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Is your computer constantly on standby? It might be time to turn off

Standby, for the most part, is a useful feature. If you’re stepping away from your computer for a while, or your heading out of the office for a bit, putting your machine on standby can save time when you want to start it back up again. But is it good for your machine? If you can’t remember the last time you shut your computer down, here are the reasons we’ve heard for turning it off.

Is it costing you money?

If you leave your laptop plugged in overnight, and it’s just sitting on standby, it’s costing you money. Saying that, you’re not losing hundreds of pounds by leaving your computer on hibernate rather than shutting it down - you’re just losing pennies here and there.

According to N Power, a typical desktop computer on standby costs just over £3 over the course of the year, and a typical laptop on standby barely uses anything at all. Obviously, everything we leave on standby is costing a little bit of money - but, the older your computer is, the more money you’ll be spending to leave it on. So if you’re using an old machine, it’s definitely worth shutting it down - otherwise, it’s not really costing you much.

Am I interrupting those updates?

We get it, updates are awful. They can take ages, they put your machine out of action during that time and it means you have to sit and watch a percentage creep up, one digit at a time, until it’s done. But unfortunately, those updates are important to keep your computer secure, and protected from the latest viruses and malware.

Even more importantly, your system might not update at all if you never shut your computer down. Often your machine will wait for a time that’s convenient for you - ie. when you’re not wanting to use it. But a computer doesn’t know that you’re finished if you don’t shut it down. Regularly turning off your computer allows it to get those updates out of the way, and stay protected against the nasty viruses scammers come up with.

Less protection from power surges?

Power surges can completely put your computer out of action, permanently. A power surge is something that can follow a power cut - a massive surge of power to everything that was plugged in and running beforehand. For laptops and computers, that surge of power can be too much to handle, and it can essentially fry everything inside.

If your computer or laptop is on, or on standby, a power surge has the potential to completely obliterate it. But we’d recommend plugging any and all expensive kit into a surge protector or surge protected extension cord, which should keep it safe regardless of whether it’s on or off. A lot of these also come with a warranty to protect the kit that you’ve plugged into it, so it’s definitely worth the investment. If you’re not surge protecting your kit, it’s definitely worth unplugging and turning it off when you’re not using it.

A regular restart keeps your kit healthy

Have you noticed things start to malfunction with your laptop? Maybe a printer has stopped working, or a disk drive seems to be running a lot slower than usual? Maybe accessing your folders takes a little longer than it used to?

A regular restart can fix a myriad of different problems that your machine may be experiencing. Whether it’s hardware or software, simply rebooting your computer allows it to shut those processes down and start them up again - you’d be amazed at the amount of problems it solves. If you’re constantly keeping your machine on standby, it doesn’t have chance to restart and a lot of issues can persist.

Just like all tech, computers and laptops have a shelf life. If you’re worried about wearing yours out, shut it down every so often - it’ll help your machine last a little longer.

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