back to article Leaving PCs on costing UK business millions

A third of business computers in the UK are left switched on overnight, costing British businesses more than £300m a year in extra electricity bills. In the US the situation is even worse - half of corporate computers are left on overnight. This is costing US firms some $2.8bn a year. Leaving machines on overnight and at …

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  1. Mr Larrington
    Flame

    Gagh!

    Have the calculated the cost of the time wasted in starting the bloody things up in the morning and shutting them down in the evening?

    Thought not.

    In the case of the POS on my desk, that'd be about twenty minutes a day.

  2. Jeff
    Flame

    £300m across every UK business?

    £17 per computer per year.. so.. if you have 10,000 computers (a lot) that's £170,000 a year..

    I'd hazard a guess that for a company with tens of thousands of PCs, that would be a drop in the ocean of their annual turnover. Scaling it down to your average mid-size with 1000 PCs (to be generous) you're talking about £17,000 a year,, most places spend more than that on sandwiches for the board.

    In summary.. who cares?

  3. Thommy M. Malmström
    IT Angle

    Sun Ray

    If they only have learned not to put a whole PC at every desk they could have saved billions. The thin client machines, especially the Sun Ray, are so energy effective we can turn off several CO2 emitting power plants if they were deployde in wide scale. It's a shame it has not been done earlier.

  4. tfewster Silver badge
    Stop

    Put into context

    > Leaving machines on overnight and at weekends costs British businesses £17 a year for every PC.

    As it takes me about 15 minutes to shut down and restart my work PC, including re-opening all the stuff I'm working on - Leaving the PC on pays off for the company in less than a week.

    But I guess the environmental impact and shortage of generating capacity isn't shocking enough for companies with a vested interest?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    It might cost millions.....

    Point taken.

    But what we really want to do is reduce peak load on the power systems?

    Anyway if we go nuclear, we'll need to have a base load on the system, and PC's can help with that. :)

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Standard policy.

    It's also standard policy to load the corporate PCs to the gunwales with corporate cruftware (remote control, software cataloguing, whatever "sekkuritti" tool the arsehats bought this week, print manager, etc, etc). Couple that with the facts that they're also probably under-RAM'ed, based on some sclerotic CPU and that they get defragged, regcleaned and such only if they go titsup.

    Finally add to the mix that "I put together a housekeeping routine that made our user's machines run more effectively" doesn't look anywhere near as good as "I rolled Corp ClogWare Admin Snooper 4.4 to 2000 desktops" on yer admin's CV and you have the real cause of the problem.

    They take so sodding long to boot and login that turning 'em off overnight means you lose an hour of every employee's working day each morning.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    But is it really that much?

    Its the same argument as with energy efficient lamp bulbs. My computer sits at home running, its sharing my music out round the house and its where we keep all our photos and so on. So its putting a small amount of heat out into the house. During the Autumn, Winter and spring, its pumping heat out into a house that has central heating running in it.

    So the REAL saving (as with the lamp bulbs) is (Cost of Energy for device + Cost of Heating) - (new cost of running device + Cost of Heating + Cost of additional heating).

    In my last job the coldest office in the morning was the one where the computers weren't there over night (laptops) and so we had to turn the heating up for the WHOLE building to get our office warm again.

  8. Mike Fairclough
    Thumb Down

    Other factors?

    What they seem to have failed to factor in is the loss in productivity when the user comes into work, fires her Windows machine up and waits 5-10 minutes for it to boot and be useable.

    Add in the likelihood that said user will probably go and make a cuppa you're looking at 15-20 minutes of lost productivity at the start of the day.

    £17 a year doesn't sound so much now does it?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Windows is to blame...

    If Windows had a decent standby/hibernate function that really worked, then I'm sure more people would use it - so long as it doesn't work, people won't use it.

    Every time I've ever used it various services/servers/applications lose any clue about their state and various other issues that just force you to reboot every time. It's a lot easier to just keep the desktop running overnight knowing that everything will be in its right place (assuming no silly patch/update has rebooted you while you were away)...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Switch it off

    isn't that when most electrical equipement dies? At switch on or off time?

    Every server or PC that I have had die on me, failed to come back to life following a power down. Not a few, not most, EVERY ONE.

    Considering the cost of the reduced server / PC life against the small amount of electricity consumed by leaving it on, I have found savings in leaving the things on.

    And don't scream about the 'wasted' power and how I am destroying the planet with the 'extra' green house gases used to power these machines. How about the GHG and the chemicals I have saved by NOT having to replace or repair these servers?

