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Helping to Solve the All-Time Mystery: Is It Better to Shut Down Your Computer or Keep It on Sleep Mode?

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Helping to Solve the All-Time Mystery: Is It Better to Shut Down Your Computer or Keep It on Sleep Mode?

Laptop and personal computer users want to know more about the potential dangers or benefits of leaving their systems running continuously. For decades, there’s been a valid and ongoing debate on whether to leave a laptop or computer on, or completely shut it down after using it. Both sides of this dialog have rational points to consider. Here’s some information to help you decide whether you will leave yours on, either in “sleep,” or “hibernate” mode, or turn the unit completely off after use.

Shutting Down a Laptop

Your personal needs will help you determine whether to shut down your laptop or computer, or leave it running throughout the day and night. Your decision should be based on how you use your laptop, your views on energy conservation, and whether you accept the assumption that powering up your unit frequently may damage the electronic circuits and other components.

Keep in mind, the likelihood of your laptop being infected with a virus picked up on the Internet is greater than damage to your unit by turning it off and on every day.

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Nonetheless, it is important to turn off your laptop or computer properly in order to avoid damage to the hard drive and corruption of your applications. Do not just unplug the unit or press the power button while it is still running. Use your laptop or computer on-screen menu to shut down the unit.

Microsoft recommends you may want to turn off your laptop or PC appropriately if you don’t plan to use it for a while. They suggest closing all applications; this will ensure your data is saved. They also advise turning off the laptop or personal computer will keep your unit safe and more secure. In addition, they suggest the next time you use it; your unit will start quickly.

Shutting your laptop off offers some additional benefits. Using your laptop less often can contribute to it lasting longer. Less stress, wear and tear on the electronic components and other hardware in your unit will increase its longevity. However, it’s important to keep it dust-free, clean, and maintained properly.

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Turning off your computer or laptop can help lower energy costs to some degree. The amount of wattage the unit draws varies greatly depending on whether it is a laptop or a desktop personal computer. The PC uses more energy because they require a monitor that uses up a lot of power. Additionally desktop power supplies are less resourceful.

The type of work being done on your unit determines how much power it uses. Complex calculations require intensive processing and use up more electricity. On the other hand, browsing the Internet or writing consumes a lesser amount of electricity.

Leaving a Laptop or Computer on

Scientific American reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) verifies placing a desktop PC in “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity can result in a yearly energy savings of $15 to $45 per computer. The EPA actually breaks down sleep mode into two categories: “system standby” and “hibernate.” System standby wakes up faster, that is, five to 10 seconds compared with 20 or more seconds it takes when in a hibernate mode.

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For most people, shutting down their laptop or computer is inconvenient. They don’t like to wait around for the unit to boot up, and it’s always ready to go. In addition, leaving the laptop on allows it to perform necessary routine maintenance while your away, like backups, system maintenance, and software updates.

On the other hand, turning the laptop or computer off cuts down on the fan noise and other unexpected alarms and sounds they’re known for making.

It all comes down to your personal preference and the time you spend on the laptop. For example, if you step away from it to attend a meeting, go to lunch, or any other activity that won’t take up much time, placing the unit in “sleep” or “hibernate” mode may fit your purpose.

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In addition, if you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind the anticipation it may create waiting for the unit to boot up, or want to cut down on energy costs, or have environmental concerns about using electricity when not needed, you may want to shut down your laptop until you’re ready to use it again.

Another reality to consider is the fact that electronic components fail based on how many hours they are used. We never really know when our laptop or personal computer will fail. For this reason, it’s critical to perform regular backups of your data, pictures, documents, and anything you consider valuable.

Featured photo credit: Laptop-Couch-001-Smile/Bryce Johnson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

    What Does Private Browsing Do?

    When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

    For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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    The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

    The Terminal Archive

    While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

    Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

    dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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    Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

    Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

    However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

    Clearing Your Tracks

    Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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    dscacheutil -flushcache

    As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

    Other Browsers and Private Browsing

    Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

    If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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    As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

    Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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