• Computers need to be on

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    Today’s key tip to keeping a Windows machine healthy: Turn it on regularly. Yesterday I got a call from someone at the office that was trying to boot
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2570324

      “Turn it on regularly” is different from “Reboot it regularly”, and while that may be a reasonable and expected practice, we’ve seen better. The operating system of a computer should be able to run indefinitely, providing 24/7 service.

      Application software is usually held to a lower standard, and logging off/on occasionally seems to reset things that accumulate.

      FWIW, I have a Windows 7 system in a specialty role (not browsing the internet or general use) that I haven’t rebooted in 3 years+. It’s normally left logged off and performs in a server role.

      I don’t believe my current up-to-date Windows 10 workstation could actually live up to the “never needs reboot” ideal, since we’ve gotten back to lazy software development and poor practices. It often goes the 30 days between updates, but even then I always feel it feels a little more “fresh” to use after a reboot. That should not be a given!

      In all seriousness, computers shouldn’t HAVE to be rebooted. Anyone who designs an operating system that uses up resources and/or requires a regular reboot is simply not doing their job properly. That kind of thing was one of the design flaws of the incredibly undisciplined Windows 95 and its derivatives that was completely resolved by NT. Why slide backwards? Code a deallocate for every allocate, a close for every open, make sure things don’t leak RAM allocations, and create ways to install things without reboot. The tools are certainly there to facilitate these things.

      I sure hope AI doesn’t turn out to be as lazy as human programmers.



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      • #2570331

        Nice ‘Up Time’ and no chance of chip-creep on that Windows 7 system.
        How’s the CMOS battery doing on that system?
        The CR202’s usually give up around that timescale.

        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT- AE
        • #2570409

          Battery health is a good point. The machine is a high reliability Dell system from 2015. I honestly don’t know whether the battery is ready for replacement; it’s on UPS power and hasn’t had an interruption in so long that I wouldn’t know if it’s losing its time when powered-off. Thanks for the idea of something to check.

          Re chip creep, it has the last update before the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations arbitrarily lowered performance significantly for no good reason other than trying to sell newer CPUs.


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    • #2570328

      We reboot machines we maintain every week after maintenance checks and/or updates. I do have a couple clients that run extremely taxing programs that do work better with nightly reboots. Since starting the maintenance and reboots our service calls dropped a good 85-95%

      Try to reboot our phones weekly also just for the heck of it.

      Never Say Never

    • #2570332

      My laptop is on 24/7/365.
      I never shut it down.
      I restart only as part of monthly updates or apps updates requiring restarts.

    • #2570336

      Shutdown, Restart, Reboot. In Windows 10 (maybe other versions as well) to me Restart and Reboot are the same but both are different than Shutdown. Am I correct?

      Is the suggestion to do a Restart/Reboot roughly once a week or to do a Shutdown followed by turning on with the power button/switch with roughly once a week?

      I normally shutdown W10 computers once a day or week, but only do restart/reboot after installing patches when given a message that a restart/reboot is required.

    • #2570338

      I shut my computers down every night. Leaving them on unattended exposes them to hackers or glitches.  Turning them off also saves a small amount of power.


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    • #2570341

      My daily driver and my NAS are on 24/7/365, with exceptions.  Part of my routine maintenance is to run dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth, dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase and sfc /scannow in series at least once a month.

      There have been quite a few times in the last couple or three years when, even though I was experiencing no symptoms of any issues, there would be corrupted files replaced/repaired.  Every time I get a “positive” on that combination, I will reboot afterward.  However, if the results are negative (no problems found) I don’t reboot.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

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    • #2570345

      Shutdown, Restart, Reboot. In Windows 10 (maybe other versions as well) to me Restart and Reboot are the same but both are different than Shutdown. Am I correct?

      In Windows 10:

      Shutdown – If Fast Startup is active (is by default) shuts down apps, but the kernel is copied to reload on next startup. If Fast Startup is disabled then the Shutdown will cause a full, fresh start of Windows, which is the same as a Restart.

      Restart – Shuts Windows and all apps down and starts the Windows application like you just turn it on. A restart doesn’t involve restarting the BIOS/UEFI firmware and the motherboard stays active.

      Reboot – Shuts Windows, all apps, and the motherboard firmware and starts the PC as from a cold boot.