    £17 a year extra cost to leave the power on, and double or triple the life of the machine, aginst a £250+ (per year of life) cost of replacing the same machine. I think that I'm onto a winner here.

  11. Danyer
    Thumb Down

    Wake-on-LAN

    "It is standard policy in many large corporates that machines are left on so that software patches and virus updates can be remotely installed while the machines are not in use."

    Have they not heard about WOL. Wake up computer, apply whatever, send it to sleep. Or make the updates part of shutdown procedure.

    WOL doesn't work over wireless, but I guess not everyone in the enterprise went wireless, did they?

    Thumbs down for incompetence.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Windows is possibly one of the root causes

    I frequently hit "Shut Down" when I finish work only to come back the next morning to find all sort of error messages and Windows hasn't shut down. With startup taking around 8 minutes for my XP machine it's no wonder people leave their machines on overnight. Microsoft need to sort this out and get machines shutting down reliably and starting up faster. Only then will people switch them off.

  13. Keiran

    why, oh why

    I currently work for a large multinational company. In our UK site I know that the machines all work the same way...when you turn them on all relevant patches and software updates required since last used are installed.

    I think this was implemented on the desktop machines when they started having more and more laptop users. Makes sense to have the same software managment on both, although the virus scans can be a little annoying.

    Unfortunately the rest of the IT support is put to shame by the charity I used to work for.

  14. David Wood

    Leaving machines on is cheap!

    I am a software developer and generally have my IDE and a couple of virtual machines running on my work PC. Starting it up and shutting it down again every day would take at least 20 minutes. That's going to cost my company at least £10 a day in lost productivity.

  15. Steve Todd
    Stop

    Only £17 per machine?

    What do they think the lost productivity while waiting for the machines to boot each day is worth? Say it takes only 2 minutes to boot (unlikely given the configuration of most business machines) and there are 48 working weeks per year then that's 48x5x2/60 = 8 hours lost per year. Even at minimum wage that's £45.84 (and that ignores NI, paid holidays, office space etc). £17 looks like a bargain to me.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh

    And spending 5 minutes waiting for the stupid thing to boot and another minute for it to shut down is free, now? Not to mention the half hour we occasionally have to wait for antivirus etc. to update on boot instead of just doing it quietly in the dark of night. But those are *hidden costs* so they don't matter to Gartner.

    It's the same kind of woolly thinking that's now forcing us to use so-called "energy saving" light bulbs in Scandinavia. More mercury in the environment and hardly any real effect at all. I mean, we have to heat our houses 9 months a year anyway and who cares where the heat comes from - and just exactly when is it we have to heat our houses? When it's dark and we turn on the lights anyway, that's when! Twits...

    Policy based evidence making at its finest. Epic fail.

  17. Bassey

    Not the real cost

    £17 a year per PC! My company has just implemented this shut-down policy and I'm sure they pay me an awful lot more than £17 a year to stare at a "Your computer is starting" screen each morning.

  18. Adam Salisbury
    Flame

    Well talk about stating the obvious...

    While the government, lobby groups and environmentalists conceive more and more expensive and ambitious "green" projects the cheapest, easiest and most obvious measures have been over-looked. Outlaw businesses from leaving their buildings lit up like Christmas trees as well leaving desktops on all night, I'd love to know what the CO2 figures are for the thousands of office blocks "idling" at night and at the weekend. If you want timely patches and AV updates get a WSUS and/or PatchLink server. AV updates still aren't big enough to justify leaving a machine on for 12 hours for!!

  19. Jon Wilson

    Newsflash

    Generally, corporate PCs are *backed up* overnight.

    Dimwits.

    That doesn't mean we can't do anything because you can try tinkering with wake on LAN etc., but for me at least it's always been flaky as hell.

  20. Shaun
    Happy

    Shutter

    http://www.den4b.com/projects.php

    We run an app called "Shutter" (see link) which shuts down everything at 18:00 - Job done.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Meanwhile, in the real world...

    for anyone who has actually worked in IT, this will be a "been there, done that, got the T-Shirt" story,

    When I worked for a large (1000+) company, one of the directors had this bright idea, to insist all PCs were turned off overnight.

    The IT infrastructure was a classic NT4 SMS-driven rollout, where updates and patches were rolled out overnight.

    First day of the new regime, most PCs took over an hour to boot, and some updates got corrupted and toasted a few PCs, taking them offline for a day, while a rebuild was done.

    The initiative lasted one day.

    And besides, didn't I read somewhere that the biggest cause of wear and tear on a PC is the on/off cycle, which hammers the PSU and HDD ?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just done this myself

    I have 6 computers. I have a life too, but I do a lot of computing-related and online work, so 6 computers it is.

