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Always a controversy even within the industry but shutting off and restarting computers does not seem to extend their life. While the hardware is a little different and more robust, servers all over the world run 24/7 for years and years. All of our computers run 24/7 and in 20+ years we have never had a failure (see UPS). But having said that, our computers are replaced every 4-6 years for reliability reasons.
- Leave on:
- Scheduled items like virus scans and backups obviously require the computer to be running and awake. See Power settings.
- If the computer shares data, printers or devices to other computers on your network. See Power settings.
- If the computer is responsible for running other things like security cameras, security systems, phone systems, etc.
- Shut off:
- Hard drives, power supplies and electronics in general do not like sudden loss of power, so unless your computer is on a battery backup device (and sometimes even then), shut it off when thunderstorms are approaching. See UPS.
- If you are leaving for a couple of days or more.
Backup your password(s)
If Windows logons to your email at boot up and you change your email password*, be sure to recreate the recovery disk with that new password!
Don't want a password on the computer at all? Change it to a local account via Start menu > Settings > User Accounts.
* You need to change the email password with the provider first.