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It's fine to turn off your router when gone, and equally fine to leave it on. There are advantages to both.

I'm running Windows 7 with Windows Live Mail. My question is whether I should disconnect my wired router while away for two months. Should I leave the internet connected via the router or just leave the broadband modem connected?

In this excerpt from Answercast #93 I look at safety and access issues involved in turning a router off, or leaving it on, while on vacation.

Turn off router when gone

Well, it depends, really, on only one thing.

If there is ever any reason that you might want to access those computers remotely while you are away, or have someone use those computers and the internet, then you'll want to leave everything connected.

Otherwise, if I'm going to go away for two months and I don't see a reason for the computer to actually be running - I'd turn everything off. I'd turn the computers off, turn the router off, turn the modem off - there's just no reason for them to be sucking up power for two months when I know that I'm not going to be using them.

Remote access

But, in my case, regardless of where I travel, regardless of what I do, I'm likely to want to use one of my computers back home. I use remote access; I use a number of other things so I actually leave everything running all the time whether I'm at home or not.

It's fine to leave it running as long as your network is set up safely. That means you've got anti-malware software in place, you've got a firewall in place (which if you've got a router you do); it means you've got all of the appropriate security in place for your machines and your network.

It's fine either way

I actually don't see any problem leaving everything running while you're away if you think you might have need for it while you're away. Then, the nice thing is that things like Windows Update will continue to happen, and it's not something you'll then have to deal with the moment you come home.

But really, bottom line, it's kind of up to you.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Next from Answercast 93- How do I save Yahoo email files to DVD?

Article C6305 - February 11, 2013 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

February 11, 2013 7:57 PM

If you do decide to power-down your equipment when you leave for an extended period, I'd also take the extra precaution of unplugging everything too. Both power and DSL or Cable connections. I've had client's and my own equipment damaged during electrical storms even when connected to expensive surge suppressors.

If it's not not going to be powered on anyway, why risk it?

Alex Dow
February 12, 2013 12:20 PM

And Smoke Detectors etc may be of use, as well as Surge Suppressors etc.

February 12, 2013 5:53 PM

Most surge protectors clearly state that they do not protect against lightning strikes, nothing can, except unplugging every connection. Not just turning off a power strip switch

Albert G
February 13, 2013 1:38 AM

Another consideration - if you have security cameras, DVRs etc that use an IP interface, having your router on is a must to view your system from far away.

Dean J.
February 13, 2013 6:56 AM

I spend weeks out of town during the year. Nothing has ever been compromised. Make sure you are not using dial-up and are using a router. AND NOT USING ANY NORTON PRODUCT. Find anything else.
Avast is free and will protect your system. I have 5 computers in my house running avast and never have had a problem. I will try any link to test the software for viability.

Dean J.
February 13, 2013 6:59 AM

OH I failed to mention.... I use the mentioned software to save the 50 at the office...we are all safe.!

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