I get this question often enough that it’s time for a detailed post. Today, I’m answering Valania’s question:
When you improperly shut down your computer does it harm your computer hardware, or anything else in your computer?
Valania, by “improperly shut down,” I assume you mean pressing the power button instead of clicking Start->Shut Down from Windows. This won’t harm any of your hardware. After all, Windows powers off the PC, too, when you do a “normal” shutdown. Think of it this way: Your computer is made from components similar to those in any other electronic device–like a stereo or TV–and you turn them on and off all the time without any bad effects. However, the data on your hard drive can be damaged by an improper shutdown.
This was a big problem back in the days of Windows 95 and 98. When you restarted after an improper shutdown, the operating system would come up asking you to run scandisk to correct hard disk errors. It’s not as big a problem with Windows XP, but it does happen. If you remove power from the system while data is being written to your hard disk, the data will be incomplete and appear corrupt. Usually, though, a system hang severe enough to warrant pushing the power button is the result of a problem reading or loading a file and your PC won’t suffer any ill effects if you power it down.
Technorati tags: shutdown, system hang, data loss