If you spend most or all of your workday in front of a computer, you might be wondering whether or not you should turn it off before leaving the office. Most computers can be turned off in one of two ways: pressing a physical button on the case or selecting the “shut down” option in the operating system. When turned off, the computer will no longer receive power. So, is it really better to turn off your computer at the end of the day?

Power Costs

Your computer will inevitably consume more power if you leave it running 24 hours a day. Desktop computers receive power from a wall outlet, whereas laptops may receive them either from a wall outlet or a battery. Even if you use a laptop with a battery, though, you’ll still have to charge it — and charging your laptop will consume power.

Turning off your computer at the end of the day will reduce the amount of power it consumes. Therefore, you’ll save money on power costs.

Wear and Tear

Even though it will consume more power, leaving your computer running actually minimizes wear and tear of its components. Turning a computer off and back on stresses its internal components. When you turn your computer back on, all its components must start back up.

Hard-disk drives (HDDs) will start spinning; central processing units (CPUs) will receive a voltage; random access memory (RAM) boards will become active; etc. All of these processes can shorten the lifespan your computer and its components. Even monitors are susceptible to wear and tear from frequent power cycling. The more you turn off and back on a monitor, the faster it will degrade.

Stopped Processes

Shutting down your computer at the end of the night may also prevent otherwise essential processes from running. If you have your computer set to perform virus scans, disk defragmentations or data backups at night, you’ll need to keep it on. If there’s no power running to your computer, it won’t perform these processes

The Bottom Line

The only real benefit of turning off your computer at the end of the day is that it conserves power. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of increased wear and tear of your computer’s internal components. Keep your computer on!