11-01-2004 power on/off?
Q: Do I need to turn off my computer or should I leave it on?
A: This is a very popular question and it usually generates some debate. If you have a relatively new computer, the computer will put itself into sleep mode to conserve power after a period of keyboard inactivity. When your computer is in sleep mode, it is using very little power but it is still consuming power. You can usually set the length of time for no keyboard activity to trigger power conserve mode. Check out the power options in the control panel.
You might have shut off your computer but did you remember to turn off your monitor? Don't worry, most monitors manufactured within the last few years will put themselves into a sleep mode also if there is no picture being displayed. Did you turn off your speakers? What about your printer? Don't worry, the speakers and printer consume very little power when they are not being used. Do you remember the good old days when you turned on the television set and waited a few minutes before there was a picture on the television? We used to say that the television had to "warm up". There have been improvements in televisions over the years but the basic technology of picture tubes hasn't really changed too much. Picture tubes need a heated filament to emit electrons to light up the screen. The filament takes a minute or two to get up to temperature for the screen to operate. Why does your television immediately display pictures after you turn it on? The filament is always on. It keeps the picture tube ready for immediate use. Your television is always consuming power even if it is turned off. Can you see any light emitting from the back of your television when it is turned off? You need to unplug the television to really turn it off. There are many appliances in your house that secretly consume power. If you turned off all your appliances and checked out your electric meter, you would probably still see it spinning even though everything was turned off. When does a light bulb fail? Doesn't a light bulb usually fail when you turn on the light? That surge of electricity is what does in a light bulb filament. Turning on your computer many times during the day subjects your computer to a lot of stress. So, when is it best to turn off your computer? If you use it regularly during the day, leave it on. If you are going away for a few days, turn it off.