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How to See Which App is Blocking Your PC from Going into Sleep Mode

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Have you ever expected your PC to go into sleep mode only to come back and find it is still powered on? We know we certainly have, here’s how to check what’s keeping it awake.

How to See Which App is Blocking Your PC from Going into Sleep Mode

Press the Win + X keyboard combination or right click in the bottom left hand corner of your screen to bring up the Windows Tools Menu, then launch an admin command prompt.

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When the command prompt opens, type the following command:

powercfg /requests

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You can see from the screenshot above, that I have 1 Process (VLC Media Player) as well as 2 Drivers that are preventing my PC from going to sleep. That’s all there is to it.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 12/20/12

Comments (14)

  1. Evert

    No mention of it anywhere, but can we assume this is Windows 8-specific?

  2. Batch Boy

    You could have mentioned that the Win + X key combination only works for Windows 8. Either that or you have some weird keyboard macros.

    However, the DOS command “powercfg -requests” does work. There also doesn’t seem to be any difference between the slash “/” and dash “-” when using a switch with the “powercfg” command either. You just have to run it from a command prompt (a DOS shell) with administrator privileges is all.

    As for me, I made a batch file (called WhyWake.bat) to see why my computer woke up! It too uses the “powercfg” command but with a different switch that doesn’t require administrator privileges. Here it is in it’s entirety:

    powercfg -lastwake
    pause

    That’s it. That second line “pause” is to keep it from closing while you look at the output. Otherwise, it runs and then closes way too fast and before you realize anything was ever even open.

  3. Taylor Gibb

    @Batch Boy , Yeah i should have mentioned that.

  4. Roger Anderson

    I’m at the other end of this situation- how can I find the app or process which is blocking my machine from waking up from ‘sleep’, Been looking for an answer to this for a long time and if anyone has come across such a scenario (and solved it) I’d be prepared to offer the heartiest ‘Merry Christmas’ of the Festive Season for the solution.

    Roger.

  5. Brian

    I would love to find why my display turn off settings are ignored. My display turn off setting is 20 minutes and it will no longer do that (it used to). It works at 2 minutes and then wakes again. At 20, it simply will never turn off. If I force it with monoff.exe, it stays turned off.
    Very strange

  6. Mary

    I run under admin privileges so I made a batch file for the first command also. And used the pause, thank you BB. Because it’s actually calling for application requests, I call it (duh!) AppReq.bat and then use the same command line:

    powercfg /requests
    pause

    It seems to work although I haven’t tried it when the machine should be sleeping and isn’t.

    I stuck both batch files in the Windows root directory. No-one had mentioned that so I thought I should.

    Thanks for this. Also my electricity bill thanks you.

    ML

  7. Bob W

    I’m operating in Win 7
    Going to the main computer menu, whatever that is called, in the lower left corner, then selecting Accessories and then Command Prompt. But this does not get me into the administrators prompt that I need to proceed. Help

  8. nt0xik8ed

    a lot of times wmc wakes the computer. you’ll have to google the simple procedure to shut it down. i’m on windows8

  9. RickMed

    @Mary Some wireless mouse devices periodically poll for a signal and that keeps the computer from being idle for the period of time you have it set. Not all do this and just because it works on one computer doesn’t mean the same wireless mouse will let the computer go “idle” when plugged in elsewhere.

  10. Susan Cassidy

    Hey HTG! You guys are great and have taught me bunches of stuff about computers :) Thankx. Now, I have an old XP Hewlett Packard desktop that many times keeps waking back up when I try to put it to sleep! Since your directions above are obviously for Win8 (apps mention is what gave it away for me!), how do I find the process that’s keeping my XP computer from staying asleep? Could I use the Task Manager?

  11. Mary

    @RickMed (Twitter invades all!) I don’t use wireless anythings – network, keyboard, mouse, all accessories – all hard wired. I tend to be a bit – can you tell? – resistant to wirelessness.

    Anyway, could there be polling in such circumstances? I’ve known of similar happenings and we are, after all, talking about Windows. I also don’t use Media Center but I know in my heart of hearts that it’s in here somewhere.

    The other thing that happens with me is that the monitor will go to sleep. I can tell, of course, by light arrays whether the overall system’s asleep but I have to wake the monitor to use my new batch files. Does that skew the results?

    Seems the more I find out, the less I know. Sounds like a new sig, huh?

    Thanks for this thread, HTG.

    ML

  12. Bob-El

    “Press the Win + X keyboard combination or right click in the bottom left hand corner of your screen to bring up the Windows Tools Menu”.

    Nothing happens.

  13. Jon

    I found this not to work 50% of the time. What I personally refer is just to go to Device Manager and manually RClick + Properties to find out in the last category of the Properties window, whether the check box “This device can wake up the computer” is clicked or not.

    So here is the easy guide/example:
    Start >
    RClick on Computer >
    Manage >
    Device Manager in the left column >
    !!!EXAMPLE!!! Expand Network Adapters >
    RClick > Properties on the device that you want to turn off >
    Power Management >
    Uncheck “This Device can turn on the computer”.
    > Press OK and you are fine.

    I have noticed that it usually happens with Network Cards and USB devices like a Mouse.

  14. Sam

    My laptop (windows 7) will not go into sleep mode after my nephew played with it. When I try to put it in sleep mode I see sleep but its in very light grey while all the other options are still black (restart, log off, and switch user). Nothing happens when sleep is clicked. Does anyone know how to correct this?

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