At the end of the day, do you shut down your computer or do you put it into sleep mode? It depends on what you need from your device the next day. Here are some of the pros and cons of both approaches.

Understanding the Difference

During a shutdown, a computer turns off any software before shutting the hardware down. Your operating system tells open programs to stop reading and writing files to prepare them for hardware shutdown. Once the software has shut down, the physical components gradually lose power, which protects your workstation from damage. This is why you should never turn off your computer by holding down the power button.

In sleep mode, a computer will use its RAM to store open files and run in a low-power state, limiting which software and hardware are running. These can then be quickly reactivated.

The Benefits of a Full Shutdown

The greatest benefit of a shutdown is that when your operating system restarts itself, it gets rid of minor OS problems. If you go too long without a reboot, you probably notice that computer doesn’t run as smoothly. Always follow the correct shutdown process.

Shutting down saves power. A computer uses less power when it’s off compared to when it’s on, even in sleep mode.

It’s also safer to shut down. As long as a computer is on, there will always be a chance of a power surge hitting the device and doing damage.

The Benefits of Sleep Mode

The first benefit of sleep mode is convenience. You won’t have to wait for your device to boot up again the next time you plan to use it.

Another benefit is that it can still run basic maintenance, like security updates and other general upkeep that it can’t do when it’s turned off.

Why Consider Both

An approach that fits many people’s needs is to shut down your computer at the end of the day, and only put it in sleep mode when you walk away for a few moments during the day. This allows you to remain productive during the workday while ensuring that your device is regularly rebooted.

However, if you want your devices to be upgraded during the office’s quiet hours, leave your workstations on. This allows for the automation of security updates and patching.

What do you do to conserve energy? Let us know below.