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Related to this but different enough so that I think it deserves its own question.

I'm the sysadmin of a small business, and by 'sysadmin', I mean 'by the seat of my pants' (still in university, not a lot of real-world experience, etc). I'm not ignorant, just inexperienced.

Anyway - we've got about 10 office employees whose computer usage consists mostly of using a web browser, pulling up Word occasionally, and interacting with our company's database through FileMaker. Our current batch of workstations are 5-year-old Dell E520s that literally never get shut down. I'm not worried about hard drives failing - by and large, most important files are saved on a networked drive - the big deal is just plain old energy efficiency. We're a small business, and I wrack my brains every day trying to figure out ways to shave a few dollars here and there from our overhead, and shutting the workstations down at 5p and firing them all back up at 9a seems like an easy way to do that (not to mention the tangible performance benefits that come from restarting Windows XP, as opposed to letting 10 tabs of FireFox leak memory all night long :P).

This may be an extremely stupid question, but what do you all think?

share|improve this question… – Fergus Apr 12 '11 at 4:13
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Yes, absolutely. Unlike server machines, I do recommend shutting down desktop/laptops at night. In fact, many institutions (mine included) implement Group Policy rules that automatically shut down computers at a certain time. At the very least, consider pushing out a GP that forces monitors to turn off after a certain idle timeout.

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Very good. I'll be staying late to implement this today. Thanks for the help! – kivetros Apr 12 '11 at 10:19
Absolutely. With the cost of power this needs to be something the business controls. Regardless of what setting the business chooses to switch on, this should be a "business" decision that is controlled centrally rather than something that users "just forget" and leave on. – RobM Apr 12 '11 at 10:54
That depends on your policy. We do NOT want people shutting down machines at night, because we do a lot of our updating overnight and workstations miss patches and then we have to do remediation on them. If you do not have requirements like this (we have thousands of workstations to manage ...) then sure, it would probably be beneficial to shut them down every night. – Daniel B. Jul 11 '11 at 11:08

Standby/suspend after an hour or two of idleness sounds reasonable.

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I've always left this up to the particular user, as some work from home occasionally, and some just want to shut it down. Personally, I run mine 24x7, as does about 3/4 of my office.

What is important to me is making sure Wake on LAN is enabled. That way if that particular computer is scheduled for updates and they shut it down, I can still boot it remotely and do what I need to do.

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