    Anyway, 4 of the 6 had no power switch on the rear, so I made up "kill switches" for them (to put in an easily accessible place - the power boards and power sockets being in rather inaccessible places). So now, they all get turned off properly when not in use.

    It'll take 2 or 3 years to recoup the costs in saved electricity, but I feel better about it, and you can't put a price on that.

    Gotta go - it's time to re-arrange my sock drawer.

  23. William Clark
    Flame

    Understanding power

    Most people have a very poor grasp of power consumption. They tend to know that boiling the kettle 'uses a lot of electricity' but do not equate this to a similar amount of energy used by leaving a 100W bulb on for an hour. I blame everyone for this, the education system, the media, the government.

    The majority of the population see this as 'Science' and are turned off immediately. It is either too complicated before they have even tried or too dull. The main reason we have trouble getting students - particularly females - into science/engineering is that it is not sexy/groovy/fashionable.

    The media have a very poor grasp of numbers and science. It's all 'carbon' - whatever happened to -dioxide and -monoxide??? Why cannot they say kWh instead of KW for energy used? Why do they have to emphasize 'billion', when put into perspective the relative quantity might be small?

    I work with a load of engineers who should all understand power (watts) but they still leave PCs idle when they go home - probably through laziness. I put a simple power tester on our idle PCs and found they used around 30W sitting on their login screens - and let's face it - most offices are mostly unattended for 70% of the time (evenings/nights/weekends)

    I suspect companies need help in this respect rather than the iron fist approach, but turning off unused items (lights, aircon) would make massive savings to energy used - forget the money and cost savings - that would be a bonus, what about the environment and fuel stocks?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Windows AD

    It's pretty trivial to script hibernation at a given time (subject to the machine being logged off/locked) in a windows AD environment. Why don't more people do it?

  25. Paul

    Still don't get this...

    "It is standard policy in many large corporates that machines are left on so that software patches and virus updates can be remotely installed while the machines are not in use."

    It just seems like a soding lazy IT department. I have never worked in a company that dose this.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm...

    £17 a year - versus the cost of employee time starting it up and reopening apps, getting back to where they were at the end of the previous day (even if you ignore any additional costs it creates with rolling out updates).

    Doesn't sound like an economic case for turning them off to me?

  27. joe K
    Paris Hilton

    C Out the CO2 Brigade

    I am tired of people randomly attaching the phrase 'tons of CO2' to everything! Soon the Mrs will declare a 50% slash in my weekly carnal allotment in a bid to cut down on my respiratory linked CO2 emissions ....

    Paris, as she'd probably make offset my domestic offset.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I would switch it of...

    ...but I want them to clean-up, de-frag, re-optimise the virtual images and do some other housekeeping after I am gone on a Friday. So I automated all that via Windows Scheduled Tasks. I have yet to find a way to issue a "Hibernate" command from such a thing.

    The whole "power down if nothing has happened in 30 mins" is bullshit as something IS happening, but it is not user input.

    At home I would like my PC to do some housekeeping (e.g. AV scans) during the night. This would mean bringing the PC out of stand-by and sending it back again, BUT also co-operating with other programs. i.e. do not send the PC back to stand-by if Media Center is recording.

    There also does not seem to be anyway to tell Media Center to send the PC to stand-by after it is done (and not other program is running a housekeeping task of course). All you have is the shitty (and useless) "go to sleep after 30 mins" which is annoying if you are watching a movie!

    At home I use "Stand-by" as I am not sure if the PC can be woken from "Hibernate" by a scheduled event. As I have said, I know of no clean way to send it back into "stand-by"/"hibernate" once the job is done.

    So do not blame the users for the failure of the OS/applications to make such things easy. I have no idea if it is a similar situation with Linux.

    You also have to consider the wear-and-tear on systems of coming up and down. How much of that £300 million/carbon-footprint be eaten into by failed drives etc?

    I do, however, power off and unplug everything I can when it is not in use, even though my employer does not give two damns due to how we are metered.

  29. Matt Davies
    Thumb Down

    But how expensive is it to shut them down?

    How much time is spent waiting for the machine to boot up, log in to various systems, and reopen all the files you had the previous day?

    If it's only 20 minutes to get back to where you were it's still far more expensive than the cost of the electricity to keep the machine on overnight. Do you want to get into work 20 minutes earlier and leave 10 minutes later to keep the same productivity?

