Green IT: Manually Configuring Power Settings on Windows XP
Locating Power Management Settings
- To configure Power Management on Windows XP click on Start and then Control Panel.
- If you are in Theme View double click on "Performance and Maintenance"
- If you are in Classic View please scroll down.
- Select "Power Options."
Customizing Your Settings
- The Power Options Properties dialog box should now be displayed with the Power Schemes tab selected. On this tab, you can set timeouts for your:
- System Standby
- Portable computer users can specify an alternative power scheme that will take effect when the PC is running on battery power.
The EPA recommends setting computers to enter system standby or hibernate after 15 to 60 minutes of inactivity. To save even more, set monitors to enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes of inactivity. The lower the setting, the more energy you save. The "Turn off hard disks" setting does not save much power, and can be ignored.
If you are not able to select a hibernate timeout, you may need to enable the hibernate feature. To do so, select the Hibernate tab in Power Options Properties, check "Enable hibernation," and click "Apply" or "OK."
End users should always consult with their Local Support Provider or ITA before adjusting the power settings on their computer. Some of the more energy efficient options (i.e., Hibernate or System Standby) may impede management tasks (such as patches or system updates) or can adversely affect system integrity when run with essential software (ISC has documented issues with certain sleep settings and PGP Whole Disk Encryption).
Monitor time out should be enabled with a relatively short interval (5-10 minutes) in lieu of utilizing a screen saver. Not only will this setting drastically reduce energy usage (as much as 70 watts can be saved), but it will significantly prolong the life of many monitors by reducing the amount of time the backlight is lit.
Special information for Remote Desktop Users
Computer users requiring off-hours remote access to their desktops (via Remote Desktop, for instance) should utilize monitor power management features only. Remote access technologies may not be able to remotely "wake" computers from system standby or hibernate mode.
Troubleshooting Sleep Issues
If you find that your PC doesn't go to sleep after the allotted time here are some key items to check:
- Your computer may not enter sleep mode if you have a file open over the network.
- Some software applications may be preventing the computer from sleeping. (Software applications can tell Windows not to sleep.)
- Screen savers can sometimes prevent PCs from entering sleep mode, and should be disabled.
- If System Standby is not available under Power Options, make sure you have the latest video driver from your hardware manufacturer. The default Windows driver may not support System Standby.