Question Is it true that turned off PCs get older/broken if its turned off for too long?

danny009

Commendable
Apr 11, 2019
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Thanks to technology I became more paranoid everyday, is it true that turned off computers can be get older in terms of lifespan or gets break in some way if they are stay turned off for too long time? I always thought the dust and overheat are the enemies.
 

jay32267

Illustrious
Thanks to technology I became more paranoid everyday, is it true that turned off computers can be get older in terms of lifespan or gets break in some way if they are stay turned off for too long time? I always thought the dust and overheat are the enemies.
I don't think there is much evidence for this...as long as the time frame is reasonable and not an extremely long period of time.

I've started up PCs that have been sitting 10 years and longer....and generally I have no issues other than a dead CMOS battery.

If you go extremely long....capacitors will probably start leaking at some point.
 
Aug 10, 2020
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In theory, no. Having been around for awhile I've seen doozies. First business PCs were pricey but we did a 72 hour burn-in and all components were tested. Buy a new computer from HP or Dell that has been assembled but never tested. Never even powered on. It would take too long and cut into profits. Well Aluminum electrolytics capacitors, the things next to the CPU and coils, have vents so dry out or "blow up" when power comes on. "
The Best" capacitors are Tantalum capacitors ( or Columbium, or Niobium) but after a few months the oxide leaks and the capacitors will rebuild that oxide on next power up. Hermetically sealed means unaffected by outside but they explode violently. Mechanical things like fans and drives deteriorate. IRS has a cyclical use of old computers; in a quiet vibration free storage area the smooth hard drive heads would weld themselves to the disc. PC clock battery CR2032 was 7 years, but hey lets put a rechargeable in, but they leak chemicals when 3 mo no power. That ate the copper in the circuit board, even layers under the surface. Apple keyboard batteries. I had a spare company laptop. After not using it for a few months I tried logging on and got "invalid device". Haha. What if you miss a few "patch tuesdays"? . Every tech has heard "but it worked fine the last time I used it". The virus got written to the MBR last time you used it. The script was written to wininit.ini last time. Does anyone use ECC Ram anymore? Fine in a game or video to have an "off" pixel, but not using error corecting Ram means news stories about $29 refund check being $29,000,000. Ram does age in use; as does flash. Poor thermal design in most systems exacerbates this. A client's server, after working fine several years, began getting "Abend" crashes. Vendor said run memory test. Came up good. Run again. Everyone went home, except me. I ran more memory tests (not the every 4K that bios does ) and received a bit error on the fifth one. Repeated 10x and same memory bit, intermittent. The quality of flash (EEPROM) has improved from 500 wrtite cycles to 10,000,000 write cycles however data longevity is still listed by mfgs as <10 years. Hence BIOS (NOR Flash) failures become more prevalent as motherboards age. So flash goes from SLC to MLC (screw up more bits at a time) but the error correction algorithms are still for one bit errors. Older flash the tunneling damaged oxide. Both flash and ram, basically capacitors, each bit is a small fraction of an electron, an indivisible particle. Cosmic rays come about 6 per second per sq inch. Permanent damage to inividual bits in 256K Ram study.
 

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