Question from Ed: What is you feeling about never turning off a Mac (or PC)?
Jason answers: Personally, I always leave my computers on. Right now, the only computer I use is a MacBook Pro and it stays on all the time. When I am not using it, the lid is closed and it sleeps. The only time I have had to turn it off is when I am flying with it, which is a couple of times a year. When I owned desktops, they were always on and they didn’t go to sleep.
I want to make sure that everybody knows how to properly shutdown a computer. For Macs, go to you Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and choose Shut Down… from the menu. On Windows machines, click on the Start button or Windows logo and choose Shut Down from that menu. Many times, we have seen customers hold down the power button until the computer powers off, thinking this is the correct way to shutdown a computer. This can cause data corruption, including a non-booting computer.
With desktop computers that don’t run off a battery, I have always just left them on. I have an iMac at home that has been on for two years straight because it runs some network monitoring software. With laptops, I have left them powered on all the time, but when I transport it, I close the lid and it goes to sleep.
There isn’t a correct answer here. It depends on your usage. We have customers that use a desktop computer for a few hours a day. They power it on when they use it and then power it off when they are done for the day. This technique uses less energy and I don’t believe that it puts a strain on the computer. We have some customers that leave the computer on all the time and let it sleep after it is idle for some time. Other customers will just leave their computers on 24/7 without letting it sleep.
I would say that however you use your computer dictates how you manage powering it on and off. If you want to use less energy, leave it off when you aren’t going to use it. If you want to be able to just go to your computer, use it for awhile and then come back to what you left off with, then set it to sleep after a certain amount of time.