Does powering down your computer wear it down?

Author's Note

My laptop runs all day, every day. I don't think it's a coincidence that I have to buy a new one every three or four years. You can almost feel the machine getting "tired." Little glitches and bugs start to crop up. Programs freeze. Startup and shutdown take longer. And eventually, something snaps altogether. The monitor goes black, or the keyboard stops responding, or (please don't jinx me) the hard drive has a heart attack. My decision to shut down my computer every night isn't based on hard facts or double-blind studies, but the experience of using a PC that has just woken up from a refreshing sleep vs. a "hungover" machine still overheated and bleary from yesterday's excess. Good night, little MacBook. Sweet dreams.

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  • Cross, Jason. PC World. "Why You Should Use Sleep Mode." August 10, 2009 (Sept. 24, 2012.)
  • Energy Star. "Frequently Asked Questions" (Sept. 24, 2012.)
  • Greenemeier, Larry. Scientific American. "Leaving Computers On Helps Them Last Longer." December 20, 2007 (Sept. 24, 2012.)
  • Gwinn, Eric. Chicago Tribune. "Should you shut down your PC?" March 6, 2012 (Sept. 24, 2012.)
  • Nordman, Bruce; Pette, Mary Ann; and Webber, Carrie. "User Guide to Power Management for PCs and Monitors." January 1997 (Sept. 24, 2012.)