    Lets not even get started with virus scans, loosing undo on all the files that you closed when you shut down, finding the correct place in the files you had open, etc...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Leaving the PCs on costs firms £300m a year in electricity

    ...but would the savings offset the lost productivity while waiting for the computers to boot up? Knowing the type of computers some firms have, they can take as long as 10 minutes to start.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    But....

    The cost savings in man hours by not waiting for the blooming PC to boot each day presumably swamps the leccy bill.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    only talking about this today

    I used to turn my PC off every night, but the fact it takes 15 minutes to log in at the start of the day is more of a waste in productivety a therefore money.

    Windows loves to copy your profile back and forth to the same PC you use every day... take it up with MS not businesses.

    This is yet another survey / statement that misses the real issues involved.... no-one in IT asked me to leave my PC on for updates. They dont care when you get them, first thing in the morning is as good as during the night!!!!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    News?

    I was banging on about this years ago when I was a desktop monkey, trying to persuade users to simply turn off their machines when they left the office for the night. Simple laziness it was (can't be bothered to close down and save stuff)!

    One c*nt developer even went on a two week holiday and left his computer on, logged in, and locked. Funny how it "accidentally" managed to do get powered down (the hard way!) after a few days.. ;-)

  34. Julian Lawton

    £17 vs productivity cost

    Putting aside the ecological argument, let's just see if the numbers make sense from a business point of view.

    Let's presume that the time taken to boot-up to usefulness & shutdown each day is 2 minutes, and that your staff work at least 230 days per year, that's 7.6 hours of boot time per year, or a whole day of work, for just £17 a year.

    It doesn't even make sense to pay more for machines that can do proper S3 sleep.

  35. DR

    good idea.

    we used to have a policy at a place I worked where all desktops were turned off overinght.

    and if you wanted to connect from home at the weekend, and so needed your machine to be on we had an Intranet application that's send a magic packet to the machine so that it'd boot.

    Wake on LAN.

    then after they finished working from home they could just shut down again.

  36. Fenwick

    Calculations

    We do calculations on all of our linux boxes overnight, switching them off would cost us dearly.

  37. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Beancounters to the rescue?

    "chief exec of power management firm 1E, who funded the research." Ah, another 'independant' survey.

    Seen this sort of thing done in the real world. Those who would look to increasing/justifying thier bonus do a blanket purge and never belive that there are loads of machines that look like 'ordinary' PCs sit there 24/7 happily monitoring systems, fault checking and analysing, raise alarms and send out messages to engineers etc. etc.

    By the time the total cock-up has been sorted out there has been far more money spent on damage limitation and server rebuilds that there ever would have been on the power savings.

    Those ancient machines the BOFH has left that are apparently doing nothing - not even a screen or keyboard plugged in - are actually running the company.

    Thumbs up icon -- if nothing else it means loads of overtime.

  38. Stuart Halliday
    Flame

    software installations practises

    I blame Microsoft and other platforms designing a OS that needs to be rebooted when the majority of updates need adjusting.

    I remember RISC OS back in the 1990s which used software vectors to add or remove software. This meant in the most part that you simply ran a file and it replaced the current one. No rebooting required.

    Why can't they do this with Windows 7 and Linux in the 21st Century?

  39. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down

    More Common Purpose hogwash

    Our big Xerox Phaser 7760s use 28p per 24 hour day in electricity for about 1000 prints which cost £8 in paper and god know houw much in consumables.

    Our silver 20" iMacs cost 2.1p per day and are turned off at 9pm, so if they were left on all night it would be 2p more.

    I think UK businesses have far more problems caused by the Government than by the piffling little bits of electricity which lets face it 8 months of the year are offset by equally piffling reductions in heating bills thanks to the processing power ending up as heat.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Oh well. Who cares?

    It's basically nothing... this may as well be the old 'leaving early to watch football match costs economy seven trillion pounds' crap the CBI come out with every few weeks to get their smug gits on BBC News. If it costs more than £17 in productivity turning the lump of crap off and on again then do it, otherwise leave it on. Simple.

  41. Martin H Watson

    It may be green but...

    ...£17 per year is peanuts compared to the sitting around idle waiying for a PC to boot time.

    Is there anyway I can leave mine on when not in use, working on a massively distributed 'how to get computers to boot faster' project?

    Mine's the one left on the peg seemingly not used.

  42. andy gibson

    WOL

    Has nobody heard of Wake on LAN? I have a script which shuts down all my company's PCs at a certain time late in the afternoon.

    They're given a WOL command next morning about ten minutes before the users come in.

    Their profiles are small enough to have them logged on in under 20 seconds.

  43. RichardB
    Stop

    Simply not true

    The cost to British business is a net £0.

