The Norman Transcript


August 17, 2013

Turn off computers every day

NORMAN — I saw something very strange last week. My across-the-street neighbor walked out of his house, got in his car, started it up and then went back inside.

Maybe that would not seem strange in the winter season, as many people like to “warm up” their car before driving, but this was happening in the middle of August.

Perhaps, I thought, he wanted to turn on the car’s air conditioner and cool it down before driving. Strangely, though, he never came back out to drive away. The car just sat there, chugging away, all night long.

The next day, the car was still sitting there in the driveway, still running. This went on, day after day, week after week, month after month. My neighbor even hooked the car up to a giant gas tank so it would never run out of power, and could stay on perpetually. Strange behavior indeed, wouldn’t you say?

I once had a customer call me (this is a true story, unlike the one above), explaining various problems he was having with his computer. When I asked how long it had been since he turned it off, his answer took me by surprise.

“Turn it off? What do you mean? How do you do that?” After more questioning, I learned he had not turned off his computer for three years.

After teaching him how to turn off his computer, I said, “Turn it off, let it sit for about five minutes and then turn it back on. Let me know what happens.”

About 10 minutes later, he called. “Everything is fixed. It’s a miracle! You’re a genius,” he exclaimed. Problem solved.

As you have probably guessed by now, the moral of this story is that the idea you should leave your computer turned on all the time is wrong. It is a myth that may have had some validity 30 years ago, but it has none today.

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