Shutdown or Sleep?

It's convenient to close the lid of our laptops, go to a meeting, return, and open the laptops to be right where we left off without having to wait for our machines to boot. We save a lot of time in our lives not waiting for our devices to shut down and start back up, but we should not make putting our machines to sleep all the time our  modus operandi. A habit of always putting a machine to sleep rather than shutting it down may override the conscious act of deciding whether to put our devices to sleep or shut down.

Some Considerations:

  • When you decide to put a PC to sleep rather than shut down, it's good practice to observe the LED pulse before moving the machine. The more applications running, the longer it takes for your device to go to sleep. Sleep shuts down the display and parks the disk drive to prevent damage.
  • Normal shutdowns and startups allow the machine to perform self-tests, clear out the RAM, and alert you to software updates or minor errors.
  • Power surges or power drops occurring when a machine is powered by its power adapter are more harmful to a sleeping computer than to one completely shut down.
  • The heat produced by a sleeping machine exposes all components to higher heat more of the time. Computers left on all the time may have a shorter life.
  • A sleeping machine still consumes power. Power adapters plugged into power outlets, even if they are not connected to a computer, continue to draw power.
  • Plug power adapters into the wall before connecting to your machine.

As we hurry through our lives, we may close the laptop lid before a machine has fully shut down.This may cause the device to go to sleep instead of fully shut down. What if you forget the power adapter is not plugged in? If your battery expires while your machine is sleeping with the power adapter not plugged in, your machine may have difficulty waking. The sleep LED may be pulsing, but there isn't enough power from the battery to start the hard drive and power the display. If this happens, plug your adapter in for ten minutes or so before trying to wake your machine.

Some say leaving a computer on all the time saves wear and tear on the components. While frequent restarts do cause more wear on components, it's fine to shut your machine down daily. From a maintenance standpoint, shut down at least once a week. From a green energy saving standpoint, shutdown and unplug or turn off surge protectors and power strips.

Laptop Battery Conditioning and Maintenance

Wikipedia: Sleep Mode