Shutting down your PC, instead of just turning off the power, is very important. It is even more important to properly shut down a server.
The reason for this, is that your PC has several files open, even when you do not have any windows open. These are mostly scratch files that the operating system is using. However, files such as the Windows registry, are also open. (The Windows registry is what controls how Windows will work, security, access, etc.)
If you turn the power off, instead of shutting down, then these files are not closed properly. The risk with this is that any of these files that are open, may become corrupt. A corrupt Windows registry, may make your PC unusable. Corrupt data files in Counterpoint may result in lost data (in other words, if the file can’t be repaired, it may have to be restored from a backup, and everything that you have done since the backup will be gone!).
The proper way to shut down a Windows PC, is to click on the "Start" button. What you do after that will differ, depending on how Windows is setup on your PC. You may have the option to shutdown on the pop-up menu. If you do, obviously that is what you select. If you do not, then select the "logoff" option, and you will have the option to shutdown there.
If you have an SCO UNIX system, you will need to log in as "root". Once you are logged in as "root" (you will get a "#" prompt), type in "shutdown -y -g0", and the shutdown will start. If you want to delay the shutdown, to give people time to log off, the "-g" option is the "grace period (in minutes)". So, for example, if you wanted to allow five minutes for people to log off, "shutdown -y -g5" would be the appropriate command. The "-y" option is simply a "yes I want to shutdown" confirmation. Otherwise UNIX will confirm that you really want to shut down.
I hope that this clears up any questions you have on the proper way to shut down your computers. If you still have any questions, or if there is anything else that I can help you with, please call the office.