AgriLife Information Technology

Why should I leave my computer on all the time?

Why do IT professionals keep asking computer users to keep their devices powered on all the time?
Contrary to popular belief, it is not to annoy users- there is a good reason for it.

Isn’t keeping my computer off when not in use better for it?

You may think that you are doing your part to conserve electricity, and while this is admirable,

your device may miss the maintenance windows for receiving crucial software and security patches.

You might also think that by having your device powered off, that it is not vulnerable to security flaws.

To an extent that is true, since while it is off it is not accessible.

However, it is also not receiving patches or Antivirus updates during this time.

Both reasons will mean that once the device is powered on again, it may be in an even more vulnerable state, and also place the other network devices in jeopardy.

Essentially, your device becomes the weakest link in the chain that can lead to a compromise.

If your device misses enough updates and patches, the next time you power on your device:

  • It is in a vulnerable state until it gets caught up
  • It now first needs to download and patch the software (right when you need it to do your work)
  • During these patching processes, it may need multiple reboots to apply those missing patches
  • The device is more susceptible to update failures (resulting in the machine needing to be rebuilt)

So what should I do instead, and why should I do it?

Best practice is to leave the device on and connected 24/7, when possible.

This is not always possible, but for most use-cases it is.

This will ensure that your computer

  • is constantly updated with the latest antivirus updates and software patches
  • runs updates during the maintenance periods after work hours (not when you start it up)
  • provides a safe and secure platform for usage and good network hygiene

If keeping your computer on 24/7 is not practical, an effort should be made to power on the device and ensure it is connected to the internet for a couple of hours each week.

An AgriLife IT representative can also help to schedule accelerated updates for your device if needed.

If you would like to schedule accelerated updates, please contact AgriLife FirstCall using 1 of the following 4 methods: