Windows 7 Power Management Options

December 8, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Whether you’re using a desktop PC or running a laptop, netbook or tablet on the battery, managing your power options is vital for saving money and achieving green computing.

Windows 7 power options allow you to setup your own power plans, affect the behaviour of your computer when idle, determine alternate settings for the power button and apply a password when the computer awakens.

Regardless of whether you have concerns about the efficiency of your computer, these options are useful as well as green, and can help you to make the best use of your system.

Get started with Windows 7 power options by going to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options.

Set Power options in Windows 7

Selecting and Creating Power Plans

Your first option when opening Power Options is to Select a power plan. This might be the Balanced plan or the Power saver plan – depending upon your device type, one of these will be marked as recommended.

Plan settings can be changed via the Change Plan settings link or Choose when to turn off the display; two drop-down menus allow you to Turn off the display and Put the computer to sleep after a certain period, while Change advanced power settings lets you alter the way your computer assigns power to USB devices, video playback and more.

The advanced power options allows you to choose between three profiles, however various elements of these can be changed, such as altering the interval between your computer being idle and the hard disk being powered down. If you make changes that you wish to undo, you can Restore plan defaults to get your power options back to the factory defaults.

You can also Create a power plan by selecting the option on the Power Options screen and choosing one of the existing power profiles as a starting point. You then give your power plan a name and click Next. Once this has been setup, you can make advanced changes as explained above.

Power Buttons

Meanwhile you can change the behaviour of the power button on your PC or laptop. This is done via Choose what the power buttons do, and allows you to set actions for the power and sleep buttons on your PC or keyboard.

With the power button you have the option of:

  • Do nothing
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate
  • Shut down

With the sleep button you can:

  • Do nothing
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate

Note that sleep and hibernate are the default options on desktops and laptops. The Hibernate option stores all running files in memory on to the computer’s hard drive so that they can be quickly relaunched, a particularly useful option for laptops.

Sleep Securely

In addition to the power button options, you can also setup a password for your PC or laptop that requires inputting when the device is awakened.

This setting is also available via Choose what the power buttons do, and requires you to unlock the option first by clicking Change settings that are currently unavailable. From here click the Create or change your user account password link in order to access you Windows 7 user account and Change your password.

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