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Is it bad to leave my computer on 24/7

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February 17, 2010 10:35:56 PM

I was wondering if it is because I hate turning mine on and off, wouldnt it kill the hard drives if I left it on 24/7 I have heard different debates where people are talking about leaving it on being bad or good because its bad for the bearings in the hard drive or its good because everything doesnt heat up and cool down so much.

lemme know what you think

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a c 415 G Storage
February 17, 2010 10:51:25 PM

In the grand scheme of things, assuming your drives are adequately cooled, I think it's likely to be a wash. I've worked with servers whose hard drives had run 24x7 for over a decade, so it's not like leaving them on is a sure way to kill them.
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February 17, 2010 11:25:09 PM

I'd consider swapping my HDD's out every 2 years or so...

Most servers use enterprise class drives that are rated to run 24/7 for 5 years.

In my experience with Seagate Desktop drives they often fail after about 2 years of 24/7ish running. Maybe this was a bad batch of 300GB drives...
Though have had other drives also fail after a similar amount of time - usually in my case with 1 year as main system drive, then another year or so on media duty.
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a b G Storage
February 18, 2010 11:34:19 AM

This topic has been around for at least 25 years. The results are still ... inconclusive.
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February 18, 2010 12:35:18 PM

You feel lucky punk!?
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a b G Storage
February 19, 2010 1:33:14 AM

If you don't want to turn it off, put it on standby, and set it never to turn off automatically. It will be in a low power state, and will jump to life almost immediately after you press a button.

On another note, why do you want it on all the time anyway?
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February 19, 2010 1:48:48 AM

I want it on all the time because I never know when I am going to be on it, plus I have it running a bunch of different stuff that I use and sharing internet, its kind of complicated lol.. There are times when I think im gona be gone for a long time so I shut it off, then I get back a half an hour later and need to be on it for another 20 minutes, its a weird situation lol
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a b G Storage
February 19, 2010 2:25:55 AM

Sharing Internet? Get a router. then put your computer on standby. it's going to be on in less than 5 seconds.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 19, 2010 2:37:14 AM

vexun11 said:
There are times when I think im gona be gone for a long time so I shut it off, then I get back a half an hour later and need to be on it for another 20 minutes
Sounds like a perfect situation for "sleep" or "hybrid sleep" mode. With "hybrid sleep" mode you can be working with your machine less than 10 seconds after you tap a key on the keyboard to wake it up.
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a c 353 G Storage
February 19, 2010 3:06:13 AM

The Power on is the hardest strain on electronics/electrical components. Be they HDD or a motherboard, or a simple "OLD" fashion lite bulb.

To give sminlal, and others, a boost. The rotating Beam Ceilometer used two 6 Million CP rotating lamps shining into a 3 foot parabolic mirror. During 90 degrees they were on full, 35 AMPs, during the remainding 270 degrees instead of turning the lamps off they just reduced the current to 14 Amps - Greatly improved the lifespan. Not as big of a benifit to computers.

Wife leaves hers on 24/7 (Unless on vacation) - Me I turn mine off at night - No difference. At work I leave my computer on 24/7.
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February 19, 2010 3:19:45 AM

Leaving your PC on won't make a very big difference.

Your Hard drive will be obsolete before it dies(mostly). :) 
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February 19, 2010 3:33:51 AM

Alright, I feel comfortable enough leaving this stuff on, isn't it really important to restart the computer each time you get back on it? I thought there was something with the hard drive where you need to restart your system to prevent some damage, maby i'm wrong.
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a c 353 G Storage
February 19, 2010 3:09:46 PM

Not sure of the interval, but Yes do a reboot maybe once a week. Depending on programs, some do not "let go" of all their memory - called memory leak. Also refreashs some cache that didn,t get flushed.
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February 19, 2010 7:44:46 PM

Leaving it on all the time will not hurt it other than it's always pulling air through the case and will get more dust inside and it will use more electricity.
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February 19, 2010 7:56:42 PM

I think it depends what does the computer do during the time you are not using it. is is it simply on or still doing e.g. downloading or other stuff? anyways, computer being one doesn't mean the harddisk is accessed. Most of time computer is working on main memory ... and also depends on the operation system you are using. if you like to keep it on for long long time, I would suggest using linux for example SUSE or Ubutun....




drf

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February 19, 2010 8:55:23 PM

I am running windows 7 and usually my computer is idle sharing internet sometimes and once in a while I have downloads running, I would run ubuntu if I could figure out how to run high performance games on it.

thanks
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a b G Storage
February 19, 2010 9:21:49 PM

Try wine. It's not perfect, but a bunch of the big titles are supported. Or dual boot, which is what I do (with mint, I like the feel better). About harming the hard drives without restart, maybe it has something to do with a rumor (which I would like to hear a response to) that I heard which said that you should wait ten seconds between powering off and restarting to let the drives spin down and avoid damage. Admins; is this considered good practice, or doesn't it matter?
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a c 114 G Storage
February 19, 2010 9:26:10 PM

I have twin SCSI 15000 rpm drives running in a desktop box I used as a file server for a peer to peer (10 station) network .... now just used as a place to store backups. It's been running 24/365 since 2001. Machine gets rebooted maybe 2-3 times a year.

Have had failures w/ every manufacturer but the reason I have gone w/ Seagte a lot of late is that lacking a clear performance winner, the decision lies with other factors:

a) Seagate of late ranks hi in sound and temperature comparisons.
b) Seagate has been the easiest to work with, for me anyway, thru the warranty process.

I have not had a drive failure however since 2003 and credit that to four things:

1. Using quality, cases no smaller than mid tower with an emphasis on cooling (inc. the HD cage).
2. Using quality PSU's
3. Checking HD Surface temperatures in reviews before picking a HD
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...
4. Leaving machines on 24/7 which means more stable temperature environment. Like a light bulb whose life is determined not by how many hours it runs but by how many on / off (heat up / cool down) cycles it goes thru, a HD warming up and cooling down has a similar effect on mechanical life.
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a b G Storage
February 19, 2010 9:32:20 PM

Those SCSIs are awesome! The owner/engineer of the small company I work for has a bank of them in his workstation computer, and the IO is incredible. Small, but fast.
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Best solution

a c 415 G Storage
February 19, 2010 11:56:49 PM

vexun11 said:
Alright, I feel comfortable enough leaving this stuff on, isn't it really important to restart the computer each time you get back on it? I thought there was something with the hard drive where you need to restart your system to prevent some damage, maby i'm wrong.
What you're talking about here isn't a physical issue with the computer system (like overheating or bearing wear), but rather an organizational issue with the software inside. As RetiredChief said, over time poorly written programs can accumulate "baggage" which wastes memory and in the worst case cause them to work incorrectly. In that sense, rebooting is kind of like "spring cleaning" for the software.

My own experience is that these kind of issues are a lot less common in modern software than they were say, 10 or 15 years ago. So I think that most people who normally use "sleep" mode still shutdown completely and reboot their system from time to time, perhaps weekly.

Actually I suspect that with Microsoft's patch schedule you could get away just rebooting whenever the patches force you to... ;) 
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February 20, 2010 12:56:33 AM

Awesome I really appreciate the help everyone!
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February 26, 2010 11:45:55 PM

Best answer selected by vexun11.
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