s lifespan. However, there are many factors to consider when it comes to leaving it on or turning it off. In this related post, we explain how sleeping computers may be vulnerable to a cold boot attack. Keeping your computer on 24/7, or turning it off after each use doesn’t have a greater benefit over the other. Both options have consequences.

Leaving your computer on all day

Depending on how often you use your computer, leaving it on could actually help the life of internal components. What many people don’t realize is it takes a lot of power to restart the internal functions of a computer.     Leaving your computer on doesn’t cause as much stress as continuously turning it on and off. However, there is still stress being added at a constant rate. This may sound confusing but there are things to consider. Every time a computer is turned on after a full shut down, there’s a power surge that causes hard drives to jolt and forces fans and other components to spin. With an older computer, leaving it on helps relieve stress as components are aging and may not be stable enough to run with constant electrical currents.

Turn it off

Turning a computer off when not being used isn’t a bad idea when it is brand new. A big reason for that is the product is still within the warranty period. You don’t want to put enough stress on your computer that it breaks, but if you do, you could save a ton of money. A new computer is more stable than one that has been operating for a few years. Because of this, it can handle a bit more stress. If you decide to turn the computer on and off, you should still consider outside factors that could speed up the aging process. It’s important your computer doesn’t sit in hot or overly humid climates. Another factor to consider is the power intake. If the device is fully charged, there’s no need to keep it plugged in.

Sleep, hibernate…what’s the difference?

Sleeping and hibernating are essential terms for on and off, or continuously running. When a computer is sleeping, it isn’t turned off completely; it’s running at a low power state. Technically, hibernating your computer doesn’t completely shut it off either. However, when you continue the use of your computer it functions almost the same way as an off and on scenario. Hibernating will cause more stress than sleeping does.

Proper reboot

If you decide you want to restart your computer after each use, you must do it the proper way. Holding down the off button should not be an option. Both Macs and PCs have specific ways to restart a computer and it is a very simple task to perform. For a PC, all you need to do is open the start menu, select the power button and press restart or shutdown.

For Mac users, the process is as simple. Select the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen and choose your desired option.

These reboots are known as soft resets. You absolutely do not want to perform a hard reset unless there is a legitimate problem with your device or you are trying to clear the hard drive for a resale.

Shut down or leave on: What’s the best option?

We turned to our own John Davila, who is our go-to guy for all things tech here at He recommends shutting down and restarting your computer once a week. Rebooting allows it to install updates and clear out your memory or RAM.