Switching PCs off at work

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  • Switching PCs off at work
  • alwyn
    Member

    Where I work they put up signs saying leaving a monitor on overnight produces enough electricity to microwave 6 meals. They should know being a power company and all.

    uplink
    Member

    It's a red herring for all intents & purposes
    there may be a marginal difference but that's about it

    I've seen at least 2 fires caused by PCs
    Unless you reboot each morning anyway – apps are going to slow down

    allthepies
    Member

    We have to power all our desktops down overnight – but due to security reasons not environmental ones.

    clubber
    Member

    Red herring!

    simonfbarnes
    Member

    arse – switch it off!

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    i used to have to take my hard drive out and lock it in a safe.

    now i just power down apart from tonight where i've left it on crunching some numbers.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Yeah complete bollocks IMO. Desktop PCs are designed to be switched on and off.

    Premier Icon fadda
    Subscriber

    I understood that monitors should be switched off, but didn't know about PCs. uplink – I hadn't thought of the fire aspect, or the need to reboot. good point and thanks.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    It'll be worse leaving them on as they really don't like high temperatures for long periods.

    steve_b77
    Member

    Turn them off, just for the energy savings alone.

    druidh
    Member

    fadda – the contention that switching on/off daily affected the life of a PC used to be the case. However that point was passed years ago. You can get utilities which will switch the PC off at a predetermined time. With a proper Systems Management utility in place, you can have them switch off, switch on, upgrade, then switch off again, all unmanned.

    coffeeking
    Member

    They're designed to be switched on and off. It does indeed shorten their life, but only to their design life – not to an unreasonably short time, and they're better than they were. It's primarily down to the caps in the powersupply AFAIK, rapid deep charging and discharging of the electrolytic caps isn't helpful for them, they prefer to remain charged but dont like warm temps either. They're rated at something like 15 years at 40 odd degrees. But as I say, they're designed to be turned on and off daily, so it should not increase deaths unless your company holds onto PCs much longer than they should!

    The major source of failure on computers is PSUs and hard drives, hard drives dont like being hot – thats a case design problem and overnight they'll be cooler than during the working day, and again they're not keen on being started and stopped but its not really a factor in their life. Google completed a test on millions of their drive failures and found most of them died, IIRC, because of heat problems, not related to power-ons.

    Ultimately the answer is turn them off if possible, hibernate if you need a fast boot.

    Leaving a computer on doesn't slow apps down these days, my system was running for 2 months (XP pro) until yesterday without powerdown (its also a license server) and after reboot it was no different – thats a problem from the old windows 98 days.

    Decent software is available to do the trick. Free software is available to. But it'd be better from a network point of view.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Maybe from 20 years down to 15. But it'll be obselete in 3 anyway so who cares?

    johnners
    Member

    they really don't like high temperatures for long periods

    They won't be running hot if the're just sitting there not processing or accessing the HDD and network.

    I still think power cycles cause more stress than leaving them on all the time. Whether the effect is significant in producing more failures over the life of the PC vs the extra power used I have no idea, but if there is any effect then switching them off at the end of work then powering them up and down with wake-on-LAN to apply patches and updates will only make it worse.

    simonfbarnes
    Member

    I still think power cycles cause more stress than leaving them on all the time.

    this is irrelevant – it's still hugely wasteful!

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    They won't be running hot if the're just sitting there not processing or accessing the HDD and network.

    Assuming that the Power Options are set up suitably so that the HDD shuts down and the CPU is capable of clocking itself downs. And that there are no background network tasks running (DNS, NetBIOS, ping etc) or virus scanning, updates, defrag, scheduled jobs etc.

    Premier Icon fadda
    Subscriber

    I'm on an environmental panel at work, and I was charged with finding out if we had to leave PCs on overnight (for updates or anything), or whether we could have a policy of switching them off to save energy. Then someone threw in the opinion that its better to leave them on, due to the temperature changes caused by the powering up/down which causes the machine to fail earlier.

    Is this a red herring, or do they have a point?

    Well my work are sending me on a 2 hour 'energy awareness' course tomorrow so I may get the definitive answer….yes, I do work for a local authority….

    Premier Icon momo
    Subscriber

    One of my bugbears at work is people leaving their monitors switched on standby when they leave the office. In my team in particular, we can sometimes be out of the office for up to a week between visits. So I routinely turn off any monitor that I see with the standby light lit up. I'm hoping the message might get through to everyone one day…but I certainly wont be holding my breath for this to happen!

    ooOOoo
    Member

    Your PC is still using probabably 100W or so…..same as you are. Turn it off!

    Remember your office is empty for around 75% of a year.

    Hairychested
    Member

    Hibernate the thing, no boot-up needed.

    Premier Icon fadda
    Subscriber

    Seems like the concensus is to switch off – big thanks everyone.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    momo: some monitors allow you to set a scheduled time when they will turn themselves off. Our HP ones do. Might be worth look at this if co-workers are being slack.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Your PC is still using probabably 100W or so….

    More like 175W these days

    DaveGr
    Member

    In our office we mostly use laptops. Power off and lock in the drawer over night for security. But this leaves the transformer on over night which still drawing power. Option is to crawl under the desk and pull the plug !!! Not sure about desktops in other offices – I think most people power them off. If updates take place then they happen over night if possible otherwise during the day. With laptops we have to be on the network for a three (?) hour period over two weeks to get the upgrade. Would like to have a master switch for each block of desks which you can just flick off when you're the last one to leave – makes sure all power is off.