      HTH, Dana:))

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    • #2570352

      So how frequently should we reboot our older computers including:

      • An Epson Equity I desktop purchased in 1986, running MS-DOS 2.11 and GW Basic,
      • Leading Edge Model D desktop purchased in 1986 running MS-DOS 2.11 & GW-BASIC,
      • Compaq Presario 850 tower purchased in 1992 with an Intel Pentium III processor and running Windows Me,
      • A 1994 Apple Macintosh LC 630 with a 33 MHz 68LC040 processor, 8 MB of RAM, a 250 MB hard drive, and a 2X CD-ROM drive in a compact desktop case.
      • Sony Vaio PCV-RS430G tower purchased in 2003 with an Intel Pentium 4 Processor and running Windows XP Home Edition,
      • IBM ThinkPad T40 purchased in 2004 for $1,999.00 with an Intel Pentium M 1.6GHZ processor running Windows XP Professional,
      • Sony VGC-RB30 tower purchased in 2004 with an Intel® Pentium® 4 processor running Windows XP Home Edition,
      • Two Lenovo E20 towers purchased in 2010 for $1,029.99 (each) with Intel Core i3-540(3.06GHz) 64-bit Dual Core Processors running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit,
      • Toshiba Satellite A505-S6985 laptop purchased in 2010 for $799.00 with an Intel Core 3 2.1 GHz Processor running Windows 7 Home Premium,
      • Lenovo ThinkPad Edge laptop purchased in 2011 with an Intel Core i5 Processor,
      • HP EliteDesk 800 G2 tower purchased in 2015 for $912.00 with an Intel Core i7-6700 Processor running Windows 10 Pro 64/Windows 7, and
      • HP Envy Desktop 795-0050 Tower purchased in 2019 with an Intel Core i7-8700 Processor running Windows 10 Home 64 (upgraded to pro).

      All still work and are brought out of storage and started once every six months.

      Is a restart once every six months enough?

      • #2571961

        I think it is an excellent idea to turn on the old machines once every six months. More often than that is a risk that one of them will fail in some way. Less often than that is a risk that you will forget some critical detail.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #2570359

      Ever since Windows 2000 I always leave my computers powered on with only the screen set to turn off after 1 hour of inactivity. To protect them from power blips/outages they are connected to high capacity (ex. minimum 1000VA) UPS/battery backup surge protectors as well as they are always connected behind a hardware firewall router for protection from the Internet (blocks all incoming connections).

      However it has never been about keeping the systems updated. Instead it’s about convenience so they can be used at any given moment. Otherwise any kind of automatic updates have always been turned off via built-in options of the OS (which ended after Windows 8.1 but continues now after switching to Linux Mint) and I only update manually when I’m ready to do so. Years of experience has proven that this is the best way to ensure the health of a computer, not Microsoft’s “Windows as a service” clown show!

      Otherwise the only time my systems are rebooted is when required after installing updates, which with Linux Mint now is usually only after a kernel update which does not happen very often. So I tend to only reboot or power off every two months for planned maintenance of opening up the computer case to clean out built up dust.

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    • #2570386

      I’m a home user and a “friends and family” IT guy.

      My daily driver is a custom desktop running Windows 10 Pro with Fast Startup” OFF.  It gets a full shutdown every night for two main reasons:

      1) I push it hard during the day, and I like a fresh stable clean boot the next day.

      2) It makes no sense to me to have 4 case fans running all night. Even with case air filters, I clean the case interior, fan blades and radiator (liquid cooling) twice a year and it needs it! Leaving it on all night would make that job more tedious for no real reason.

    • #2570399

      Every evening, usually between 20:00 and 21:00, I go to bed. Just before that I shut down Windows and switch OFF the computer’s power (master switch on the power strip).

      Usually (some exceptions) I get up around 02:00 or 03:00, power ON and switch ON the machine to boot into Windows, make a cup of decafeinated and do whatever I want/need to do computerwise.

      The computer stays ON until evening, dropping into standby for meal preps and away time shopping for food, and an additional long nap (very often 2).

      In short, my main Win 11 computer (Febr 2022) is not only shut down, but powered OFF ± 4 hours per day, my secondary Win 10 machine (Febr 2015) is powered-booted on for a few hours, usually on Sundays.

      I myself get ± 8 hours sleep per 24.

      Still, I wish I could power down and then reboot myself …

      1 Desktop Win 11
      1 Laptop Win 10
      Both tweaked to look, behave and feel like Windows 95
      (except for the marine blue desktop, rgb(0, 3, 98)
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    • #2570414

      Whatever my collection of computers, one is my daily driver and the others are used for various intermittent purposes. Those are most often off — no reason to waste electricity.

