Actually, there are cases when it is safe to turn off the computer (after the OS has been properly shut down and all filesystems will not be written again).

However, it's risky to turn on the computer! Like all other electrical instruments, computers and their peripherals tend to break most often right after turning them on - it's about the "running temperature" and "cold start", see? Light bulbs burn most often when the lights are turned on - it's the same thing with computers.

Due to this small risk when turning on the computer, it's often recommended to leave the computer on during long periods of use and only turn it off when you're not around - server machines, of course, should be running continuously. Shutting down for cleaning/hardware installation is the only really good excuse. If you're concerned about power consumption, consult the documentation for power saving instructions (most machines these days support some sort of standby mode).

See also: Is it better to turn off your computer at night, or let it run all the time?

For the electronically challenged, you can make your very own ItIsNotSafeToTurnOffYourComputerShutdownScreen!TM.
Simply open the file c:\windows\logos.sys (replace c:\windows with your actual windows folder, if it is different) with MSPaint (run paint, go into File, then Open, and type in c:\windows\logos.sys). Then use the 'selector tool' to select the T in "turn" (make sure to grab some background with it), copy it (Edit, Copy), and paste (Edit, Paste). Then move it over (left-click on it, hold mouse button, drag) so it looks more or less realistic over the W in "now" (release mouse button). Next, take the "pick color" tool (looks like a dropper) and click anywhere on the dark background. Then switch over to any small brush and remove the remains of the W by simply painting them over. Taking the background with T was for the purpose of you not having to be able to tell where the T ends and the W begins. Now, go to File, and click Save. Then simply shut down your system and, tada!

If anyone remembers which node asked how to explain stuff to stupid users, link it here.




After having this screen on the computer for about 6 months, my family finally noticed it. When I came home I was greeted with the "You broke he computer again!" line.

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