Don’t Let Computer Updates Dictate Your Day

It’s not quite up there with the perennial debate as to whether Macs or PCs are better but it is one of those questions that never quite get answered. Generally the IT guys would prefer if you left your PC running all the time but, in these cost conscious times, they don’t really like to say that. And, of course, it’s not just cost – there are environmental considerations too. Just how much electricity are those PCs burning away while they do nothing for sixteen hours or so each day – how much does that cost? How much carbon does that add to the atmosphere? So why do the IT guys tell you to leave the PC on? Well, one reason is that most support desk calls are generated just after the computer is switched on – when things don’t go as expected: the machine doesn’t boot, or the password is rejected or it just takes an age. Simple then: don’t turn the machine off in the first place and eliminate those time consuming support calls. But there is another reason: PC operating systems are usually programmed to run a whole host of update and maintenance tasks during those twilight hours. All those security patches from Microsoft, anti-virus scanning, disk tidy ups (the list goes on) happen while you are tucked up in bed. The pity about it is that Microsoft actually only, as a rule, releases patches once a month. Virus scanning, if done regularly, only takes a few minutes. The same is true for other routine tasks such as disk defragmentation. But, for them to happen out of hours and not cause the PCs to slow down during working time, it seems the only way is to leave the computers on all the time. Some IT support companies though have come to the conclusion that asking for computers to be left on all the time really is unsustainable in every sense of the word. At Macnamara we have taken it into our hands to improve the situation. We have implemented a simple maintenance plan which runs the various tasks the PCs require to stay in tip top condition but takes the extra step of switching the PC off afterwards. These processes are fully automated and run as soon as possible after the computer users have gone home. It’s a minor additional step but we are seeing cost savings on electricity consumption of up to £1,000 a year with some of our clients – and that’s not to mention the reduced environmental impact. So, back to the opening question, should you turn your PCs off in the evening? Well, yes and no, it depends who’s looking after them! For more information contact Ciaran Kenny on 0845 180 1180 or at