      The daily driver is usually on 24/7, but it is shut down regularly, perhaps weekly.

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    • #2570400

      Desktop is a w7-64. om it every evening. gets shut down every night

      Laptop,also w7 64 gets turned on at least once a month

      Phone gets turned on 6am or so, s/d about 11pm



    • #2570700

      My computers are left on all the time. Desktop one’s like my Mac mini or a Mini PC use very little power in idle state. I allow monitors to sleep and that’s it. Same for my laptops which only restart for updates or travel. My gaming desktop is the only one I shut down more often for no other reason then its rather noisy at night if it wake’s for an update. I do think a restart can be useful once a week or so, but computers today handle memory so well I don’t see much issue just leaving them on.

    • #2570726

      My main PC is a DIY Mini-tower (running Win10 Pro 22H2) and it gets turned off every night right before I go to bed and powered up every morning when I first get up.

        During “normal operating hours” it only gets restarted when I install updates or encounter some strange behavior from the S/W I’m using.

      My secondary PC’s are a Dell D830 (running Win10 Pro 22H2) and an HP Compaq 6910p (running Win7 Pro SP1) and they only get turned on when I need to use them and then turned off once the battery shows ~90% charge.

        They both do get turned on at least once a month to install monthly updates and then turned off once the battery shows it’s been recharged.

      FYI, Fast Start/Hibernate is disabled on all 3 of them so, when powered up, Windows starts over again from scratch.

      And yes, I know that means it takes a while for everything to get “up-and-running“, but it’s happening while I’m doing “other things” (like my morning wake up routine) so it’s not like I’m setting there “waiting” for it to be usable.

    • #2570781

      For the business network I manage, I instruct the users to lock their workstations when stepping away (break/lunch), and to reboot them at the end of the day when they go home.  The reasoning is, to get them into the habit of not leaving documents open that they are in the middle of working on, and to instead save them.

      We also rely on a few mechanisms for applying security updates.  Microsoft stuff is handled mainly through WSUS.  Our WSUS configuration gives the users a 72 hour notice before automatically rebooting if the user hasn’t already done so.

      We also rely on the computer manufacturer’s automated update program to apply BIOS and other updates.  It, too, is configured with a deferral period before forcing a reboot, although it’s been known to reboot without the deferral it’s supposed to do.

      For everything else, our Endpoint Management Service will attempt to patch most 3rd party programs, but it’s not as kind and forgiving.  After patching, it will reboot.

      Finally, other maintenance activities occur after-hours, including full server and workstation backups.  Helping to provide users with a productive workday, uninterrupted by the IT housekeeping routines.

      At home, the PC’s generally see enough use (a few times a month), they are powered on long enough to get their updates and then nag to be rebooted, too.

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    • #2570993

      I don’t reboot a PC unless I have a specific reason, nor do I turn one on if I don’t intend to use it just then. This has been the paradigm since Windows XP arrived, and particularly SP1, right through Windows 7 and my brief time with 8.1, and it continues now that I use Linux. When I am not using the computer, I put it to sleep if it is one of my “main” PCs or my backup server (otherwise I shut it down). I’ve not noticed any slowing down for want of rebooting in recent memory.

      For most of the time since the start of the XP era, my daily-use PCs have included at least one desktop, but now, they are all laptops, and they are very efficient when sleeping. My Acer Swift Go 14 and Dell XPS 13 each use about 150 milliwatts when sleeping (in S0ix/S2idle/modern standby), which is quite trivial.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

    • #2571007

      I’m out of touch with Windows PCs, but I shut down my iMac overnight and turn it back on the next morning once a week.  It helps performance and is healthy for the Mac.  Otherwise, I let it go to sleep. Likewise, I turn off/turn on my iPhone once a week….but not overnight for the phone, just off/on.

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    • #2571367

      I have 2 Desktops and 1 laptop. My Daily driver gets shutdown every night and my other desktop and laptop only get started up once a week for any updates etc.

      I clone all of them twice a month so that I have a starting point if something goes wrong.

      Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
      All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

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    • #2571389

      The other day I attended an Accountant themed security seminar and one of the tips recommended was to reboot your computer nightly as accounting applications can leak memory and systems will work better when they are rebooted.

      At the office we leave our systems on so they can be accessed and that maintenance routines can run at night.

