Should I Leave My Computer On?

should i leave my computer on

People often ask us, “Should I leave my computer on at night?”  At BDPNetworks, we say that you should leave any stationary computer on at night. By stationary we mean one that doesn’t move from place to place. (A desktop, not a laptop, for instance.)

The reason for this is maintenance. Our IT management system tells your workstation to perform tasks.  These tasks run on a regular basis:

  • defrag
  • disk cleanup
  • install windows patches
  • install new versions of antivirus software
  • update antivirus software definitions
  • install updated management and other security software
  • install additional new software (such as Office365)

Most of these processes can take place during the day when you are using your computer. But, some need reboots.  So it is better to leave the computer on at night so maintenance can run without interrupting you.

What About Saving Energy?

Generally speaking, today’s PCs don’t consume a lot of energy when idle. In fact they’re optimized to go into low power mode until a task wakes them up.

Your screen should be set to turn off after the computer isn’t used for a while.  If this doesn’t happen please contact us and we’ll get it configured for you. Screens do use up some energy except when in low-power “standby” mode.

What About Laptops?

should I leave my computer onLaptops are a little trickier. It may not always be possible, but you should try to leave them connected and turned on at night.

We have a simpler set of maintenance tasks for laptops which ensure security software and windows patches install on a semi-regular basis.  If you feel like your laptop might be behind please contact us and we’ll get it updated.

What About My Home Computer?

Systems we don’t manage are on their own schedule. Most home computers should be set to automatically download and install updates on a regular basis. You should generally pick the recommended defaults for these options unless you have specific reasons to choose otherwise. And you should probably leave your desktop computer on all of the time unless you use it only a couple of hours per day, in which case it will save energy turning it off between uses.


When someone asks “Should I leave my computer on?” you can tell them “Generally, yes. It’s a good idea.”

For more information, here’s a great article from Digital Trends.