We’re often asked by our clients and their team members if they should leave their computer on all the time or turn it off when they are not using them. Several years ago, we would have told them clients to turn their machines off to save power. But with the extreme proliferation of viruses, ransomware, and other threats over the last few years, we’ve changed our minds.
You want your anti-virus and anti-spyware applications to be up-to-the-minute, which means you should let them run as soon as the updates are released. They’re often scheduled to for the middle of the night when most users aren’t working, so you want to leave your computer on overnight. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait (sometimes a looong time) in the morning for all the security, virus, and Windows updates to run if you turn it on first thing. That’s prime productivity right there … unless you’ve got to wait for the coffee to brew and you’re checking email on your phone.
Windows needs to be updated whenever a new security patch is released. This is usually not daily, but it may happen several times a month. It’s important to update your operating system as soon as a patch becomes available because hackers move very quickly to reverse engineer Windows updates. As soon as an update is released, they create a virus specific to that vulnerability and start looking for unprotected machines to infect and invade.
While many Windows updates are rolled out as needed, there is also “Patch Tuesday” which is the first Tuesday of every month. This is an unofficial term for the second Tuesday of the month when Windows rolls out security patches for all their software. You definitely want to leave your computer on that evening because it can take a while for the system to restart. Again, you don’t want to be sitting their waiting for your computer to boot up after Patch Tuesday.
If there are problems with the patch, try shutting down your computer and turning it back on. Sometimes the updates causes errors, especially if you never turn your computer off. You don’t want to do that. Restarting it – fully turning it off and turning it on, not just logging out – clears out the memory which is always left with random bits and pieces even after you close programs.
A good schedule is to restart your system a couple times a week, perhaps at the end of the day or when you head out for lunch. Your system will run better and you won’t miss out on any vital updates.