    Or are we saying that none of the British Electricity Suppliers are British Businesses?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Paul

    [of overnight patch depoyment etc]

    "It just seems like a soding lazy IT department. "

    Er - you try manually deploying a patch to 10,000 PCs, between 8pm and 6am.

  45. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: I would switch it off.......

    "....I know of no clean way to send it back into "stand-by"/"hibernate" once the job is done....."

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555569/en-us

    That seems to be the answer you've been searching for.

  46. Andus McCoatover
    Joke

    Emissions?

    <<the IT and telecom industry generates 2 per cent of world carbon emissions>>

    If it were methane emissions, I'd recommend El Reg. cancel the BOFH's membership to Mahatma Kote's fitness^H^H^H^H^H^H^H curry 'clinic'.

    That'll save the planet. NOT. He'll find a way around it. (Self-administered death by gas poisoning in a tape safe, indeed...)

  47. 4cAtS
    Stop

    £17 is not a lot

    compared to the loss of time while employees to wait for their PCs to boot in the morning.

    5-10 mins (on a good day) everyday for a year is going to cost the company much more.

  48. Dave
    Boffin

    Bad Science

    Firstly - we are talking about off-peak load here, so if every single PC were turned off at night, the National Grid would still have just as many conventional power stations running, so not one gram of CO2 would be saved.

    Secondly: price. Electricity has almost no usage component in the price - it is all running costs that don't change, so if all those PC's got turned off, the utilities would need to put up the price per unit to cover their costs, so no net reduction in costs, averaged across the nation.

    Thirdly, as covered by many above, the lost productivity that can be covered by £17 is not very much: an hour or two per year is barely enough time per day to press the button.

  49. Wokstation

    And if you don't turn 'em off...

    ...at least run Boinc on 'em!

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely though

    There are a number of different angles with the whole leaving computers on aspect.

    There is the financial costs of doing so, which will also need to take into consideration things like loss of productivity on startup as many have already mentioned.

    Alternatively there is the environmental cost which will need to take into consideration things like direct energy use vs wear and tear of starting / stopping hardware. I would postulate that were companies etc. really bothered about the environmental impact then they would do much more to encourage working from home.

    And there is the convenience thing. I get paid the same whether I am working, watching my computer boot up or making a cuppa whilst my computer boots, however I do get frustrated at having to wait. After all I am there to work and watching a PC welcome me to Windows for 10 minutes loses it's sparkle after a few times.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I make it £18.40 a year.

    30 Watts * 365 days * 14 hours * 12 pence per KW.

    However, you then have to take off the amount of extra heating of your office, which is about a third. This reduces is to £12.25.

    At minimum wage £5.73 this equates to a whopping 128 minutes 16 seconds a year, or 34.98 seconds a working day. So if you have to wait for 35 seconds a day for a boot, you've lost money.

    Marvellous.

  52. Red Bren

    @AC @@Paul

    > "It just seems like a soding lazy IT department. "

    > Er - you try manually deploying a patch to 10,000 PCs, between 8pm and 6am.

    Or try doing it during office hours when people are trying to work.

  53. Player_16
    Jobs Halo

    @ TeeCee

    My Gawd!!

    I knew MS was bad at power management but this is ridiculous! I've always feared at trying to put my machine at work to standby or sleep or hibernate or power down. I think under Vista (home) there are 6 different ways.

    Macs: Restart, Sleep, Cancel, Shut down.

    There is a stand-by then sleep -like when you walk away and forget- that's low power and sleep is even lower. When I've had enough, without quitting, I push a button on the back (or wipe my hand across the Cube) and walk away, 2 seconds, Sleep. Tap the keys, 4 seconds, awake full power. Continue.

    Laptops: just close the lid; sleep. Open lid, full power.

    Boot Camp: Vista -it is wise that nothing is running. I push a button on the back, wait to make sure -because sometimes, it needs a cuddle- and when the screen goes black, you walk away: hibernate; that's about 20 seconds. Tap the keys, about 6 seconds, awake full power. Then you have to go back into your program(s) and that takes some time.

    MS (and the companies that work under that umbrella) haven't a concept of being power conservative for the typical individual or work-place user: You either leave it on and wait for the queer episodes the next morning knowing that it may have loaded something without you knowing... or take your chances.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555569/en-us

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Serial processing?

    @most of you

    Where's Sarah Bee when you need her?

    What a bunch of stereotypical blokes.

