Moving From Dial-Up to Broadband

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

I have Windows 7 Home Premium and use IE 11.

I’ve just (finally!) gone from dial-up to high-speed (cable company broadband). I’m loving it, but I’m also having to get used to new ways of doing things. And therein lie my questions:

With dial-up, I would leave my computer turned on all day; I’d start it up in the morning, shut it down at night (or if we were going out). With broadband, I know that the computer being on now means that I’m connected to the Internet all the time. Keeping in mind that I have a full, always-updated security program in place (firewall and scanning always on), can I still leave the computer on all day? Or should I shut it down whenever I’m not using it, then start it up again later?

Also, I was told (by the cable installer) that I can use the computer and be truly offline by unplugging the Ethernet wire, then plugging it back in when I want to go online. Is there any disadvantage to that?

You are truly our maven and appreciated more than you know. Thank you for all you do.

Lucille in N.J.

Dear Lucille,

I agree that it is quite an adjustment to go from connecting and disconnecting to the internet when we want to being always connected. Many programs however, work much better when you are always connected. As long as you have good security software and are behind a firewall (your router serves as a firewall) you should be quite secure. That doesn’t mean that no one can ever get into your computer, but they would probably have to trick you into giving them access first.

As far as unplugging the Ethernet cable, there really is no disadvantage. An Ethernet port is not technically “hot swappable” which means that you can plug it in while the computer is on, like a USB connection is, but I have never had any problems doing so with the computers on my workbench.

If it gives you peace of mind to unplug the Ethernet cable when you don’t want to be connected to the internet, then go ahead and do so.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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