Windows Power Options

One of my loyal readers Ian McMillan suggested that perhaps I should focus an article on the power options available in Windows as the most people won’t get any further than using the ‘shut down’ option when they have finished using their machine and there are some potentially more useful options available to users of Windows 2000 & XP that may suit your needs better.

I should start by saying that whilst I doubt many of you are just disconnecting power from the machine in order to shut it down, those of you who are should stop immediately as damage can be caused to the Operating System or files lost if the machine is not allowed to shut itself down properly.

The options ‘shut down’ and ‘restart’ should be fairly obvious to most people – Both shut down all Windows programs and wrap up the Operating System to a state where it is ready to be closed down.At this point, if you had selected ‘shut down’ the power will then be cut from the machine but if ‘restart’ was selected then the computer will then soft reboot and begin to load Windows again.

Other options available include:

-Standby mode: This power option turns off all power consuming components of your machine; the display is turned off, the hard disks spin down and what little power it does use is for preserving the contents of the memory (RAM) so that when you wake the computer from standby you lose no data.This option is more useful for those with laptop computers who don’t require their machine for a short period but don’t want to go to the trouble of completely shutting down the machine.It can also be useful for those with desktop computers who want to minimise the amount of power their computers are using whilst they are away from their machine.

-Hibernate mode: The ‘hibernate’ mode is one of the most useful power options for most users whether they have a laptop or desktop machine.When you choose to hibernate, the contents of RAM are saved onto the hard drive and the machine is shut down as normal so that it is using no power whatsoever.When you then choose to restart the PC the data saved to the hard disk is loaded back into the RAM so that the machine effectively continues operating from the exact point that you left it.

This feature means that you can choose to hibernate with a number of applications and documents open, leave the machine off for however long you require and then resume from the exact point that you left it.Laptop users will be able to set it so that their machines hibernate automatically when they close the lid on their machines which can be extremely useful and timesaving.

-Log off: If you have multiple user profiles set up on your machine then this function will return the computer to the user selection screen so that when you have finished using your profile you can close it down and prepare the machine for someone else to make use of it.

-Lock: This mode is useful if you are leaving your machine unattended for just a few minutes a populated surrounding and don’t want anybody to have access whilst you are away.You will be required to enter a password in order to resume using the machine.

Ian also pointed out a useful free utility ‘PowerClick’ which can be downloaded which can start up with Windows and then sit in the taskbar and provide instant access to all these power saving options.

Give the ‘hibernation’ feature a try rather than always using the option to completely turn off your machine and you may be surprised by how much time you can potentially save waiting for your machine to start and all your programs and documents to load into memory every day!

About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.