Many people wonder if they should shut down their computer each day or leave it on. Furthermore, they wonder how often they should shut down their computer if they do leave it on. There are many different schools of thought on how to answer this question, but there are a few factors that play into answering this question. The simple answer is that it all depends on how you use your computer. It could depend on how much electricity is in your area or if you need access to the system remotely, for example. The following are a few things you need to consider when answering this question.
Cost of Electricity
A basic computer with a monitor will use about 350W of power. So, you just need to figure out how much your electricity company charges for a kilowatt hour. 350W is .35 kW. If your electric company charged $.10 per kWh then it would cost about $25 a month to keep your computer on all day. That may be enough to persuade you to shut it down up each day. But, there are other things to consider
Wear Down the PC
Some people do not realize this, but there are moving parts inside a computer; most notably the hard drive. It has spinning disks that are mechanical. Furthermore, there are cooling fans for the chassis and the processor. The more these moving parts are used, the more likely they will break down to normal wear and tear.
Over time processes accumulate on your computer and never get shut down if you leave the computer running. This can lead to problems running other programs as processes take up more and more resources. When you restart your computer you are giving it a fresh start and all those running processes are killed.
Access to System
Some people run processes on their computer so it needs to be running at all times. Others need to reach their PC remotely when they are out of town, at work or somewhere else. Therefore, the computer needs to be running, obviously, for them to access it.
If you would like to be able to shut down your PC when not in use, but still be able to access it on demand, then you may want to look into a feature called Wake On Lan. You will need a network interface card that supports this technology. And, you will need to configure your firewall to work with this technology in order to implement it remotely. That is an article for another post. But, the point is you can still get to your PC when needed without keeping it running all the time.
As you can see there are several factors that will determine if you keep your PC running all the time or not. For some it makes a lot of sense to turn it off when you are not using. However, for some there is a need to keep it running all the time.