Vista contains many changes and new features over the earlier version of Windows XP. But, most importantly, it comes with a whole slew of new energy saving features. So, what do you say we take a look and see what we’ve got? Let’s go!

What it Means in Plain English

With Windows Vista, Microsoft planned to put their machines to “sleep” after an hour of inactivity. While businesses and consumers can change that setting, computers can nod off on their own if pre-set. Microsoft estimates that allowing a PC to go to sleep during off hours, as compared to leaving it on all the time, saves anywhere from $55 to $70 a year, depending on the type of monitor you use. Wow!

On the other hand, with Windows XP, programs could veto a user’s request for the PC to go to sleep. In some cases, laptop owners thought they had put their computer to sleep, only to discover a few hours later that the machine had remained on and the battery had been drained. By adding the new sleep option, you can wake up your computer to install security updates, while letting it remain in the power-saving mode the rest of the time.

Also in Vista, you can enforce the power management settings through the group policy tool. All that snoozing time could pay off environmentally as well. By putting six PCs to sleep, rather than leaving them on all the time, you can save the same amount of carbon emissions that would otherwise require an acre of trees to absorb. Only about 10 percent of computers today have power management features enabled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Power Saving Features

The Windows Vista operating system features significant changes to power management infrastructure, functionality and default settings. Those changes impact how PCs running Microsoft Windows consume energy.

How to Take Advantage

Keeping with the theme of making your computer more energy efficient, those of you who are running Windows Vista can take advantage of many of the new power saving features that were implemented. For starters, you can get a software engineer to download a piece of white paper from the Microsoft Web site here so that they can configure Windows Vista platforms for maximum energy efficiency. The techniques on the paper may be used to help extend mobile PC battery life and reduce energy operation expenses for desktop and server PCs. The paper also explains how to evaluate system energy efficiency and it demonstrates example power policy settings to favor power savings and performance. Here’s to saving yourself some energy!

~ Zahid H. Javali