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A report by the Energy Saving Trust shows that the UK uses more electricity for running domestic appliances than any European country. Running a computer is equivalent to having four 100 watt bulbs switched on.

The trust's survey reported the shocking news that only 42% of computer users switch off their computers when they are not being used.

Old computers must now be recycled. Before taking a computer to the recycling centre, the hard disk must be securely wiped or removed and destroyed.

A good general rule: if you will not be using the computer during the next hour, then switch it off. Anything on standby or hibernating uses electricity, so do not use Stand-by or Hibernate. Switch off monitors, printers and scanners when you switch off the computer. Then switch off at the mains. Computer problems can arise as a result of using stand-by and hibernate.

You will save money and the planet by following the above rule.

If you have external electricity cables instead of underground cables you could be vulnerable to a lightning strike if you have not switched off at the mains.

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