    At home I measured the current draw of all my pc stuff – printer, external hard drive, PC, monitor, surround sound amp, router etc. The printer was drawing current when plugged in but turned off !!!! So now everything is turned off at the wall.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Option is to crawl under the desk and pull the plug.. Would like to have a master switch for each block of desks which you can just flick off….

    Plug your laptops in via these:

    Then when you leave press this:

    and they'll all be switched off at the plug.

    http://www.byebyestandby.co.uk

    johnners
    Member

    I still think power cycles cause more stress than leaving them on all the time.

    this is irrelevant – it's still hugely wasteful!

    Well, you could be right, but I don't think you know any such thing – got some numbers to go with that bold assertion?

    I'm presuming you've looked at the net costs to the environment of any premature hardware failure (manufacturing costs for replacement, recycling, landfill, toxic by-products etc) vs your calculations on the energy saving?

    simonfbarnes
    Member

    Option is to crawl under the desk and pull the plug !!

    that sounds a little pathetic – just crawl once and plug into an extension you can reach to unplug 🙂

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    I still think power cycles cause more stress than leaving them on all the time.

    this is irrelevant – it's still hugely wasteful!

    Well, you could be right, but I don't think you know any such thing – got some numbers to go with that bold assertion?

    well, electronic component failure over time is a bathtub curve. it fails early on in life or goes on for a goodly while. HDs are bit different, obviously, but how many of those have you had go down on a three year old pc? ( which is usually the commercial lifespan of a pc, unless you work for a company like ours 🙄 )
    yes, off and onning can bring about earlier failure for a component that is likely to fail, but in that instance it's also likely the manufacturer will be coffing up under warranty, so the cost to the consumer is minimal.
    given the fact that most modern pcs are capable of keeping an office of three warm ( assuming they use a pc each ), i think we can safely assume they are consuming enough power to make it worth our while switching them off, don't you? even in standby, they're not doing any actual work, so kill 'em!

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    how many of those have you had go down on a three year old pc? ( which is usually the commercial lifespan of a pc, unless you work for a company like ours )

    Not just us then – my work PC is 5 years old, and no sign of it being replaced any time soon (I'd be surprised if I don't still have it in a year's time if not 2!) Given this is the same for most of the thousands who work for my company, we all switch our PCs off every night, and I'm not aware of any particular issues with PSUs failing (other stuff maybe, but I don't think there's any connection with multiple power cycles), then I reckon this is a non-issue.

    Mind you somebody did the calc that the time we wasted waiting for computers to shut down and boot up cost the company more than the money saved in not powering computers all night (though we have to shut down for other reasons anyway)!

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Mind you somebody did the calc that the time we wasted waiting for computers to shut down and boot up cost the company more than the money saved in not powering computers all night

    So just get the first person in to switch on all the machines?

    I'd like to see those sums though. Boot time is what.. a minute maybe?
    Are you really paid so much that a minute of your time is more than the cost of running a PC for the 15 hours a day you're not using it?

    langy
    Member

    We have the timer switches on a bunch of other stuff; monitors, photocopier, printers, faxes, speakers, microwave and hot water service in the kitchen etc that don't have any updates or such that they need to stay on for. For what you doing with an enviro panel, I think you'll find a whole bunch of stuff you can power down not just the PCs

    Personally, shutdown my PC and monitor – I'm changing out of bike gear from the commute or going to get coffee/tea etc whilst it is re-booting, so no extra wasted time so to speak.

    Same with lights; We have signs on all of them so that they are turned off when not in use etc.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    So just get the first person in to switch on all the machines?

    I'd like to see those sums though. Boot time is what.. a minute maybe?
    Are you really paid so much that a minute of your time is more than the cost of running a PC for the 15 hours a day you're not using it?
    First person in switching on doesn't work as we have encrypted discs and you need to put in the passwords for that before it starts booting.

    Boot time with our machines is rather more than a minute – I'd guess 5 is about normal! Meanwhile it's not so much what they pay us as what our charge out rate is, since that's supposedly what 5 minutes wasted costs the company.

    simonfbarnes
    Member

    since that's supposedly what 5 minutes wasted costs the company.

    so otherwise you'd just be in and instantly working ??

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    One of our offices burned down after a PC left on overnight suffered a PSU failure… Perhaps turning it off would have reduced its theoretical lifespan but on the other hand it would have saved it and the others in the office from melting then being filled with water, so it probably would have worked out better to turn it off on balance.

    uplink
    Member

    We have PSU failures on PCs on client sites
    These PCs sit in a cupboard & work 24/7 & nobody ever touches them until a few years down the line a tech comes along to do something that requires a power cycle
    About 20% won't come back up again & need a replacement PSU

    Not you average office environment, granted

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    But couldn't that equally demonstrate that leaving them on all the time is bad?
    Perhaps if they'd been shut down every night then the PSU wouldn't have been worn out?

    STATO
    Member

    I'm presuming you've looked at the net costs to the environment of any premature hardware failure (manufacturing costs for replacement, recycling, landfill, toxic by-products etc) vs your calculations on the energy saving?

    We worked out the cost to us (a 40 person company) and for the amount of premature failures we would have to pay for (ie, not covered under warrenty) its deffinatley worth turning them off at when not in office. Our servers however do stay on, as do printers (though we are looking into a way to have these turn off when not needed).

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