Leaving your computer permanently on consumes energy. Conversely, frequent switching on and off are known to damage the components. How to deal with this dilemma?

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Laptop or desktop PC, it’s always a headache: should you turn off your computer or not when you’ve finished using it? For a long time, specialists advised to leave the computer on, because untimely ignitions fatigue the components due to voltage fluctuations. This advice is less and less true with recent computers, especially those with flash memory type SSD, stronger and without moving parts. ” If you won’t be using your computer for more than an hour, turn it off and unplug it.”advises Florence Clément, of theAdeme. You should know that a computer, even in standby mode, continues to consume electricity (about a third compared to an active mode).

Sleep mode and hibernation mode: what’s the difference?

But not all specialists agree on the matter. First, there is a “hibernate” or “hibernation” mode on most recent computers, where the contents of the RAM are unloaded into a file stored on the hard disk. In this case, the consumption is almost zero since no more parts are powered. The difference with a complete shutdown is that files and apps are left open, which allows you to resume a film where you left off, for example. But, again, the computer continues to consume a very small amount of electricity (about 0.6 watt per hour), so that he can ignite spontaneously at a given time, for example. Only the fact of unplugging the plug cuts off the current completely. On the other hand, only a full restart will install updates and correct any bugs.

Shutting down or putting your computer to sleep: advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of Standby

  • Faster restart (3 to 7 seconds against nearly a minute depending on the model).
  • Remote access to files stored on the computer.
  • The files remain open (you can resume your work where you left off).
  • Automatic tasks continue to be performed (antivirus for example).
  • No fluctuations in the power supply.

Disadvantages of Standby

  • The computer continues to consume electricity.
  • The computer is accessible to hackers.
  • Updates are not installed.
  • The accumulation of temporary files and cache files can slow down the computer.
  • Risk of damage in the event of lightning.

In summary, if the computer is only used for a few hours a day, it is advisable to turn it off after use. Alternatively, one can leave it on in sleep mode (hibernation at night) and perform two to three full restarts per week.

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