Computer Care & Maintenance
Asked by: steph53-ga
List Price: $5.00
06 Jan 2003 17:52 PST
Expires: 05 Feb 2003 17:52 PST
Question ID: 138542
Hello... I am trying to find the safest mode in which to leave my computer after I go to bed or to work. I have heard that some people just leave theirs on all the time but I am not very comfortable with that as I feel this may pose a safety risk. There are four options on my shutdown dialog box: Log off, Shut down, Restart and Stand by. I have always logged off, exited windows and turned power off.
Re: Computer Care & Maintenance
Answered By: feilong-ga on 06 Jan 2003 18:53 PST
Hello Steph53, There are several ways to leave your computer. It depends on your needs and how you want to work. The safest way of course is to totally turn off your computer so that you don't consume energy and let your computer rest. It can also slow down virus activity in case you are infected with a time activated virus. Time activated virus usually work in the background when your computer is idle for a certain period of time. Don't worry, infections such as this is rare. As I said, leaving your computer depends on your needs and how you want to work. My computer, for example, work as long as I do. It's "awake" when I'm awake and "sleeps" when I sleep. Because I'm an Internet worker, I need to leave my computer turned on and connected to the Internet most of the time - this is my need. When I go out, eat, or take a nap, I still leave my computer on (not "stand by" mode) but I turn off my monitor to minimize consumption of electricity. I have a firewall and antivirus programs that scans in the background. Why do I leave my computer on? It's because I want to sit and work immediately after I return from whatever personal matter that I attended to or after taking a nap. I'm after the convenience of working immediately without waiting for the computer to start up - this is how I work. If you want to follow my way, make sure your computer is well ventilated to avoid heat build-up from inside. Too much heat can cause your computer and programs to behave weirdly. It is also a good idea to have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). This will help protect your computer from power fluctuations, particularly electrical spikes. This occurences can damage your computer's internal components, especially your hard drive. Regarding your concern about safety risk, the worst damage that an electrical appliance can cause is fire. In the past, many fires have been caused by unattended electrical appliances. Nowadays, with advancements in technology, this has become a remote possibility but of course there's no harm in playing safe and turning off your computer when you go to sleep is a very good practice. Anyway, you can't read your messages or do other things in your computer when you're asleep. With regards to the four options, shutting down when you don't need the computer is the best choice. The "log off" option is for computers with different users. It is irrelevant in taking care of the computer. The "stand by" mode is to minimize your computer unit's activity. It will turn off the monitor, power down your hard drive, and suspend the activity of programs running in the background. This is an effective option, especially when you want to conserve electricity. I, however, don't use this option because I find that some of my programs crash after resuming from stand by mode. But if this option works flawlessly for you, then go for it. Below is an informative link that will help and guide you on maintaining your computer. Simply press the "Shift" key before clicking on a link so it will open a new window or right-click on the link and choose "Open in New Window" for your convenience. Ball State University - Maintaining Your PC http://www.bsu.edu/web/ucs/maintaining_computer/ You can find more links through the links below. Search Strategy: "maintaining your computer" ://www.google.com/search?q=%22maintaining+your+computer%22&cat=&hl=en "computer maintenance" ://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&safe=off&q=%22computer+maintenance%22 I hope this helps you. Should you have any comments/questions, please feel free to post your clarification before rating this and I'll attend to you as soon as possible. Thanks for asking. Feilong
rated this answer:
Thanks feilong...for your thorough answer! Thanks also to heavylee and dameeti for the comments!
Re: Computer Care & Maintenance
From: heavylee-ga on 07 Jan 2003 09:05 PST
Just to add a comment to feilong's comprehensive answer- It has been explained to me several times that turning on you computer is analogous to starting your car's engine. It's a necessary evil. I've been told that when a computer is turned on, the sudden rush of electricity through the very delicate components can wear them down over time, and I stress OVER TIME. As mentioned earlier, I compare this to starting your engine. If you are running into the convenience store for a moment, its better for the engine to be left running, than to shut if off and restart it only a minute later (neighborhood safety and circumstances allowing). Similarly, if you shut off your computer only to turn it back on only a short time later, its is better to leave it on and just let the screen saver engage.
Re: Computer Care & Maintenance
From: dameeti-ga on 07 Jan 2003 10:14 PST
A few additional comments would be beneficial here. Turning your computer off (power off, etc., not just using the shutdown command) has the advantage of using less electricity (which would be the suggested action when the system won't be used for a long duration -- vacation, weekend, etc.). It also makes it physically impossible for someone to use the system in your absence if your system is controlled by any type of password control access (network access, etc.). Leaving it on by walking away means that others could use it -- an security issue if used where others have physical access to the machine. Leaving it on has the advantage of immediate access when you do return. From a coffee break, lunch, or just a walk down the hall. (Personally, I leave my system turned on 24/7 so I can, any time of day or night, walk up to me, get some info, and return to my previous activity. And the pretty screen savers are fun to watch -- but no one else has physical access to my system so secuirty isn't an issue. The question posed the use of selecting Restart when done for the day (and the responder to this suggestion seemed confused why someone would select this option). Actually, this would be the preferred action if you wanted immediate access to your system but were done for the day. The advantages are many: 1. It directs all applications to shutdown and therefore save all open data files. 2. It therefore also directs the application to prompt the user to save new files not yet saved but would be lost in the event of power loss. 3. It updates any open files the application needs for regular use that might only be updated when the program closes... and would be lost by (again) power loss. 4. It releases all of the resources that might have been allocated by various applications but never properly released during their normal (or abnormal) termination. 5. It allows the system to, if you will, get a fresh start with the system starting in a "clean slate", all system resources in their initial "good" state. How many times have we all been suggested to restart our system when we encounter a system "problem"? It's the only way to know that some other program has not (incorrectly and/or inadvertently) altered the contents of memory and/or some other resource. By restarting the system before we leave, it clears out all running programs and puts the system in a good running state, all while we're gone. We could do the same thing when we returned, but do you want to wait while it does that the next day when you return? Why not let it do it while we're walking out the door. The other area that needs clarification is the use of the Reset button. This button is *not* for our convenience. It should never be looked at as a convenience. It is to be used only as a necessity when all other methods of unlocked your system have failed. Pressing that button just because it appears faster than shuting down and restarting could be the loss of important data, even data that was not being used by your current application shown on the screen. Among the many possible problems: the disk drive's control information could be corrupted because the program that is running happens to be updating that portion of the disk drive JUST as you press the Rest button... and corrupts commonly used areas of the drive so that the pointers to "good data" are not lost because they were never allowed to completely update vital information correctly. Use other means if at all possible. But never touch the Reset button unless necessary. (It's hard to get to so we don't accidently press it.) Think of it as a fire alarm for the system. Stop what you're doing and leave the building. Imagine what would happen if people were updating that file cabinet in the corner of the office, and, all of a sudden, anything and everything in progress is lost. This means that any file folders that have been partially updated (and the rest of the update was left on some worker's desk) and now when those workers reenter the building, the files has some infor updated, some not. Imagine trying to figure out which folders are updated, which parts of the folders are updated, and which parts were about to be erased but (because we didn't finish because of the fire alarm), are still in the files... at best, you ahev to review the data. Imagine this was a database of some sort. You have no clue what's not entered, what should've been deleted, and which records are partially out of sync. This is another reason all by itself to do a Restart when you leave for the day. It forces all running programs to finish their updates on all open files, it closes even temporary files (and/or purges them), and it puts the computer into a good known state.
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