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Managing Power Options (Windows 7 and Vista)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq notebook computers with Windows 7 and Vista.
This document describes computer power management modes. Computers can support many different options, connections, and configurations which can result in different power management options being available. The power management options available on your computer might be slightly different than those shown in this document.

Using Start menu options to change the power state in Windows 7 or Vista

By default, when using the hardware Power button or selecting a power state option from the Start menu, Windows saves your current work session in memory and puts your computer in a low-power state so you can quickly resume your work.
Figure 1: Start menu options
 Start menu options
The following table describes each power-state option and its function:
NameDescription
Shut downUse Shut down only when you want to turn off the power to the computer or do not plan to use it for several days.
Switch userLogs off the current user and allows for a quick login to a different Windows account.
Log offLogs the current user out of Windows.
Lock Protects the computer when you leave for a short time. When locked, Windows displays the Welcome screen. Type your password to unlock the computer.
RestartCloses Windows, shuts down, and restarts the computer.
SleepKeeps the current session in memory and puts the computer in a low-power state so you can quickly resume working.

If your computer appears to be powered off, sleep mode may be activated.

To restore your computer, drag a finger across the touchpad or press the computer Power button.
HibernateSaves your session. When you turn on the computer, Windows restores the session.

If your computer appears to be powered off, hibernate mode may be activated.

To restore your computer, drag a finger across the touchpad or press the computer Power button.

Windows power plans

A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that manage how your computer uses power. You can use power plans to reduce the amount of power your computer uses, maximize performance, or balance the two.
Windows provides the following default plans to help you manage your power usage:
Power PlanDescription
Balanced (recommended)Automatically balances performance with energy consumption.
Power saverSaves power by reducing system performance.
High performanceMaximizes system performance and responsiveness.

Selecting a power plan in Windows 7 or Vista

To select a power plan, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
    Figure 2: Power Options
    Power Options
  3. In the Select a power plan window, select the power plan you wish to use.
    NOTE:Some computers might have custom plans, such as Energy Star, that also display in this window.
    Figure 3: Selecting a power plan
    Selecting a power plan
  4. Close the Select a power plan window.

Changing a power plan in Windows 7 or Vista

You can change specific settings in any of the power plans. To change power plan settings, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
  3. Click Change plan settings next to the plan that you want to change.
    Figure 4: Changing the plan settings
    Changing  the plan settings
  4. On the Change settings for the plan window, choose the display and sleep settings that you want to use.
  5. To change more power settings, click Change advanced power settings .
    Figure 5: Changing the display and sleep settings
    Changing the display and sleep settings
  6. On the Advanced settings tab, expand the category that you want to customize, expand each setting that you want to change, and then choose the values that you want to use.
    Figure 6: Changing the Advanced settings
    Changing the Advanced settings
  7. When done, click OK , and then click Save changes .

Creating your own power plan in Windows 7 or Vista

You can create your own plan according to the performance you need from your computer. For example, to use your computer for watching movies, you might create a High Performance power plan named Movies, then switch to that plan when desired. Follow the steps below to create your own power plan.
  1. Click Start , click Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
  3. In the left pane, click Create a power plan .
    Figure 7: Create a power plan option
    Create a power plan option
  4. On the Create a power plan window, select a plan that has features you wish to use in the power plan you are creating, enter a name for the new plan in the Plan name box, and then click Next .
    Figure 8: Creating a power plan
    Creating a power plan
  5. Select the sleep and display settings you wish to apply and then click Create . The new plan displays in the Select a power plan window.
    Figure 9: New power plan name displays
    New power plan name displays
  6. Close the Select a power plan window.

