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What Keeps Waking My Computer Up?

Sleep mode is great for when you are not using your computer, but what do you do when ‘something’ is constantly waking it up? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has some suggestions to help diagnose, and catch, the guilty culprit.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

Photo courtesy of Laura (Flickr).

The Question

SuperUser reader Peter A. wants to find out what is constantly waking his computer up:

When I place my computer into sleep mode, it goes to sleep for two minutes and then wakes up again on its own.

I ran cmd.exe as an administrator and typed in powercfg -last wake and -requests, but did not get any results that can actually help me figure this out. Any other suggestions?

I have already disabled many of the devices attached to my computer so that they will not wake the system up, including the keyboard, but not the mouse.

what-keeps-waking-my-computer-up-01

Are there any other methods that Peter can use to find the mystery culprit waking his computer up?

The Answer

SuperUser contributors Aeron, Mixxiphoid, and ntoskrnl have the answer for us. First up, Aeron:

It could be a ghost. Or a demon.

Some things that caused this same issue for me were:

1. I had a very sensitive mouse and even though I was in bed, the mouse would move very slightly, but not noticeably, and that woke my computer up.

2. I have also had problems with USB devices (keyboards, mice, and wireless adapters). Sometimes, and usually over a period of several years, the ports on the computer will become loose (or something), causing the USB device to move around a little if the desk gets bumped. This caused my computer to play the “USB device removed and inserted” sound, and it also caused my computer to wake from sleep.

3. Check out your Scheduled Tasks. You are bound to have a few if you are not the type to manually delete them all. If updates are scheduled to run in the background, this could also be waking your computer up. Look out for Google, Apple, Adobe, and Java in particular. I always see them in Task Scheduler. And somehow, Google update keeps reappearing.

Also, take a look at this link: Fix “Sleep Mode Randomly Waking Up” Issue in Windows Vista

Followed by the answer from Mixxiphoid:

I have a computer that does the same thing with Google Chrome installed on it. It checks for updates every fifteen minutes, thus waking my computer up. The updater always tries to revive itself with any software you have installed from Google.

And our final answer from ntoskrnl:

There is a certain event in the Event Viewer that may help you troubleshoot spurious wake up issues. You can find it under Windows Logs > System. Look for Power-Troubleshooter.

what-keeps-waking-my-computer-up-02

However, as you can see, it is not always helpful. Mine shows “Unknown” even though I woke it up using the power button.

As an IT admin, I can tell you that spurious wake ups are difficult to diagnose and solve. There are usually a few per one hundred computers experiencing spurious wake ups even though they all have identical hardware and peripherals.

Hopefully your issue is simply caused by a USB device, network connection, or such.


Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya (Asian Angel) is our very own Firefox Fangirl who enjoys working with multiple browsers and loves 'old school' role-playing games. Visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 07/15/14