Computer shutdown options

There are different opinions on what you should do with your computer at the end of the day, or when you finish using it; should you just leave it on, turn it right off, or use the sleep or hibernate options?

The two main arguments are that you should turn your computer off to preserve power, while others say turning your computer completely off will reduce the lifespan of the components of your computer. In actual fact, there is no right answer, and there are other considerations to keep in mind as well.

The power options for turning off your computer are located in the Windows menu. Press the Windows key on your keyboard or click the Windows icon in the bottom left hand corner of your screen and look for the power icon – this is usually a line partially within a broken circle. The power options are Shut Down, Restart, Sleep and in some cases, Hibernate.

The Sleep and Hibernate options will partially turn off your computer, keeping parts of it powered up so you can quickly turn your computer back on, and continue working on whatever you had open. Obviously less power is consumed while in this state, but it isn’t a full “Power Off”. The main advantage is the computer will turn back on a lot quicker.

The Shut Down option will completely power off your computer, which is what you should do if you are not going to use your computer for a while, although we also recommend you do this at the end of your day on a regular basis because it helps reset your computer, which can improve the performance of your computer (see article on rebooting in our December 2015 issue).

The Restart option will turn your computer completely off, and back on again. This option is mainly used if you run into issues with your computer or when installing software you are sometimes asked to “reboot” or restart your computer. Also review our article on power settings in our February 2015 issue to learn how to automatically sleep or hibernate your computer to save power.