Save Power

Save Power

Want to leave your computer on but don’t want to use all that extra electricity? Windows provides an easy way to reduce the power your system consumes when you are not using it. This is especially handy for laptop users.

I think the easiest way to get to these options is to right click an empty space on the desktop and select Properties in the menu that appears. This takes you to the “Display Properties” window. From here click on the “Screen Saver” tab. On the bottom of the window there should be a button labeled “Power”. Click this button and a new window opens up with the header “Power Options Properties”.

The first option tells the computer to turn off the monitor after a set period of inactivity. You can set the time period by clicking the arrow in the drop down box and choosing the time you want from the ones listed. This time should be the shortest of the four options. This way if you leave your computer the monitor will turn off after say, 10 min . and when you return and move the mouse or hit a key it will turn on again. This is a nice option, and I have mine set to 10 min.


The next option allows the computer to turn off the hard drives after a certain period of inactivity. You can set the time in the same way you did for the monitor. Again, after you return the computer will turn everything back on again. Personally I would not use this option because it’s not going to save very much power and will cause a short lag when you come back to your machine. It makes more sense to just put the computer in Standby. Set this option to “Never” to turn it off. If you do want to use this option I would recommend between 30 min. to 1 hour for the inactivity time.

The third option will put the system in a Standby mode designed to use a small amount of power. Set the required inactivity time in the same way as before. If you use this option you will have to press the power button on your computer to “revive it”. It should come back pretty quickly. This is probably the best option because it will save a lot of power while still providing relatively short start up time. I recommend an hour time setting here—if you’re not back to your computer in an hour it’s probably going to be a while. But of course feel free to go with more or less time depending on how you use your computer.

The final option, Hibernation , actually turns the computer off after saving all of your information to the hard drive. The time you set here should be the longest time. When you come back to use the computer again you will have to turn it on and give it a bit of time to turn on and load the information it saved. The advantage this has over shutting down your machine is that your desktop and programs will be restored exactly how you left them, and the startup process is a little faster.

I would not let windows automatically hibernate the computer. The main reason for this is that it can be hard on the power supply to turn off and on all the time (though that’s another issue that is up for debate). The only time I would hibernate my computer is in place of a shutdown which I would do manually using “Shutdown” on the start menu or pressing the “Hibernate” button on the keyboard (if you have one). In the past my computer would freeze when starting back up again if windows hibernated automatically, but never when I did it manually.

You can use any or all of these options. If some of the options are set by default select “Never” in the drop down list to turn them off. After you are finished you can save your power scheme by clicking the “Save as” button in the middle of the window. If you do this give your scheme a name and click OK .


Now if you’re really bored you can wait for the times you set to pass and watch your computer conserve power. Yeah!

~ Kyle Larson

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