      Susan, I beg to differ. I am in the same profession as you and my E&O advice is, when you leave for the day, leave a clean desk, secure client files, and turn off computers that are used to access the network shares that specifically access client data. This is going to get worse with the required IRS Written Internet Security Plan regime that aims to protect taxpayer information. The same could be said for HIPPA information in the medical community.

      I understand that your workers may want to login at off hours to complete tasks but those logins entail risks with stolen credentials being one of the main ones. Leaving a backdoor open for your workers makes your systems vulnerable to bad actors targeting your firm through that portal.

      Then there is the question — do you really trust your janitor service? They are there at odd hours of the night with physical access to your workstations (and no urgency to finish.) How do you mitigate that risk? Dongles anyone?

      And yes, we leave the server on until the nightly backup completes. There are security measures in place that I will not comment on here to prevent off hours physical access to the server environment.

      In summary turning the individual workstations off at the close of business only makes good sense, regardless of the memory leak issue, whatever that might be.

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      • #2571402


        While we are in a different line of businesses than you, we follow a similar computer shutdown procedure.

        All computers are shut down when an employee leaves their desk at the end of their workday and their machine is rebooted the next time they sit down at their desks.

        Cleaning staff does their work during normal business hours.

        Then again, we are a 24 hour a day operation.  In the event that the office will be left unattended, the last one out sets the alarms and locks the doors.  And only a few employees can open the shop once it has been locked up.

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      • #2571641

        Which is why I have Duo.com two factor ensures that any time there is a log in from remote that you have to provide the two factor prompt.

        If you have Microsoft 365 your email is on 24/7.

        During tax season we are working 7 days a week and I HAVE to patch and maintain computer systems during our off hours.  To turn machines off would make them less secure, I wouldn’t be able to maintain and manage systems.

        For any of your CPA firms, I would highly recommend you check out duo.com.

        Also as others have pointed out – backing up.  I back up every workstation and server and these are set to run at night.  Thus they HAVE to be on.  Maintenace is the number one reason why turning things off may not be the best.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2571394

      At the moment, I have 5 physical machines on my desk, and they all stay active 24/7.  My daily driver is a laptop with Win 10 pro.  Beyond that, another Win 10 Pro laptop (my previous daily driver), a Mac Mini, a very old mini-tower running Ubuntu Linux and a brand new mini-PC that runs Linux Mint.

      I’m in the process of transitioning the functions of the second laptop and the desktop Linux machine to the new Mint installation, and when that’s complete, I’ll shut down the older machines, either for reconditioning or to discard.

      I keep a large external USB drive attached to the old Linux box, where that’s the target for backups for all the machines in my network.  I run scheduled backups of the primary Windows laptop daily (on working days), and weekly for the other machines, as well as monthly backups of some lower-priority data that doesn’t change as frequently.

      Relating to Susan’s question — I have several virtual machines that I use in fits and starts.  Sometimes, one or more may be used quite a bit for several days, but it’s not uncommon that any or all of the virtuals may sit for several weeks without activity.  I’ve discovered that when I start up a VM that’s been inactive for several weeks, it may take more than an hour for things to settle down before the machine is responsive.  On my Windows VMs, most of them have a corporate license of ESET on them, and when ESET gets behind, it tries to get caught up immediately by updating signatures, and then doing a full system scan.  I provision my VMs lightly enough that ESET scans (as well as other automatic updates) make them barely usable until finished scanning, unless I manually intervene to suspend scanning.

      For my physical machines, I consider it worth leaving them on so that they get backed up automatically (and of course, the machine that hosts the backup drive to be active as well).  For the virtuals, the cost of leaving them inactive for too long is the time it takes for automated processes to get caught up.

    • #2571437

      I have a laptop that’s off when I’m not using it.  My desktop I put to sleep when I’m not using it and shut down once a week.  Leaving it on 24/7 seems like asking for trouble.  I rarely turn off or restart my phone just out of laziness and convenience.



    • #2571962

      My computers stay on all the time, unless we have a power outage. My main computer runs Linux Mint, and the only time it reboots is if an update requires a reboot, or if I have so many Firefox pages open that the computer hangs.

      I have two reasons for leaving them on all the time:

      1. Convenience.

      2. The inside of a computer is made out of different materials that expand and contract at different rates when the temperature goes up or down. This puts a bit of stress on the internal parts. To avoid that happening, I just leave the computers on all the time.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
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