Vista Power Options

Vista Power Options


I don’t have a Laptop, but for some reason (even in XP) Microsoft seem to think we all have one, and accordingly, set our Power Options to match. Follow this easy guide to find out how to set your Desktop PC to some sort of normality.

There are three levels of preset power management in Vista … Balanced, Power Saver and High Performance … You can find further reading in this Microsoft Article. I personally recommend that you actually customise the settings other than relying on any of the presets. None of them is exactly perfect for most systems.

To customise these settings to your own needs, follow these steps.

Open power options by simply typing Power Options in the search bar from the start button. Or, go the long way and, click the Start button / Control Panel / Hardware & Sound / Power Options.


Click the “Create a power plan” in the left pane, I suggest using “High Performance” as the basis for our changes. You can give the plan a name if you wish or just leave the default.


Press Next to continue …


I suggest turning off the display after a set period of inactivity in time. This will have no impact on performance and really, it will not harm your monitor. Something around 15 to 20 mins should be fine.

I do NOT recommend enabling the “Put the computer to sleep” function, I’ll go into more details as we go along, for now, set it to Never.

Now press the Create button …


As you can see, we now have our new power plan ready to further tweak. Now simply click “Change plan settings” to get to the more detailed settings

… are we having fun yet ?


Click “Change advanced power settings” to continue …


Power Management

Now we get to the real nitty-gritty of power management.

Click the small + sign next to each and every setting to fully expand them, change them as suggested below … Note: if you find any settings that you are unable to change, click the “Change settings that are currently unavailable” link, then go back and try again.

I’ll give a brief description and my recommendation … Another Note: Laptop users can go off and put the kettle on, ‘cos the next bit is for Desktop PCs. You should be able to figure out how to set your own preferences from below.

Additional settings
Require a password on wakeup
I don’t use this, my PC never sleeps, it is a little self explanatory … if set, the PC will ask you for a password, if you have a password that is, for the current User Account to unlock the PC
My recommendation is … No

Hard Disk
Turn off hard disk
Simply set this to the number of minutes of inactivity before your hard drive is turned off.
My recommendation is … Never (simply type in never in the box)
In my opinion, it is better for the hard drive to on all the time rather than off /on constantly.

Wireless Adapter Settings
Power Saving Mode
If you do have one of these wireless network adaptors connected to your PC, select the power saving mode.
My recommendation is … select Maximum performance

Sleep After
Forget it, you is a PC, you are not allowed to sleep … OK, as promised, why I think this is a bad idea.

The ‘problem’ with sleep mode is, it can potentially cause the system to become unstable, or at best, give impressions of a little green man from another planet, this is strange behaviour after trying to recover from sleeping … if you are doing some important work, like writing this article, and you go get another cup of coffee, and the PC goes to sleep, then your work is just sitting in memory. Oops, something happened, and I’ve just lost all this work. Oh Bugger. If you are also a gamer or a ‘cruncher’ ;-) you don’t really want your PC going to sleep, do you.
My recommendation is, set it to … NEVER – OFF – NEVER for all three settings

USB selective suspend settings
Oh boy, as if we have don’t have enough problems with USB
My recommendation is … Disable

Power buttons and lid
Power button action
This is quite an important setting. It determines what should happen when you press the power button of the PC.
My strong recommendation is … Shut Down

Under the same main heading above is also …

Sleep button action
Believe it or not, some PCs have a Sleep button on the case … err, we ain’t setting our PC to do any sleeping, are we?
My recommendation is … Do nothing

Under the same main heading above again is …

Start menu power button
This one is great … have you figured out how to shutdown the PC via the Start button yet? Well, now you can as this setting will allow you to shut down by default.
My recommendation is … Shut Down

A little Note here … You can access all the usual power options by clicking the very small white triangle to the far right of the red power button on the Start menu.

PCI Express
Link state power management
I am not even gonna bother explaining this one.
My strong recommendation is … OFF!

Search and Indexing
Power save mode
I love search & indexing on Vista, it really does work.
My recommendation is … High Performance

Turn off display after
You can save a little money here in power costs. If you press the space bar or move your mouse, it will turn on again, monitors don’t mind being off-n-on-n-off-n-on
My recommendation is … 15 - 20 - 30

Under the same main heading above is also …

Adaptive display
This is rather neat … actually, I had to do a little research on what it actually did.

If you enabled the “turn off display after” above, then this little gizmo will monitor how often you wake your monitor with the mouse or keyboard. If it sees you keep waking the monitor up shortly after it powered down, it will extend the time you set originally to take longer to turn off your monitor … I love it.
My recommendation is … On

Multimedia settings
When sharing media
I ain’t too sure on this, I don’t share. ;-)
My recommendation is … Prevent idling to sleep

And there you have it … once finished simply click apply & OK and you are good to go … no reboot needed. There may be more, there may be less, I can only recommend what I found from my own PC running Vista Home Premium and the hardware I have installed.

You can always discuss your ‘options’ over on the PCReview forums … why not join us anyway.
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