questionshow often should you power down electronic…


If I don't turn my tablet off every two or three days it starts getting belligerent. But then I spend a lot of time playing a very unstable game on it, so that probably contributes. I rarely turn my phone off, only sometimes at the theater, maybe once a month. It occasionally decides it is "for emergency calls only" and I have to turn it off and on again to make it behave.


I have to reboot my smartphone about once a week or so, but that is because it is an older phone (Blackberry 8520) that doesn't handle certain webpages well and will lose its mind if I try to load a page that it can't display. When I'm not doing too much web browsing I can go much longer without rebooting but I've been needing my webmail much more often than usual lately.

I often try to put off rebooting as long as possible because it takes a couple solid minutes to start back up.


It is advisable to reboot your electronics daily. Depending on the frequency of use, it could be useful to reboot multiple times a day. A lot goes on in the background on your electronics. You can normally deactivate programs, but the memory isn't always freed up when the program is fully disabled. A full reboot is the only way to guarantee your device's memory is entirely freed up.

I am a big fan of fully shutting down your PC each night. It's not really good for its lifespan to be on all the time anyway and having it off prevents the likelihood of power surges, etc. A full boot-up shouldn't take longer than 25-30 seconds if your system is tuned correctly and it's well worth the wait to extend the life of your PC.

Just my 2 cents...


@capguncowboy: oh gosh. I leave my lap top on all the time. Well it "goes to sleep" Does that count ?
I do let the battery run down every so often.
I wonder if shutting it completely off now and again, as you mention if it would help some issues I have every now and again.
Thanks for the thoughts. I'm going to give it a try.


@capguncowboy: I disagree with the notion that powering down extends the life of the hardware. If you think about it, most components use the most power - and create the most wear - on startup. For example, the amount of power to keep a hard drive spinning is pretty small in comparison to the amount of power to spin it up. Similarly, fans are working the hardest when they first start turning (from 0 rpm to whatever their operating speed is) and face more strain at that point. Turning off the fans also gives more chance for dust to settle inside your case, which doesn't help you either.

I leave my systems on continually for the most part. It used to be helpful from a power consumption standpoint to power them down regularly but newer systems can be configured to use very little power now. I even leave my laptop running more or less 24x7, rebooting only when I have issues reclaiming memory from killed applications.


@lparsons42: The two biggest enemies of electronics are heat and time (and power surges). Leaving your electronics on constantly greatly increases their exposure to all of these things.


@stryker4526: I also leave my computers on 24/7 and have had no issues at all (current HTPC is 6+ years old and the hard drive finally died but keep in mind this is accessed very frequently).

As for power surges, to power on a computer there are a couple of pins that are shorted by the power supply to initiate a power on. The computer's case has a covering (jumper) over the appropriate pins to control this. If this isn't covered the computer will not turn on. In fact, if you had a desktop (haven't tried this on a laptop), it is possible to manually turn on the computer without pressing the button. The sudden power on (keep in mind the power supply only acknowledges a request for power) puts stress on all of the components compared to the relatively little stress put on by providing continuous power. Granted this is all simplified, but there is no real danger to leaving a computer on rather than powering it off. It is just personal preference.

But tablets and phones, whenever I can.


I think the OP was asking more about solid-state devices such as phones and tablets. I reboot my phone about once a week or so. My iPad mini, I don't think I've turned it completely off since I bought it. It's been in airplane mode a few times, and it's rebooted itself after firmware upgrades maybe twice. But otherwise it's solid as a rock.


You can turn that stuff off...?


In my experience it varies greatly depending on the type of device and what you do with it.

My PC at home (pretty decent w/great RAM, browses the internet and plays super small games) gets rebooted every couple of weeks. My tablet (super low end, low RAM) gets rebooted every 2 times I use it. My Droid Razr Maxx phone gets rebooted every 3-5 days or whenever I install a decent-sized app. My husband's new fancy laptop w/TONS of RAM gets "sleeped" until it gets cranky, and then it gets rebooted, probaqbly every 1-2 weeks. Same w/my husband's new tablet - it will sleep forever and seems to be better at shaking RAM usage than anything I've come across previously.

As with anything that's a computer (no matter how you slice it), if you use it hard, reboot it hard. If you use it lightly, sleep it and reboot it lightly. However, when in doubt, reboot it. It won't hurt you. Seriously. It literally WON'T HURT YOU :)


I only reboot my devices when they die, or applications start acting funny. I let my tablet and kindle run out of battery all the time. Just like a laptop, you don't want to have a laptop connected to a power source all the time. It will kill the battery - I work in IT and I see this all the time on company laptops. A laptop might be 6months old, but because someone works from home it's always connected to power.


@capguncowboy: my old dell desktop has been on 24/7 for just over a decade now. It gets shut down when it's time for an upgrade, and maybe once every 6-7 weeks (pentium 4 @ 2.6ghz, ide drives, agp graphics, winXP. I'm of the opinion that restarting it daily will put more wear and tear on it than leaving it running. The drives in it are nearly 9 years old, the graphics card is about 8, and the PSU is original.

my old gateway PII desktop before that ran for 5 years straight with only an occasional reboot (win98), and my current laptop gets left on for weeks at a time (going on two years of heavy use). PC components are a lot like cars, 90% of the wear and tear is on startup. just leave it running....

Other devices, particularly all-solid-state devices like tabs and phones, get rebooted every few days just to clear the memory and keep them running smoothly. The lack of moving parts makes reboots easier on the device.


@capguncowboy: This is highly irresponsible advice. Being off absolutely positively does NOT protect anything from power surges.


@lparsons42: @Capgunbowboy's statement has some merit. You mention that startup uses more energy but leaving your system on say overnight still uses more energy than starting it up. It's the same with a light switch, sure the initial on uses more energy but thats countered after about 2 minutes.


I only reboot my PC when it's mandatory for a security update. Otherwise it goes into standby any time it isn't being used.

I don't remember the last time I intentionally rebooted my phone. It sometimes goes months without a reboot, but then every once in a while it'll lock up and reboot on its own.


@nmchapma: when @lparsons42 was talking about about using more energy at startup, I believe he was referencing the amount of power going into each component and the wear and tear on that component from that momentary surge of power at startup. starting and stopping repeatedly will place more stress on motors in drives and fans than simply leaving them running. I believe he was also pointing out that once a drive is up and spinning, it doesn't use as much power as it did for those first few seconds of spin.


I turn off my personal computers at home whenever they are not in use. All but one of them are laptops, and I disconnect their power cord which is a pretty effective protection against power surges. Here at the office they make us leave our desktop PCs on all the time, lest they re-assign our network slot to someone else. I restart my computer every night, but most employees just sign off and never reboot, then wonder why their PC is acting weirdly.