Blog > Hardware > Is it ok to leave your computer on all the time?

Is it ok to leave your computer on all the time?

Should I keep my trading computer powered on all the time or shut it off.

For as long as desktop computers have been around, there’s been a spirited and ongoing debate among tech enthusiasts about the merits of leaving them running continuously versus shutting them down after each workday. There are a wide range of opinions and perspectives that fall across a broad spectrum of beliefs, making the final decision on this matter subjective and dependent on individual preferences, work habits, and environmental factors. It’s a pretty split issue with no real right or wrong answer.

First, let’s define a few things. We aren’t going to differentiate much between when a computer is off completely or in sleep mode, in either state the computer is shut off (or almost shut off). Windows also has a state where it’s still powered on, but the monitors turn off, we consider this state to still be “powered on”.

Reasons why you should turn off your computer (completely or in sleep mode):

  • Quieter – the CPU fans, case fans, video card fans and power supply fans are all completely off.
  • Cleaner – no dust accumulation from the fans pulling in air.
  • Longer lifespan (debatable) – When the power is off there is no stress on the electronics.

Reasons why you should not turn off your computer:

  • Turning the motherboard and other components on and off could add wear and additional stress.
  • It’s a hassle to shut down your computer every day. You need to save your work and close apps/programs.

The Answer is Somewhere In-between

In the world of desktop computing, the heat generated by internal components can be a significant cause of wear and tear over time, and the repeated cycles of heating and cooling that occur with frequent startups and shutdowns are thought to exacerbate this issue. As such, the prevailing wisdom suggests that the fewer times you put your computer through these temperature fluctuations, the longer your internal components will last. However, it’s worth noting that leaving your computer on continuously without entering sleep mode is not without its own risks, and finding a happy medium between keeping your computer on constantly and shutting it down regularly is the key to optimizing both the lifespan of your hardware and the overall performance of your system.

The best solution is somewhere in the middle. It’s a good thing to occasionally turn off or reset your computer. Normal shutdowns and resets allow the computer to clear out the memory (RAM) and to perform start-up tests and routines that are a normal part of Windows operation.

Many argue that leaving a computer on all the time saves wear and tear on the internal components. There is some truth to this, if you were turning the system on and off dozens of times a day for many years it would cause excessive wear. Shutting your computer off once a day in the afternoon or evening is perfectly ok.

Leaving your computer on all the time doesn’t necessarily cause excess wear. We have systems we use in the daily operation of our business that never get shut off, only occasional reboots for Windows updates.

We do urge our customers to set their computer to go into sleep mode. A good rule is to set your computer to go into standby (monitors off) after 20 minutes, and have the system go into sleep mode after an hour when not in use.

To set this, click the Start Button => Settings. Then click “System” on the left. Then select “Power” (screen and sleep, power mode). Under “Screen and sleep” you can change the standby and sleep settings.

Windows System Power Settings for Screen and Sleep

Sleep vs Hibernation

Windows sleep mode uses little to no power and starts up right away when you click the mouse or press a key on the keyboard. In this state all the fans are off and Windows stores all your active data in system RAM. Once you come out of sleep mode you’ll be right back where you left off.

Hibernation is one step further than sleep mode and is similar to just shutting the PC off entirely, this feature is more for laptops then desktops. The difference is, in Hibernation Windows saves all active data to a special buffer on the hard drive. This is more permanent than sleep because with sleep mode if the system was suddenly cut off from power completely then you’d lose all the active data in RAM.

Shutting Down Daily

One good argument we can think of to shut down daily is the unpredictability of mother nature. If you live in an area where there are frequent storms (thunder, lightning) then it might be best to shut down your system everyday.

Also, the power grid during hot summer months can cause disruptions to the service. Having a really good UPS power backup can help. These devices provide uninterruptible power for a fixed period of time if the grid goes down. We like CyberPower units. The larger the battery, the longer duration of time you’ll have to keep using the computer and perform a safe shutdown. We like the 1500VA/1000 Watt CyberPower unit found here.

Older computers are more susceptible to risks such as hardware failure, cyber attacks, and software incompatibilities. In particular, traditional hard disk drives, which rely on mechanical components, are more prone to wear and tear over time, while solid-state drives are more reliable due to their lack of moving parts. Additionally, the constant use of older computers may cause them to overheat, which can lead to serious damage to critical components and negatively affect their performance. Therefore, it is essential to regularly maintain and upgrade older computers to mitigate these risks and ensure optimal performance. If you have a 10 year old computer, consider replacing the thermal paste on the processor. If you have any case fans that aren’t working anymore, consider replacing them to maintain better system cooling. Blow the dust out of the computer if a lot has accumulated.


Under most circumstances, leaving a desktop PC on all the time is perfectly ok! Just follow the simple advice we presented in this article and you’ll enjoy many great years with your computer. If you like the peace of mind that comes with shutting down daily, that’s fine also. When you’re ready to puchase a new trading computer, stop by our site and take a look at all the powerful Intel and AMD trading computers we offer.