Is it bad to turn off the PC? Should I leave it on hold instead?

Surely you’ve ever wondered, am I doing wrong when I turn off the PC? The truth is that this question has been generating doubts for many years for a large number of users, and whenever they ask me, I remember the sudden terror I felt when I turned off my first PC without waiting for Windows 95 to wake me up. will display the “it is now safe to shut down your PC” prompt.

What can I say, it has rained a lot since then. Over time, it was no longer necessary to turn off the computer manually, that is, by pressing the button after executing the corresponding action in the operating system. New ways of using the PC also arrived, such as sleep and hibernation, and these meant that, in the end, many of us ended up not turning off the PC for longer and longer periods of time.

With this change in trend,many questions were arising. We have already mentioned one of them, if it is bad to turn off the PC, but this is not the only one, we could also ask ourselves if it is bad to leave the PC in sleep mode for a long time, or if it is a good idea to leave it on and with the screen off without use that mode. It is easy to think, in a general way, that leaving the PC on for hours, doing nothing, is not a problem, and leaving it in sleep is not a problem either, but is it really the case? Let’s find out.

Turn off the PC or leave it on: Life and wear of components

For years we have seen arguments for and against turning off the PC. Among the most used arguments in favor of it are the supposed wear suffered by the components with the power-off and power-on processes, something that makes some sense, but for some experts it has become “obsolete”, since its impact would be negligible, at least on minimally current equipment. I qualify this because, in theory, the oldest computers are the ones that suffer the most from those cycles on and off.

On the other hand, we must bear in mind that leaving the equipment on is also generating wear even if we do not use it in any way. Many experts have confirmed this reality, and it is very easy to understand. Think of the components and peripherals that have a fixed useful life that is expressed in hours before failure. If you leave those components on, even if you don’t do anything with them, they are working and consuming hours of useful life.

In this sense, we can give many examples, but the monitor is one of the clearest. Leaving the monitor on with a fixed image generates wear and tear that, obviously, can reduce its life cycle. But that’s not all, we must also take into account that this can cause specific problems in certain types of panels, such as afterimages in OLED panels (especially in older models), and reduce the lifespan of LED models. Similarly, leaving the PC on means that the cooling system, and other components, continue to work, even with a minimal load.

As we can see, in the end it is not possible to give victory to one of these two options, since each one has its negative side. Turning off your PC can accelerate the wear and tear on certain components, especially in older configurations, but leaving it on can also cause the same effect on certain components and peripherals. We must not forget that, in addition, the sleep mode, and even hibernation, represent a constant energy consumption.

To the point, what should I do then?

The answer is that it depends on what you are going to use the equipment for. If you are going to use it throughout the day, but with small interruptions that will not last more than one or two hours, the ideal is that you do not turn it off and that you resort to the sleep state >. Under this state, the RAM memory continues to work, so you will be able to use the device almost instantly.

On the contrary, if you are going to use it in the morning and you are not going to touch it again until the afternoon, or until the night, the most interesting option is hibernation. When we activate it, the RAM memory turns off completely, and to compensate for this a copy is made in the storage unit with all the keys of the PC state when said mode was started. Thus, when we use the computer again, it will use that copy to start at the same point (same open programs and others) where we left it. I remind you that hibernation is not activated by default in Windows 10, and that to use it we must follow these steps.

We have a third option. If you are only going to use the PC at a specific time of the day, and you don’t plan to touch it again until the next day, or even for a few days, ideally, you should turn it off. I know many of you will tell me that it’s okay to leave it on hold, that energy consumption is minimal, but that wear that I told you about earlier occurs because, in the end, the components continue to work, even if at a minimum level.

On the other hand, not turning off the PC and keeping it on sleep for dayscan end up causing serious problems, such as blue screens and data corruption, since the memory is in a state of minimal activity and retaining data for too long, something that doesn’t fit with their normal working mode.