Always Connected to Broadband

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

I have Windows 7 Home Premium and use IE 11.

I’ve (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 cable tech support) that I can be truly offline by unplugging the ethernet wire from the back of the cable modem tower, then plugging it back in when I want to go online. Is there any disadvantage to doing that?

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

Lucille in N.J.

Dear Lucille,

It is safe to leave your computer on when you have a security program running, and when you are behind a hardware firewall (usually a router). Most people who get infected with malware have to click on something in order to get infected.

If you want to double check to make sure you are safe, go to and click on the link that says, “Shields Up” and run the security check. Shields Up will test your computer and tell you how secure it is.

Your cable tech support is correct, you can unplug the Ethernet cable (looks like a phone jack, only bigger) and only plug it in when you want to go online. Technically, you are only supposed to plug or unplug the Ethernet cable when your computer is turned off, but I have never had a problem doing so when the computer is running.



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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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