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

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

#1 Post by Deion Adel » 10 Jun 2021, 05:44

:D Thanks to technology I became more paranoid every day, is it true that turned-off computers can get older in terms of lifespan or gets a break in some way if they are stay turned off for too long time? I always thought the dust and overheating are the enemies.

I've seen this saying "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 the next power-up. Hermetically sealed means unaffected by outside but they explode violently. (Source: Tantalum capacitor) 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.

Is this saying true? So is it true that turned-off computers can get older in terms of lifespan or gets a break in some way if they are stay turned off for too long time?

cpprioli
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Location: Pitman, NJ USA

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

#2 Post by cpprioli » 15 Jul 2021, 17:13

The single biggest problem with leaving a PC turned off or unpowered for a long period of time might be the depletion of the charge on the mainboard battery. In many systems, the battery on the mainboard is used to keep the basic user settings that define the PC's operating "personality" (BIOS settings, sometimes called CMOS settings). If the battery becomes depleted, these settings are lost and the PC may not boot up at all, or may not boot up properly or as it did before.

All is certainly not lost, however, as it is a simple matter to enter the system configuration utility and reset these settings. However, they generally will not "keep" unless the mainboard battery is also replaced. Really old PC's (e.g., 386's and 486's) used a 3.6V battery, sometimes cylindrical and soldered in place, and other times a rectangular box-shaped device that usually plugged onto a header on the mainboard. Most later PC mainboards used coin cells, generally the CR2032 type.

Another issue typical of older PC's is the failure of the hard disk drive to spin up properly after a long period of not being run. This is generally caused by a varnish that forms in the HDD spindle bearing, which then hardens in place and holds the drive tight. There is really not much that can be done about this situation. I have occasionally been successful in the past by employing a method I call the "twist and turn" method. In this trick, the disk drive is placed flat on a hard horizontal surface. Next, is is gently twisted on the surface in one direction, followed by a rapid snap twist in the opposite direction. The sudden direction change will sometimes break loose a "stuck" drive, though you must be careful NOT to allow the disk drive to move in ANY directly except directly around its "Z" axis. Sudden motion in other directions can and usually will cause damage to the heads and platter surfaces, rendering portions or all of the drive unreadable.

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-ChrisP

"Getting there is half the fun..."
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-ChrisP

"Getting there is half the fun..."

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