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Will shutting down office computers save me money?

This article caught my attention. It says that $217 million a year is wasted in the UK alone by employees leaving computers on overnight.

I never shut mine down -- my old mentor thought it was actually harmful. Needless to say, we don't have a policy about shutting down computers here at the end of the day. What do you think? Would it really save money in my budget that I could use somewhere else?

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I love this kind of question, not just because it has nothing to do with ERP software, which makes it a refreshing change from the usual fare. The fact is, I started my career in the nascent PC industry in the 1980s, and feel a certain nostalgia for those simple days of yesteryear and the questions I had to field back in the day.

The reason we never shut off our PCs in the old days had to do with the truly inferior quality of the on-off switches used in many systems, and the danger posed by tiny power surges that result from powering on a system with an equally inferior power supply. We were afraid that these surges would damage delicate digital circuitry. I'm happy to report that those problems no longer exist. Furthermore, we now have a much greater set of problems -- relating to hacking, denial of service, and other Internet-related threats, all of which can only occur if a computer is on, and, presumably, connected to the Internet.

So shut off those computers already. You'll be saving electricity, and potentially, much more.

This was first published in November 2005

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