How often should you turn off your machine?

When I got my first computer, I would turn it off every time I left my office for more than a half hour. A few years later I would turn it off when I left for the day. Now, I’ll turn it off a couple of times a week. Why the change? You might wonder how often you need to turn off your machine, or if you even need to turn it off at all!

Do I need to turn off my machine?

The short answer is Yes! Every couple of days save all of your documents, close all of your applications, and turn the machine off. Leave it off overnight, or just for a few minutes. The machine will clean itself, reorganize files, empty the trash, install any updates, and generally make itself faster and more efficient for the next time you turn it on. Other reasons to turn your machine off include saving power.

It’s really a balancing act. The process of turning your machine off and back on takes its toll on the mechanics of your computer. But leaving the machine on all the time does the same thing. If you use your machine constantly throughout the day, by all means, leave it on. If you access your machine from a remote location, then you definitely need to keep it on!  (Check out this article for the difference between “Hibernation” and “Sleep”. )

If you use it for only an hour or two, then you should turn it off when you are done. If you know you won’t use your machine all weekend, you should turn it button

But, if you use your machine all day long, there’s really no need to turn it off every day. Once a week should do it.

Remember, when you turn off your machine, don’t do it with the power button. Use the off button on the screen menu. This allows the machine to shut off in a graceful fashion.

Some other things you should do for the general health and well-being of your machine are:

  • Always use a surge protector. These help even out any power spikes so that they don’t damage your machine. We also advise that you use a UPS (Universal Power Supply). This is a battery back up system that protects your equipment from power surges, and provides a limited time of battery life. This is helpful when you’re in the middle of working on a project when the power goes out. It gives you enough time to finish up and save everything.
  • During lightning storms, you turn off AND unplug all of your electronics. Even a surge protector can’t always help protect your equipment if there is a nearby lightning strike.
  • Uninstall and delete any programs that you are no longer using. Even if you’re not using a program, it may have something running in the background undermining the efficiency of your machine. (Yes, we can help you with this if you don’t feel comfortable choosing which programs to uninstall.)
  • Keep your machine clean! Periodically open it up and remove all the dust and pet hair that have accumulated. Dust tends to accumulate on the fan, which is there to keep your machine cool. If too much dust is there, the fan won’t run properly and your machine will overheat. (We can help you with this too!)


Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years.  He is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service to the Denver/ Boulder/ Front Range area.  They can provide remote service throughout North America.

About Gail P. Eddy

Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite troubleshooting and repairs for Mac's and PC's in the Front Range of Colorado, and throughout North America via our remote service. We also provide tips and review products and services to make your technology experience easier.
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