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Posted on 1998-04-17
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What harm can be done to the computer if I rurn it on and off often?
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Question by:Dmitriy
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pcmig earned 40 total points
ID: 1019058
A sore finger.       <---  This answer worth 5 pts.

Just kidding...


The only risks to repeatedly switching a PC on and off pertain to how long you wait between power cycles.  When you turn your PC off, you should wait 20-30 seconds before turning it back on.   This gives the hard drives the opportunity to spin-down and the heads to park.    If you don't wait for the drive to completely spin down, you run the risk of scratching the the media on the hard drive.  

The other problem is the power switch itself could fail.   It's a pain in the butt if your power switch is flaky, but under normal usage, the switch's life should far exceed the PC's.
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Expert Comment

by:mnw21
ID: 1019059

The main wear of a hard drive motor is when it spins up or down. When the HD spins up, it draws most current from the power supply. If you are constantly making it spin up and down, it is slightly possible it could overheat.

When the computer powers up also, there is an initial surge of power through the system, that if done excessively could wear out the power supply prematurely.

Officially, one should wait half a minute (or in with some computers a couple of minutes), for the contents of the RAM to be entirely wiped, and the capacitors in the system to discharge. In practice, the startup software often doesn't care what is in the memory at the start, and there isn't any problem with capacitors having a little charge left either.

Basically, it will wear your computer down slightly quicker, and if you are constantly switching the thing on and off, there is a possibility that you turn off the computer while it is writing to the hard drive, which could damage the hard drive in the extreme case, or just lose some data otherwise.

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Author Comment

by:Dmitriy
ID: 1019060
Thanx, PPL.
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Expert Comment

by:hankc
ID: 1019061
one small overlooked problem is called component breakdown.
during turn-on, all of the semi-conductors inside of your computer are saturated with electricity. This is normal and not to be feared. The problem with frequent off-on operation is that the components aren't made to be jolted all of the time. This causes them to weaken and eventually fail. It is suggested that if possible, just leave your computer on all of the time. You can turn your monitor off to save electricity or leave it on also and use a screensaver to prevent screen burn-in.
My suggestion is: Don't turn off-on unless you have to. It's better to just leave it on.
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