I am downloading two files (data/assets from a CMS) that are ~20 GB. It's been two hours and they are at 3GB and >1GB respectively. I am not going to be able to download these by 5 o'clock. I can't stay here for >10 hours. Should I...

  1. Leave my laptop plugged in over the weekend and allow the download to continue?
  2. Take my laptop home and download them tomorrow?

I am a contract worker and cannot work overtime. I was thinking about doing this off-hours since it's only a download.

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    Just leave your computer at work and lock it – pay Jan 13 '17 at 18:06
  • Ok, good idea. Let me run this by my boss. – kc m Jan 13 '17 at 18:12
  • This is a bit specific but if you really want you can setup the machine to shutdown after so many hours... If you're concerned about power consumption or something like that.. I may as well tell you how, if you press Windows key+R (run box), type 'shutdown -s -t 36000' your computer will shutdown after 10 hours. There's 36,000 seconds in 10 hours... so you can change that value to whatever you like. To cancel that shutdown event, similarly in the run box type 'shutdown -a'. Obviously this assumes you're using Windows. – pay Jan 13 '17 at 18:19
  • For this type of download you should find a tool (e.g. wget) that lets you resume where you left off. Suppose the connection gets interrupted at the 19.99 GB mark. Now, you'd have to start the whole thing over. – Brandin Jan 13 '17 at 19:07
  • @pay: Note that leaving one's computer on while one is not in the office/after going home for the day is strictly prohibited by some companies' security policies. (Probably inspired by the general idea of minimizing fire hazards by minimizing the number of electronic devices left on while unattended.) – O. R. Mapper Jan 13 '17 at 22:09

Should I...

Leave my laptop plugged in over the weekend and allow the download to continue? Take my laptop home and download them tomorrow?

If you cannot lock the laptop securely while it downloads over the weekend, then wait until your next workday to perform the download.

Alternatively, start the download on another work computer (a desktop, a server, etc) that normally stays at work.

This is work, it should be performed during work hours, preferably on work equipment.

  • I agree, but I don't have that many hours in a day. The download will exceed 8 hours. – kc m Jan 13 '17 at 18:18
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    @kcm are you connected via Ethernet not Wi-Fi and you can download in background and do something else in the mean time – Neuromancer Jan 13 '17 at 18:19
  • we aren't a company with a "rooted" (for lack of a better word) dev team. All of our work is done on take-home laptops hooked up to a monitor. I don't think we have a PC in the office. The receptionist might, though, and I may run it past her and my boss. Thank you for the advice. – kc m Jan 13 '17 at 18:31
  • @Neuromancer yes I am connected to ethernet and yes I am downloading in the background – kc m Jan 13 '17 at 18:32

Workplace on-topic: The obvious solution is to ask your manager and accept any solution that implies the computer is in the office and you are not. You can make a good impression by taking the laptop home and downloading there over the weekend which is almost zero work to you.

Technical: If your laptop needs to be locked up, you might lock it in but keep it running and continue the download hoping that the battery lasts long enough. Turn the screen off to safe energy. Maybe stop one download so at least one gets finished.


This depends on company policy and practical considerations.

If you can leave your computer running overnight or over the weekend, great, that's an easy solution. This could create security issues: If you leave your computer logged on, what if another employee, or someone from the cleaning crew, or some other unauthorized person, comes along and uses your computer to access sensitive information or vandalize valuable data?

If security is a problem, is there a locked room where you could leave the computer while it runs? Or a computer that is in a secure place that you could use?

Are you allowed to take a laptop home? If so, you could take it home and let it run overnight there. Presumably you don't have problems with strangers wandering around your house, so security is unlikely to be an issue. A download doesn't normally require you to keep constant watch. You start it going and come back in a few hours to see if it's done. So it's not like you'd be giving up a lot of your personal time.

Is there someone else who can keep an eye on the computer while it runs? Like if there's a day shift and a night shift, can you start the download and then before you leave for the day ask someone else to watch for it to finish, and then shut down your computer? But most IT departments don't have multiple shifts, so this is iffy.

Any way to break the download into pieces, so you can download part today and part tomorrow?

You said your contract doesn't provide for overtime. Can you re-arrange your schedule, like work 10 hours today and 6 hours tomorrow?

In the final analysis, I'd talk to my boss about it and see what he considers an acceptable option.


Install something like Free Download Manager. Tools like this can download several files serially, and there are even configuration items in the software (I've not used this part) to either log you out or shut down the machine when downloading is complete. Set it and forget it.

I have no affiliation with the product whatsoever.

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