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How to Make Your PC Wake From Sleep Automatically

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When you put your PC into sleep mode, it normally waits until you press a button before it wakes from sleep – but you can have your PC automatically wake from sleep at a specific time.

This can be particularly useful if you want your PC to wake and perform downloads in off-peak hours or start other actions before you wake up in the morning — without running all night.

Setting a Wake Time

To have the computer automatically wake up, we’ll create a scheduled task. To do so, open the Task Scheduler by typing Task Scheduler into the Start menu and pressing Enter.

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In the Task Scheduler window, click the Create Task link to create a new task.

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Name the task something like “Wake From Sleep.” You may also want to tell it to run whether a user is logged on or not and set it to run with highest privileges.

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On the Triggers tab, create a new trigger that runs the task at your desired time. This can be a repeating schedule or a single time.

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On the conditions tab, enable the Wake the computer to run this task option.

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On the actions tab, you must specify at least one action for the task – for example, you could have the task launch a file-downloading program. If you want to wake the system without running a program, you can tell the task to run cmd.exe with the /c “exit” arguments – this will launch a Command Prompt window and immediately close it, effectively doing nothing.

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Save your new task after configuring it.

Putting The Computer to Sleep

Put the computer to sleep using the Sleep option instead of shutting it down. The computer won’t wake up if it’s not in sleep mode. You can also change Windows’ power saving options to have the PC automatically sleep after it hasn’t been used for a while or when you press specific buttons.

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You can also create a scheduled task that puts the PC to sleep. See: Make Your PC Shut Down at Night (But Only When You’re Not Using It)


Wake On LANis another method you can use to wake computers – wake on LAN works over the network.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 07/15/12

Comments (11)

  1. Litbea

    It’s a great idea! I’ve using the BIOS wake-up option for a while to start the office computer some minutes before arriving, so it can downloads all emails, open last browsing session and be ready to work.
    The problem is that there aren’t many motherboards with this feature, so I’ll write this down for that occasions.

  2. dragonbite

    This would be awesome at work if I had a desktop that was sitting there all night. Set it up to resume a few minutes before I am supposed to be there and have it up and running for me when I get in!

  3. x3geek

    i think problem is that windows wakes comp up to run the task and after 2 minutes checks if task is complete then puts computer back to sleep

  4. Robert R.

    I am using Micosoft Explore Essentials as my anti-virus software and I seem to be having a problom downloading an update for Adobe Flash Player. I think it because Essentials is blocking the download, but when I go into Essentials, I don’t see anywhwhere on the site where it allows me to temporarily close essentials to download Flash Player. How do I disable Essentials temporarily while I complete the download? Thanks

  5. MaximusFubaris

    I use Dennis Babkins “Wake from Sleep” and “TOff” programs. They have beeen working good for me for a while now.

  6. onedeafeye

    I’ve used this for years – my computer is my alarm clock. I use 1by1 for my .mp3 player. When I put the computer to sleep I leave 1by1 playing, and when the computer wakes up 1by1 picks up playing right where it left off. I have a different song every day. That may solve x3geek’s situation as well.

  7. Lee Frederickscii

    My computer wakes up automatically from sleep, I haven’t scheduled any tasks. The wake-up time is not all that precise, but around a certain hour. How can know what is causing this in the Event Viewer?

  8. Abhijith N Arjunan

    Great Great Great !! i can’t use it for waking up my PC but its very useful for running specific programmes or scripts on a correct time. Even though we would forget, PC’s don’t :D

  9. Frank

    This is pretty cool

  10. Masiha

    I exactly do that, but my system does not wake up! please help

  11. Mark

    Great article

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