Changing the settings for power-save modes

Windows has several power-save modes. This section describes how to change the settings for the following modes:
  • Sleep mode: By default, when you press the Power button, Windows goes into sleep mode. This saves the current work session in memory and puts the computer in a low-power state so you can quickly resume your work when you return to the computer.
  • Hybrid sleep mode: Hybrid sleep is a low-power sleep state that helps protect open programs and documents while the computer is in a low-power state. In hybrid sleep, Windows saves open documents and programs to memory and to the hard disk.
  • Hibernate mode: Hibernation is a power-saving state that saves open documents and programs to the hard disk and then turns off the computer. When you are ready to use the computer again, it quickly comes out of hibernation and restores the open programs and documents that were saved. Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power.
  • Away mode: Away Mode allows the computer to continue to perform tasks such as recording scheduled TV programs or sharing video and music, but appears turned off.
To learn more about changing the settings for a power-save mode, click the plus sign (+) next to the corresponding procedure below.
To change sleep mode settings, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
  3. In the Select a power plan window, click Change plan settings next to the plan that you wish to change.
  4. To change the display and sleep settings (for battery and plugged in), click the down arrow and select a new time setting.
    Figure 10: Sleep settings
    Sleep settings
  5. Click Save changes .
To enable Hybrid sleep, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
  3. In the Select a power plan window, click Change plan settings next to the plan that you wish to change.
  4. In the Change settings for the plan window, click Change advanced power settings .
  5. Click the plus sign (+ ) next to Sleep to expand the list, and then click the plus sign (+ ) next to Allow hybrid sleep .
  6. Depending on whether you wish to allow hybrid sleep when the computer is running on battery or plugged in, or both, select On in the On battery or Plugged in drop-down boxes.
    Figure 11: Enabling hybrid sleep
    Enabling hybrid sleep
  7. Click OK , and then click Save changes .
To automatically put the computer into Hibernate mode, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
  3. In the Select a power plan window, click Change plan settings next to the plan that you wish to change.
  4. In the Change settings for the plan window, click Change advanced power settings .
  5. To change how much time passes before Windows goes into Hibernation, click the plus sign (+ ) next to Sleep to expand the list. Then click the plus sign (+ ) next to Hibernate after .
  6. Depending on whether you wish to use hibernate mode when the computer is on battery or plugged in, or both, select the idle time before the computer goes into Hibernate mode in the On battery or Plugged in drop-down boxes.
    Figure 12: Enabling Hibernate mode
    Enabling Hibernate mode screen
  7. Click OK , and then click Save changes . The computer hibernates after it has been idle for the specified amount of time.
When the computer is in Away mode, the following occurs:
  • The computer can still perform tasks such as recording scheduled TV programs or stream video and music files to a remote location.
  • The display is turned off.
  • The audio is muted.
  • The computer is operational but in a reduced-power setting.
  • The computer fan runs.
  • The desktop displays almost instantly when you press the Sleep button on the remote control.
To enable Away mode, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
  3. In the Select a power plan window, click Change plan settings next to the plan that you wish to change.
  4. In the Change settings for the plan window, click Change advanced power settings .
  5. Click the plus sign (+ ) next to Multimedia settings to expand the list.
  6. Click the plus sign (+ ) next to When sharing media .
  7. Depending on whether you wish to use Away mode when the computer is on battery or plugged in, or both, select Allow the computer to enter Away Mode in the On battery or Plugged in drop-down boxes.
    NOTE:If Allow the computer to enter Away Mode is not available, your computer does not support this feature.
    Figure 13: Enabling Away mode
    Enabling Away mode
  8. Click Apply , click OK , and then click Save changes .
    Windows automatically goes into Away Mode when sharing media files.

Changing power button, sleep button, and lid settings in Windows 7 or Vista

You can save power by specifying what the computer does when you close the lid or when you press the power button or sleep button.
  • Depending on the setting you specify, pressing the power button causes the computer to do one of the following: Do nothing, Sleep, Hibernate, or Shut down.
  • Depending on the setting you specify, pressing the sleep button causes the computer to do one of the following: Do nothing, Sleep, or Hibernate.
  • Depending on the setting you specify, closing the lid causes the computer to do one of the following: Do nothing, Sleep, Hibernate, or Shut down.
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Hardware and Sound .
  2. Click Power Options .
  3. In the left pane, click Choose what the power buttons do or Choose what closing the lid does .
    Figure 14: Power button and closing the lid options
    Power button and closing the lid options
  4. To change settings for the power and sleep buttons, click the arrow next to When I press the power button or When I press the sleep button , select the setting you wish to use, and then click Save changes .
    Figure 15: Changing power and sleep button settings
    Changing power and sleep button settings
  5. To change the lid closure setting, click When I close the lid , select the setting you wish to use, and then click Save changes .
    Figure 16: Changing lid closure settings
    Changing lid closure settings

Using the Power troubleshooter to fix problems in Windows 7 or Vista

The Windows Power troubleshooter can be used to automatically adjust the computer power timeout settings.
To run the Power troubleshooter, complete these steps:
  1. Click Start , type troubleshooting in the search field, and then select Troubleshooting from the results list.
    Figure 17: Troubleshooting option
    Troubleshooting option
  2. In the Troubleshoot computer problems window, select Improve power usage under System and Security .
    Figure 18: Troubleshoot computer problems
    Troubleshoot computer problems
  3. Click Next in the Power window. The Power troubleshooter starts detecting issues.
    Figure 19: Detecting issues screen
    Detecting issues screen
  4. When the detection process is complete, a list of fixed issues displays. You can click Close the troubleshooter or click Explore additional options if a problem still exists.
    Figure 20: List of issues
    List of issues
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