Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Laptop Power Plan Settings And You*

Yesterday it came to my attention, in a rather distressing way, that my laptop’s battery had gotten too low –> my screen went black and the fan stopped. I looked at my power button and the blue LED was not lit. In a word, my laptop was “off”. (Or, dead.)

My first thought was “*Cripe!* What happened?! What button did I press!?!”.. as I had been happily typing away mere milliseconds ago. Chatting on IM, I confess.

After my initial panic, and my heart started beating again, I pressed the power button and nothing happened — which I know is an indicator that the battery does not hold enough charge for a safe boot up… (or, laptop is dead) and I realized that I had been running on battery for longer than I had thought.
So I took my laptop and plugged it in to the wall outlet.

The blue power LED came on, and Windows tried to load, and then gave me the white-text-on-black-screen “Windows did not shut down properly. Select a …”
I told it to “Start Normally” (the default), and luckily it did so. Computers don’t like sudden power interruptions, and sometimes such events can corrupt Windows beyond simple repair. Which is “bad”.

See, I had been operating under a misconception: I thought my laptop would warn me when my battery was getting low.. and I thought that if I let it get too low, it would automatically do a shutdown process – that it was programmed to do so.
Because sudden “off” is bad.
(And suddenly disappearing from a chat is rude.)

Well, yes, Windows laptops are supposed to. But I was using a “Power Plan” option that – to me, “must have” – setting was not enabled. Here’s how I turned it on again: Advanced Power Plan Settings.

1) Double-click the battery icon (down by the clock) or press Windows key+X to open the Mobility Center and double-click the battery icon (see, Travelers’ Tips for Maximum Laptop Battery Life).

2) click “More power options”.


3) click “Change advanced power settings”.


4) Scroll down until you see “Battery” and click the little “+” sign.

5) Click the little “+” sign next to “Critical battery action”
This is what you want your laptop to do when your battery becomes “critically” low.. and sudden off is imminent.

6) Locate the “On battery” option. Click on “do nothing”, and change it to “Shut down” – then click Apply.
Then “OK” your way out of those windows. You are done. Now your laptop will do a nice, safe, proper shutdown when your battery gets too low.. instead of the sudden black of a dangerous “off”.

Note: by default you have three “power plans”. I happened to be in “ultra-turbo full speed ahead” mode (aka “High performance”) so I needed to modify that one, but it pays to check all three!

That was drama I could have done without…

* Orig post: 9/11/2010


Today’s quote:
Where you find quality, you will find a craftsman, not a quality-control expert.” ~ Robert Brault

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

Share this post :

September 6, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments