Tech – for Everyone

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

Sleepy Laptop*

My mail is telling me it is time to repost an article..

Reader Asks How To Adjust Sleep Mode

Q: My laptop goes to sleep too soon. How do I give myself more time?

A: You can quite easily adjust the length of the “inactivity” time allowed before your computer goes into a power savings mode, such as “sleep”. For those of you really concerned with power savings, you can make it kick in after 5 minutes of idle time – and power users can turn it off completely (It will still be available from the Start >Shut Down menu).

Vista and Windows 7 users will find the settings by clicking Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options

In XP it is Control Panel > Power Options.

powrplan

Here you can quickly choose from one of three power policies, (aka “power plan”) to fit your current usage — Balanced, Power Saver, and High Performance. In the picture above, I am plugged into the wall and I want every ounce of performance. When it is time to go mobile and I will be running on my battery, I want to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles, conserve battery, and stretch my time between recharging’s to the maximum, so I will click on middle radio button.
(Vista/Win7: A quick way to do this to launch the Mobility Center by pressing the Windows key + X)

To set my own times, I click on the “Change plan settings” link under the “Power plan” (Or, “Change when the computer sleeps” link in the left column).

powrplan2

Use the drop down arrows to select the length of time your machine is idle before the power is cut to your monitor, and when it general goes into the power-saving sleep mode. I have set a fairly typical policy here, but my advice for the reader who asked the question was leave the setting for the monitor (screen) to a short time, but extend the sleep time to an hour.. or longer.

[note: by using the “Change plan settings” link, I get a window that allows me to set different times for when I am plugged into an outlet and when I am on battery.]

Today’s free link: a good way to tell if your machine has picked up some malware – or some has slipped by your onboard AV – is a visit to Panda’s Infected or Not website and get a free scan.

* Orig post: October 16, 2007

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 22, 2010 Posted by | computers, how to, Microsoft, mobile, PC, Portable Computing, tech, troubleshooting, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What is the difference between hibernation and sleep modes?

What is the difference between “hibernation” and “sleep”? Both are power-saving states designed to achieve a compromise betweenimages fully-powered (”on”) and total shutdown. Without these low-power states (Stand By, Sleep, and Hibernate), you would have to go through the whole Windows’ boot process each morning. Although Vista has a shorter boot than previous versions, it still takes longer than most of us would like to wait — we are prone to desire ”instant gratification” these days — and so we use Stand By, Sleep, or Hibernate.

I wrote an article on power states and how to make adjustments to when they kick in, and use the Power Options control panel. To read (or review) this article, click this link, More reader questions answered: power states. Today I want to answer the title’s question, and tell you how to enable Hibernation as a power-saving option if it is not already a part of your Power Options control panel.

To begin with, Hibernation is a deeper “off state” than Sleep (or Stand By, as it’s sometimes called), and thus offers greater power savings at the cost of a longer rebooting time. It is considered a “safer” state, in terms of data. This is because, unlike Sleep mode, Hibernation not only shuts down the power to peripherals (monitor, etc.) and hard drives, but also turns off the power to the RAM memory chips.

When you remove the power to RAM, any data there is “lost”, forgotten, gone — whatever unsaved document, open window, and such as that.
Hibernation “writes” (Saves) all the 1’s and 0’s that are in RAM to a reference file (on your hard drive) before un-powering RAM, and it “reads” this file and reloads the data into RAM when you come out of Hibernation, thus restoring you to where you ended your last ’session’.
(This “reading” and loading is why it takes longer to “wake” than coming out of Sleep.)

Sleep/Stand By mode retains the power to your RAM. There is no saving of RAM contents to a file and there’s no need ‘load’ it — and thus it’s faster.. with less power savings. If there was a power interruption, for some reason, while in this state (and you don’t have a UPS), then your unsaved RAM contents would be gone.

Laptop computers typically come with the Hibernation power-settings option enabled and desktops don’t. If you would like to add the Hibernation option to your desktop, or if for some reason (such as a sneaky Windows Update) your Hibernation option has disappeared and you would like it back, here’s how to restore it: open a command prompt (Start >Programs >Accessories >Command Prompt) and type in “powercfg -h on” (no quotes) and hit Enter. That’s it. Now you will find Hibernation settings in the Power Options area of your Control Panel.

* If instead you would like to remove the Hibernation mode, and disable it from your automatic power-saving settings, the command is “powercfg -h off” (no quotes).

Today’s free download: for those of you who like digital music, the Nexus Radio download is for you. This offers you not only 6000+ Internet radio stations you can listen to, but the ability to record directly to your hard drive.

* this post first appeared 11/7/07

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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April 7, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

More reader questions answered: power states

Well I survived my travels, and now am safely ensconced back in Tech–for Everyone Headquarters. Today I will answer some reader questions in the hopefully familiar Q’s and their A’s format.

Q: I plugged my media player into a USB overnight, and in the morning the battery was only half charged. This is a new player. What gives?
A: Media players that recharge their batteries via attachment to a USB port are taking advantage of the fact that USB is a powered bus which supplies 5 volts. For a device, such as a media player, to receive the voltage, it must be 1) plugged in, 2) the computer must be plugged in and 3) the computer must be on. Here is where this reader’s problem lies. Windows has four basic power states; working, sleep, soft off, and full off… and subsets of the “sleep” state, such as “hibernation”.
For the reason of power savings, and to reduce power consumption and increase battery life, a PC is put into one of the latter three states either deliberately, or after a certain (adjustable) period of inactivity. These reduced power states shut off power to your monitor, your hard drive, and (you guessed it) your peripherals by powering down the buses they’re attached to.
The reader had attached their media player to a laptop and put the machine into hibernation mode… and not touched it for several hours (inactivity)– a very “deep” power savings. This practically completely shuts down the USB bus. And so, no charging will occur.
But, some charging did occur. Why? Because the whole purpose of choosing a powered-down state, such as “sleep”, instead of completely turning off the machine, is to have a faster “warm up” when you are ready to start working again. This is done by avoiding as much of the boot process as possible: some memory chips retain power to keep the O/S ‘alive’ and aware of current settings, and the operating system maintains an “awareness” of the attached devices. The awareness of which devices are attached is done by maintaining a very low bus voltage (about half a volt). In this reader’s case, enough of a voltage to charge his player somewhat… an indicator that his battery is indeed new, and indicates that it would fully charge quite quickly during a fully powered (active) state.

Q: My laptop goes to sleep too soon. How do I give myself more time?
A: You can adjust the length of the “inactivity” time allowed before your machine goes into a power savings mode quite easily. For those of you really concerned with power savings, you can make it kick in after 5 minutes; and for you power users, you can turn it off completely (It will still be available from the Start >Shut Down menu).
Vista users will find the settings by clicking Start >Control Panel >Hardware and Sound >Power Options (in XP it’s Control Panel >Power Options), as shown below.
ps.jpg

Here you can quickly choose from one of three power policies, to fit the current usage you are using. In the picture above, I am plugged into the wall and I want every ounce of performance. When it is time to go mobile and I will be running on my battery, I want to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles and stretch my time between rechargings to the maximum, I will click on middle radio button.

To set my own times, I click on the “Change when the computer sleeps” link in the left column.
ps2.jpg
Use the drop down arrows to select the length of time your machine is idle before the power is cut to your monitor, and when it general goes into the power-saving sleep mode. I have set a fairly typical policy here, but my advice for the reader who asked the question was leave the setting for the monitor (screen) to a short time, but extend the sleep time to an hour.. or longer.

Today’s free link:a quick way to tell if your machine has picked up some malware is a visit to Panda’s Infected or Not website and get a free scan.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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October 16, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , | 2 Comments