Computers - to be shut down or not

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
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Computers - to be shut down or not

Postby lrawlins » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:33 pm

At the risk of giving away how much I don't know, which is the best policy to shut down computers used on a daily basis or leave them on continually.

We leave our FHC computers on all the time, and at least one ward seems to leave their computer on all the time.

As a Mac person, I know the Mac OS does "house keeping" tasks in the middle of the night while typically not in use.

Does Windows do anything other than check for updates at 3:00 am on a regular basis?

With the exception of my MacBook Pro that goes everywhere I go, I leave them on 24-7.


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Postby gregwanderson » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:09 pm

It seems to come down to personal preference. Our ward computer is only used for a few hours on Sundays and infrequently during the week. Leaving it on all the time would be a waste. As for the FHC, it may be a toss-up. But you should make sure that hard drives and monitors are put to sleep after a specific amount of idle time. (Saves electricity and wear-and-tear.) Also, if your area is prone to any power fluctuations or frequent blackouts (which is the case where I live) and you don't have a good back-up power system, I'd say the safe thing to do is turn computers off while unattended.

Personally, I've had a few bad experiences leaving a computer on all night and, when I checked it in the morning, it was doing something really strange. As a result, I don't fully trust any computer to behave itself if left on and unattended for hours on end. People will tell you that the components last longer with fewer start-stop cycles and heat-cool cycles. But I've never had a computer fail because of that.

I allow my Windows PC to check for updates in the middle of the day and it hasn't slowed me down at all. But I try to schedule virus scans when I know I don't need the machine for a couple of hours. Otherwise, if I'm not planning to do anything on the computer for a while I like to know that it's all-the-way off. Besides, when in doubt I always reboot anyway. So I like starting the day with a fresh reboot and some assurance that the computer isn't still working on some odd task that should have ended days ago.

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Postby Mikerowaved » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:37 pm

I typically shut down desktop PC's when not in use, unless one or more of the following conditions apply. (Note: Most of these conditions will not apply to an admin or FHC PC. I just throw them out to show my mindset on the subject.)

1) The PC will be used again that same day.
2) It functions as a server.
3) I may wish to access it from a remote location.
4) It functions as an emergency resource where long bootup times and a program or OS update frenzy shortly after bootup is highly undesirable.

Other than that, they get powered down and usually get their power strip shut off as well.
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:39 pm

One of the big questions that comes up in my mind anytime this question is raised is "what are the temperatures like"? In the old days, thermal cycling was a issue. I suspect that's been mostly taken care of now because we have few

Nowadays, the issue tends to be heat drying out the capacitors on the motherboard and power supply. If the room temperatures go much above 85F or so, I'd expect leaving it on will slowly cook the machine.

Assuming that the computer is used 8 hours a day, leaving it on would have to extend the operational life by over 3 times to get ahead in calender days.

So for a FHC, unless it's open a lot, I can't see leaving things on unless it's to allow the middle of the night updates (Both Microsoft and LANDesk).
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