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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

CIS Computer shutdown policy

CIS recommend that all PC's (including the monitors) should be powered off when not in use. The benefits of doing this include:

  • Security - if a machine is switched off it cannot be infected with viruses or be hacked.
  • Power saving - a switched off machine will use very little power - saving energy, money and the environment. By taking the additional step of switching off the power at the socket, you can reduce power usage to zero.
  • Updates - CIS provide regular updates and the majority are applied when you start your machine up. Regularly shutting down your machine means you will be ensuring that it is fully up to date.

Unless there is a good reason to leave your computer on (i.e. you need to leave processes to run over night) we strongly recommend that all PC's are completely shut down every evening.

Automatic Shutdown Scheme

CIS provides a technical solution to automatically shut down Managed Desktop machines: with options to cover a nightly and weekly shutdown, and in order to support the University's Environmental Sustainability and Energy policies unless you tell us otherwise, you computer will automatically shut down at a specified time every evening. If you request to opt-out of the shutdown, you will need to tell us why.

How it works

This is really to capture forgotten machines: it is recommended that users shut down their machines manually to ensure all data is saved and maximise savings.

  • It commences automatically at 19:00 every evening
  • If you need to do one-off overnight jobs, there is an option to manually exclude your machine from shutdown via the Start menu (All Programs, CIS Utilities, Exclude from shutdown) this can be run two nights in a row after that you will need to let your machine shutdown.
  • There is a 10-minute countdown (from 19:00) to allow anyone who is logged on to save their work, or abort the shutdown via the Start menu (All Programs, CIS Utilities, Abort shutdown). You will need to save your work before the shutdown starts otherwise you will lose it.
  • Any machine can be switched on again after it has been shut down, if required
  • The process is repeated Saturday and Sunday evenings to maximise savings.
  • Exceptions can be added by request although justification will need to be provided
  • Please note MDS laptops will not shutdown if in use away from your office.

If takes more than 5 minutes to power up your machine when you switch it on again in the morning, please contact the IT Service Desk in the first instance.

Small changes to make a big difference

A number of computers were left on or on stand-by overnight simply because we forget to turn them off and in an institution of this size, the impact is considerable. By implementing this, a considerable difference has been made: the University has set a carbon reduction target of 30% against our 08/09 baseline, over a 5 year period and we need to start taking action now. Whilst the benefits are both environmental and financial there is also a potential impact on our HEFCE funding if we fail to take appropriate action and make reductions.

Based on figures provided by Estates and Buildings - if 2000 machines shut down every evening, aside from the energy saved, we could save over £35,000 across the course of a year on fuel bills!

Opting out of the nightly shutdown

If you would like to request to opt out of the nightly shutdown on a longer term basis and the manual opt-out option is not suitable, please complete the form which you will find in the links on the left hand side of this page.