Sleep versus shutdown: When should you turn off your computer?

Whether you should sleep or shut down your computer is a ‘different (key)strokes for different folks’ kind of question: some people are going to swear by snoozing all the way, while others will argue for a mandated end-of-the-day switch off and unplug. Wherever you stand on the shutdown scale, however, there are definitely some good reasons to power down, at least periodically.

But first, a note about old versus new computers: Before solid-state drives (SSDs) became the computer-storage device of choice, hard disk drives (HDDs) were king, and in older hard drives, the head would come into contact with the disk platter upon shutdown, causing wear over time (and thus establishing the notion that it is better to leave a computer running than to constantly shut it down and power it back up again). With most new computers now sporting SSDs, which lack any moving parts, this particular ‘wear and tear’ concern is generally no longer an issue.

When you want to improve your computer’s performance

This is probably the best reason to shut down your computer completely (at least once a week). The more you use your computer and the longer you avoid a shutdown, the more applications may be running in the background and the more fragmented files you’ll possibly have taking up extra processing power. These resource-hogging programs and files can cause your system to become sluggish and unresponsive – issues that will likely be fixed by a reboot. Shutting down and restarting your computer every few days or at least weekly will clear out the memory, allow the machine to perform self-inspections, and alert you to any minor errors or requisite software updates. 

When you want to improve your own performance

Shutting down your computer and powering it back up only when you need it again is like Marie Kondo-ing your computer’s system – cleaning it up and bringing it back to basics. The shutdown/power-up can also Kondo your virtual workspace – leaving you with a ready-to-be-productive clean slate. A freshly powered-up computer can be a fresh start – free of open-tab madness, multiple (unnecessary?) apps open and other desktop baggage. Shutting down your computer at a set time may also free you from nudging that mouse at 9 pm, just to ‘check that nothing important has come in’ – after all, in a working-from-home world, work-life balance is even harder to establish.

When you want to extend your computer’s lifespan

Even when your machine seems ‘lifeless’ in sleep mode, a part of it continues to run and generate heat, which can, over time, wear down components. Computers left on all of the time may have a shorter lifespan – perhaps by mere months, but possibly much longer. Note as well that certain parts (a laptop’s battery, for example, or an LCD panel) are more sensitive to being left on for extended periods of time – you’ll need to weigh up convenience versus slow decline with this one.

When you want to save electricity/money/the planet

Running your computer, even in sleep mode, uses electricity and electricity costs money. If you’re one individual wondering about the cost of ‘sleeping’ one laptop, the amount may be negligible. If, however, you’re an SMB with a number of desktops humming away overnight, the costs can definitely start to rise. Either way, from a green, energy-saving standpoint, the best action is to shut down your computer when it’s not in use (and unplug laptop power adapters).

Contact Geelong Technology Group – Geelong’s IT experts

If you’re having technology issues – if, for instance, your snail-paced computer isn’t speeding up following a reboot – the team at Geelong Technology Group are here to help. From remote or on-site support to tech servicing to new systems, GTG is your one-stop shop.


Contact our experienced IT technicians on 📞1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484), email or drop by the showroom at 166 Francis St, Belmont.

Clean Up Your Computer Month

January is Clean Up Your Computer Month: Organisation and Efficiency Tips

If freeing up hard-drive space and ensuring your computer is running at maximum speed and efficiency is top of your New Year’s Resolutions list… we’re here to help! (And, of course, even if you think New Year’s Resolutions are rubbish, and you haven’t considered the state of your hard drive for some time, we would still urge you to read on!)

With January officially dubbed Clean Up Your Computer Month; here are some easy ways to clean up your laptop or desktop and get organised for the new year:

Number one priority: Backup your computer

Sometimes when we start cleaning, we can get a little gung-ho with files and something important can be inadvertently deleted along with the ‘trash’. (It’s a bit like vacuuming – the job is going so well that you don’t see those Lego pieces until it’s too late…) So – the first priority of any clean-up is to ensure you do a computer backup first. A backup can involve mirroring your hard drive on an alternate disk, duplicating files to the cloud or backing up your data to an external hard drive. For more details, see our computer backup blog.

Organise your photos and your files

Okay, so we all know that organising photos is never a quick process; reminiscing over that Thailand trip can take hours, after all – but slotting those images into a dedicated Thailand folder (and ensuring they’re backed up to the cloud) will save searching time in the future. Likewise, ensuring your important files are correctly named and placed into a logical folder structure is a kindness to your future self. (Remember: if your computer desktop looks like a giant virtual toddler has scattered documents and folders across its entire surface, this is the place to start. A clean virtual desktop is just as practical and advantageous as a clean and organised desktop IRL. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not check that your physical desk setup is ergonomically sound?)

Delete what you don’t need

Downloads you don’t need? Delete! Files that are no longer relevant? Delete! Programs and applications you haven’t used for months or years? You know what to do! (Actually, with programs and applications – make sure you actually correctly uninstall these, rather than just hit ‘delete’, otherwise they may still be there running and taking up space in the background.) Oh, and when you’re done with your delete-athon, don’t forget to clear your recycle bin as well.

Straighten up your online self

All of this productivity enhancement will be curtailed if you still have 10,077 unread emails in your inbox and no less than 43 tabs open on your internet browser. Make your email attack a three-pronged approach. First, delete old emails that no longer require your attention. Second, create a folder system that will work for you, allowing you to prioritise and differentiate between work, family and friends. Finally, get busy unsubscribing from email lists you know that you don’t need – time spent now will leave your inbox much clearer in the future.

Cleaning up your cookies and deleting your browser history can help improve your internet experience. Further enhance your online browsing by also tidying up your bookmarks (delete those you don’t need, rename and assign to custom bookmark folders those that you do use). And, if you’re feeling really inspired, you could even jump into your social media accounts, ensuring your security and other settings are tailored to your requirements.

Get physical

We wrote a blog last year about the importance of physically cleaning your computer and computer accessories – for your health and for the health of your equipment. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Clean Up Your Computer Month should be an excellent catalyst to do so!

January might also be time to take stock of your hardware and to get rid of those items – laptops, computers, monitors, tablets, mobile phones, printers, chargers, cords or other accessories – you no longer need. Remember that up to 95% of materials from recycled electrical goods can be recovered for reuse, so check out Planet Ark for details on what can be recycled and where.

And finally…

Make sure your cybersecurity is up to scratch (all of this cleaning will be for naught if your system is invaded by a virus or malware) and reach out if you need assistance. The experienced team at Geelong Technology Group can help; backups, anti-virus protection, managed IT support solutions, computer repairs, Ubiquiti phone systems and new software or hardware. So, don’t hesitate to give Geelong’s technology experts a call. 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484) or stop by our showroom at 166 Francis St, Belmont.


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Quick and Essential Guide to Backing Up Your Computer

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