    So, if your computer were switched off, and you had to switch it on, you have nothing else to do but watch it? What happened to e.g., take coat off, get coffee, open lab book, catch up on a couple of phone calls, dig out your working papers (I've hear about the paperless office, show me one) catch up on office grapevine with colleagues... all the other things that I've forgotten

    A N Other-Bloke

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hahha

    My work pc boots up nice and quick, so its not ms, but i also don't have a load of corperate scripts that load at startup, again, those things are not MS, but your company. Occasionaly i have to reboot for updates, to the people who complain about that, its for OS safety reasons, fiddling with stuff thats currently in use might just cause curroption! Oh and to the person who moaned about his pc not shutting down, how about staying 1 min longer and seeing WHY it didn't shut down instead of bitching off at MS, as it was likely a 3rd party program that caused it

    I am starting to think that most of the "it professionals" on here are actually fat guys in there bedrooms who have never actually used a MS machine, but heard from there mates that its a bad thing so they have to hate it!

    Knew it would only be a matter of time before ms was blamed tho, this place is become more and more like a collection of daily mail readers, just have to swap "microsoft" with "immigrants" and its about right.

  56. Michael Kean
    Happy

    Automating Standby / Hibernate

    Here are two free tools that may help:

    http://www.grc.com/wizmo/wizmo.htm

    (Command is wizmo standby or wizmo hibernate)

    http://www.snapfiles.com/get/idlemonitor.html

    (Watches mouse idle time, but to use with wizmo you need to make a batch file as this freeware is a little dumb.)

  57. chris
    Thumb Down

    Weirdos

    Who the hell sits and watches their PC boot up in the morning? You boring bastards. Hit "On", go to the kettle and make the cup of tea that you were going to make. Talk to your colleagues, find out what's going on.

    It is possible to work with out a computer being on, you know. You all are just looking for excuses. There's more "loss of productivity" attributable to dancing cats falling down stairs.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @TeeCee

    Excellent - that's a partial solution and could help if some places, but I also want to pro grammatically switch off once task are done (ideal at work for over the w/end)

    Now, how to test and see if other things are running and only power down when safe?

    How to tell Media Center to power down if safe?

    I do thank you for your suggestion, but it is not possible to do decent power management cleanly in Windows.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    You are IT people, right?

    Really, this is an IT site, some of the luser comments are very disturbing...

    To the lost productivity crowd: Try setting a scheduled task to turn on the computer before you get into the office.

    WOL won't work on wireless: see above

    My machines is never right when it starts up: Your IT, right? Investigate, find the root cause, fix it!

    Hibernate does not work: Your IT, right? Investigate, find the root cause, fix it! Most likely it is some crap in-house application that you are using that was not written well. Or you failed to get off a VPN tunnel.

    Where is AManFromMars, he could put good perspective on this

  60. Wolf
    Paris Hilton

    There's a lot of bilge being spewed here

    I work for a company with about 200 employees scattered over a dozen locations in 6 different states. I'm the IT manager (read sole IT person) for our company. There are probably 50 desktops and a dozen laptops for users, with a half-dozen servers. (email, phone system, data archiving, file server, terminal server, etc). We're running Active Directory and a mix of Windows 2000, 2003, and 2003 64-bit on our servers.

    We run a mix of computers, about 40% Vista the rest XP, and one lone 98SE machine that runs a piece of hardware. We use a combination of home-brew software, third-party software, and MS Office. No, we don't use Exchange. :)

    Our machines (both Vista *and* XP) take anywhere from 1-2 minutes to go from cold to logged in and ready to use--and we're using mostly $500 and under desktops!

    We keep our systems running overnight during the week and shut down unused systems on the weekends (except dispatch which runs 18/7). Overnight all systems get updates downloaded and critical patches applied automatically (OS and AV). Servers download (but don't apply) patches, perform backup, and other housekeeping.

    The Vista machines perform defragging and all the other housekeeping needed by the OS. Been slowly replacing XP Pro with Vista Business as machines need replacing. (Powerspec is your friend. Cheap, reliable, and good performance with about a 5-6 year lifespan).

    My company's PCs are trouble-free, autopatching has never caused me any problems. Our users tend toward the computer-illiterate end of the scale, if there's a problem I'm the one they come to. That means I hear *every* problem. :) I'm also the person who goes and buys the computer when one is needed.

    So all you whiners cry me a river. Your IT departments obviously don't know what they're doing if your systems take 15+ minutes to come up/shut down. There's *no* excuse for that.

    For the posters commenting that rolling out patches overnight is lazy--no, it isn't. It's an efficient use of a computer's off-peak time--and my time. It's what Windows (especially Vista) is designed to do.

