Reasons to shut down your computer daily

A big question that I haven’t been asked but I am constantly telling people: Why is it important to shut down your computer at the end of every day rather than hibernate or let it go to sleep?  Most people just seem to think they know what is right or someone told them what they think is right without any explanation.  This article is the real goods in great detail.

First, I will start by saying the only two reasons you should leave your computer on overnight is:
1. You either are running something that must continue to run after you are gone for the day, or
2. You need remote access from home.

The main reasons some people leave their computers on overnight are:

1. They heard it is too much wear and tear on the computer turning it off and on every day. (That’s such a myth!  Leaving it on allows fans to keep running, etc. causing more wear and tear if anything, unless it’s asleep. But that’s other issue which we’ll address in another point)
2. Their computer is too slow to turn on each morning, taking time out of their busy schedule.  (Either upgrade your computer or get it fixed.  It should never be that slow!  It’s probably slow in other areas as well which means you are losing productivity)
3. They have many programs and documents open that they are working on and don’t want to have to open everything again and start over. (You are best to close everything properly while you still can or you may come in in the morning and find out the computer crashed or automatically forced a reboot and you lost everything.  If you left it open, you probably didn’t back it up either, since it can’t backup while the files are open.)
4. They only have one computer and that’s when the backups run and it takes too long to wait for it to finish.  (Either have it automatically shut down when backups are done, or schedule a weekly reboot or shut down for weekends.)
5. Pure laziness.  Yep!  What’s the point in spending more time shutting down and turning back on?  Well, the answers are below!

Why you should turn your computer off each night:

1. Backups!  Especially if you are in a networked environment, you will not get your data backed up if you leave files open.  Don’t trust those shadow copy features that claim to backup even files that are open.  I’ve seen them fail, and unless you are monitoring your backups, that’s one more thing to worry about.  The best way to ensure backups are successful is to close everything that is open first.
A couple of side notes to this: if you are in a domain  environment with a server, every single computer needs to be turned off to ensure the server can backup properly.  If you are one person, with a single computer and rely on online automatic backups, it’s a good idea to leave the computer on for some time with everything closed to ensure everything gets backed up.
2. No one can hack into your computer when it’s off, and you can’t get any viruses at that time either.
3. The computer has a chance to fully cool down.
4. The computer clears all memory making a nice fresh start when you turn it on and you may notice the computer is faster then, too.
5. The computer does a P.O.S.T. (Power On Self Test) when you turn it on.  It may happen so fast you don’t notice it, or your computer is programmed to hide the display with a cool graphic instead (usually the manufacturers logo).  The P.O.S.T. checks out the basic hardware and makes sure everything is in good working order.
6. Windows updates complete and check for new updates after each reboot or cold boot.

So now you know why it’s important on so many levels to shut down. For the security and stability of your computer, your network and ensuring backups are done successfully.