    Couple that with solid hardware, the bare minimum of user education (hey, log off before you go home, 'kay?) a sane group policy (like run as standard user, don't let users install software without approval, clear IE's cache on exit, etc, etc) and a weather eye from yours truly and you get trouble-free computing.

    I'm not saying I'm in some Fortune 500, our company is fairly small as corporations go. But since I'm the only IT person needed to keep us functional I'd say my methods work, and work well.

    Constant crashes? 15+ minutes from cold start to working? Egads.

    Paris, because it's obvious she must be running 99% of Reg readers IT departments...

  61. Dale

    BIOS autostart

    I leave my PC on all through Monday to Friday and switch it off at the weekend. Main reason is so that all the apps and documents are left in the same state and position when I arrive so I can remember what I was up to the day before. After a weekend, I can't remember anyway so might as well shut it down.

    Many PCs have a BIOS option to switch it on automatically at a set time. On mine I have it set to start up about an hour before I usually get in on weekdays only, which means on Monday morning the PC is waiting for me to log myself in when I get there. As a bonus it lets me avoid the company-wide enforced weekly virus scan, which grinds the machine to a halt for an hour, because that happens before I arrive. If I'm away on holiday, I unplug the machine so it doesn't wake up at all.

  62. Nigel
    Boffin

    The right answers

    As many have pointed out, the economic cost of losing ten minutes work time each day closing, shutting down, rebooting and re-opening, is vastly higher than the wasted electricity. And much of the electricity isn't actually wasted, because 8 months each year it's heating an environment that needs heating anyway. And then there's the environmental cost of replacing a PC that failed earlier because of the daily power surge inflicted on it.

    The right answers lie with the hardware manufacturers, some of whom are already making steps towards reducing power consumption. What we need, is a really good stand-by mode. Not hibernate or suspend, but a CPU that can slow down to say 5% of its normal speed, and reduce its power consumption by 95% when it does so. Also more efficient PSUs,that don't just burn power when the CPU isn't using it. Also solid-state rather than rotating disks that don't eat much power when not being accessed. Many of these things are beginning to happen, but a regulatory kick to make them mandatory on all new PCs would help. (Especially with the PSUs, where an extra tenner is a very hard sell).

    But the worst offenders are not office PCs. They are much greater numbers of hi-fis, TVs, VCRs, DVDs, mobile phone chargers, microwaves, wireless phones, ... yes, and PC monitors, all sitting in standby eating a watt or three 24x365 when with a little bit of decent engineering and a small increase in cost, they could all be using mere microwatts. And traffic lights, most of which still use kilowatts of halogen bulbs per road, even though LEDs are perfect and would save at least 80% of the power. The ones that you can't replace by mini-roundabouts, that is.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    You have to get to the end before you can make a conclusion...

    Lovely how everyone seems to forget that power usage is not constant. The power consumption required to cold boot a computer is substantially more than the regular consumption rate. It initially requires a large amount of power to flood the required circuits. After that, the computer boots while running with no power saving options, until the computer is fully running. Only then, does the computer begin to settle into its regular power consumption rate.

    The USAF made it a requirement many years ago that personell should NOT turn off their computers overnight, as the actual power consumption was higher. Monitors were still to be turned off overnight. I believe that's been updated to allow computers to be turned off during the weekends now.

    Also, modern computers continue to draw power even when "turned off." Though this usage is admitedly very small.

    For those people above who haven't figured out how to automate shutting down/hibernating a Windows computer, MS offers the lovely built in command line program called.......shutdown It has lots of options. Its worked for years. Try it out.

    A better study would compare the total power consumption of a set of computers when left on overnight, to the consumption if they're put to sleep, to the consumption if they're put in hibernate, to the consumption when they're completely turned off. Of course, a company could always try this in house to see what happens.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some win, some lose

    Attention-grabbing headline, but utter tosh.

    Think of the fall in revenue lost by the 'leccy companies if everyone switched their PC off.

  65. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Stop

    Perfect solution

    One of the secretaries switches on all four (yes four) computers as soon as she arrives, then goes and makes the tea. Machines are up and running when needed. No time wasted at all.

    At the end of the day the machines are logged out by a different person who then goes and does all the washing up etc. checks doors/windows and kills the main power. Again no time wasted.

    People talking about startup/shutdown surges obviously have no clue about how modern power supplies are designed.

  66. Scott Terril

    The neverending argument

    I'm for leaving my PCs running, but won't go foaming at the mouth if you want to turn yours off. The one argument that the "turn it off" folks never seem to address is the increased hardware failure rates when they are turned off. I've had the same experience an earlier poster has. I've never had a PC die when powered up. I've had plenty die when trying to power them up.

    Look at it this way. If increased CO2 emissions concern you more than hardware failure, the boot up wait time allows you to hug more bunnies. It's a win-win!

  67. b166er

    S3

    Simple, really.

  68. Alan Brown Silver badge
    Flame

    Sleeping the monitors is the biggest saver

    We leave our machines on overnight because they end up being used for number crunching.

    We still save 75% on power by making sure the monitors are switched off.

    As for the moaning about slow startups: WOL and a machine poll ~1 hour before startup will have machines ready for use each morning (as will using the bios wakeup timer on every PC manufactured since 1996)

    Flame - we have a nice 500kW backup UPS for the building. Overloading it is "not advised"

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Point is...

    Leaving your computer on all night is as stupid as leaving your TV on all night, its just a waste of power - if your not using it turn the bloody thing off!!!

  70. dracotrapnet
    Alert

    Boot by clock with bois settings

    Why not take some looking around in the bois and set the computers to boot up 20 minutes before workers arrive. I did that here on a few power user machines who complained about having to boot their pcs in the morning after I shut them down the night before.

    A few pcs I also added a shutdown /s /c "use start, run, shutdown /a to abort shutdown" to task scheduler around 6 pm on a few pcs that are always left on.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Serious about consumption?

    If you really want to save energy, run laptops instead of desktops!

  72. This post has been deleted by its author

  73. Damien Thorn

    shutdown -r >:)

    Average single computer today running 24/7 costs about 43 quid a year.

    Average single business 2 computers 1 server.

    Average single computer cost runnin 9/5 - according to electricty company - 43 quid a year.

    Hmmz.

    Average lifespan of HDD always on 3.5yrs

    Average lifespan of HDD on/off 2.5 yrs

    Average time between faults computer always on 189 days

    Average time between faults computer on off - 97 days

    I can see how that would work for business.

    Firgures from electric company and national statisitcs various goolge pages.

  74. Spider
    Alert

    Stop kids getting eaten!

    If you all start saving CO2 how else are we going to drown polar bears? Have you any idea how many defenceless children get eaten every year? will no-one think of the kids?!...

    Plus with rising sea levels we can sink Norfolk.. come on people, burn those fossil fuels!

  75. Gordon Crawford

    this is why i like the reg

    it's the readers who comment !

    my computers die more during power changes [off and on]

    it generates heat [where i am and need it [true for me 8 of 12 months] the other 4 i us a dif computer

    remote data access [hard to do if it is off ]

    remote updates and timed updates in off hours

    of course , if our comps last longer , no hardware is bought and software is not needed to be up graded due to new OS on new hardware. We are to blame for the dying economy , we did not buy buy buy .

    well la te da and bye buy for now .....

  76. John Angelico
    Boffin

    Leaving files where you found them? @various

    Hmm, that seems to be a MS-Windoze problem.

    My trusty OS/2 Workplace Shell Desktop does an automatic restart of all files/folders left open at last shutdown.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Surely the time for a re-appraisal of Thin Client has come !

    So here I am sitting in front of my PC which, I am reliably informed is sucking 300watts out of the wall socket. Am I using it all the time -no ! Is it switched all the time - yes ! And my cute little meter on the desktop says I am at 10% utilisation on average. This has to be madness. Do I really need the latest, greatest 3Ghz processor for a bit of email, a bit of word processing, a few spreadsheets and some browsing ? I don't think so . Perhaps it's a size thing, you know, mine's bigger / faster / fatter than yours. Come on someone, tell us about thin clients. I read one review that suggested 4watts max from one particular unit. That's a bit more like it. And cos my data is now back safe in the data centre those IT guys in the Data Centre have control of my data backup; and so much the better, cos they know how to do it, well a lot more than I do ! And don't start me on viruses..............................................

  78. Scott Terril

    I'm not doing my part.

    I must not be leaving enough PCs running to do my part to increase global warming. It's the end of March, the average temperature this time of year is 60 degrees F, and we are under a blizzard warning.

    Quick! To the stripminingmobile!

  79. Steve Simmonds
    Happy

    BIOS wakeup

    The problem with the BIOS wakeup is that it has no concept of weekends. I wrote a Windows program for our company that automatically shutsdown or switches on your computer once or twice a day and the user can set different times for each setting (i.e. 14 on/off settings, 2 on/off for each day of the week). You can also set it to switch on on a certain date for when you are away on holiday and want it on when you come in.

    This lets the computer add updates etc. before you come in but remain off at weekends.

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