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How To Delete Built-in Windows 7 Power Plans (and Why You Probably Shouldn’t)

Do you actually use the Windows 7 power management features? If so, have you ever wanted to just delete one of the built-in power plans? Here’s how you can do so, and why you probably should leave it alone.

Just in case you’re new to the party, we’re talking about the power plans that you see when you click on the battery/plug icon in the system tray. The problem is that one of the built-in plans always shows up there, even if you only use custom plans.

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When you go to “More power options” on the menu there, you’ll be taken to a list of them, but you’ll be unable to get rid of any of the built-in ones, even if you have your own.

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You can actually delete the power plans, but it will probably cause problems, so we highly recommend against it. If you still want to proceed, keep reading.

Delete Built-in Power Plans in Windows 7

Open up an Administrator mode command prompt by right-clicking on the command prompt and choosing “Run as Administrator”, then type in the following command, which will show you a whole list of the plans.

powercfg list

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Do you see that really long GUID code in the middle of each listing? That’s what we’re going to need for the next step. To make it easier, we’ll provide the codes here, just in case you don’t know how to copy to the clipboard from the command prompt.

Power Scheme GUID: 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e  (Balanced)
Power Scheme GUID: 8c5e7fda-e8bf-4a96-9a85-a6e23a8c635c  (High performance)
Power Scheme GUID: a1841308-3541-4fab-bc81-f71556f20b4a  (Power saver)

Before you do any deleting, what you’re going to want to do is export the plan to a file using the –export parameter. For some unknown reason, I used the .xml extension when I did this, though the file isn’t in XML format. Moving on… here’s the syntax of the command:

powercfg –export balanced.xml 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e

This will export the Balanced plan to the file balanced.xml.

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And now, we can delete the plan by using the –delete parameter, and the same GUID. 

powercfg –delete 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e

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If you want to import the plan again, you can use the -import parameter, though it has one weirdness—you have to specify the full path to the file, like this:

powercfg –import c:\balanced.xml

Using what you’ve learned, you can export each of the plans to a file, and then delete the ones you want to delete.

Why Shouldn’t You Do This?

Very simple. Stuff will break. On my test machine, for example, I removed all of the built-in plans, and then imported them all back in, but I’m still getting this error anytime I try to access the panel to choose what the power buttons do:

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There’s a lot more error messages, but I’m not going to waste your time with all of them. So if you want to delete the plans, do so at your own peril. At least you’ve been warned!

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/4/10

Comments (19)

  1. David Dashifen Kees

    Do you know of a way of setting which schemes appear when you click the icon in the notification area? Mine always shows the current power scheme and the default Balanced one. I’d rather it show the High Performance and the Power Saver ones at all times, but I haven’t figured out how to do it. I could remove the Balanced one, but I’d like to avoid the errors you describe above!

  2. Vijay

    I recently upgraded to Win7 Ultimate from Vista home premium. Now i’m not able to adjust the brightness using Fn+allocated brightness key.. So the brightness is always high and i’m losing power fast in battery mode… Done windows update and video drivers still no use..

  3. Jason

    You might want to place the why you should not do this portion at the top. Some people might not read why not until they did it already.

  4. Jon

    This should only be used by system admins for setting desktop options within a corporate environment. This shouldn’t be toyed with on home desktops. If you want to experiment I suggest doing it on a VM and not your primary PC.

  5. Stu Kopelman

    This advice on “How To Delete Built-in Windows 7 Power Plans (and Why You Probably Shouldn’t)”, is advice not worth considering, nor worth giving, and for these reasons:

    Knowing that things break afterwards, and even showing the error message to prove it is not helpful advice; it is akin to telling someone that if one removes a helicopter blade, it will lighten the load but the machine will crash, or moving a wire inside a radio to a different location could possibly make the radio work better when the probability of that happening is almost zero percent.

    I do not see the benefits outweighing the risks in this kind of advice.

  6. The Geek

    Guys… the Title of the article clearly says that you probably shouldn’t.

    I wrote this article because this same topic has been showing up on a bunch of other tweaking sites, and I wanted to cover it, explain how to export/import, and explain why it’s a bad idea. If people ignore the Title of the article, and the warning within, and the error screenshot – well, they deserve a screwed up system.

  7. Trevor Bekolay

    This article is so scientific — useful even if the result is failure. I approve!

  8. Jon

    We understand, Geek, but you may as well write an article about how to go through the registry and start randomly deleting entire hives and reboot to see what happens.

    People come to HTG because Google searches land them here on how to do things and make their OS better. The last thing we should show people is how to screw up Windows. It’s easy to do anything in Windows and that is why it is superior to Mac OS X.

  9. KayDat

    @David Dashifen Kees
    A little late…but here’s my response anyway. From my experience, Windows 7 “Preferred plans” by default shows two different power profile types: one slot reserved for plans based on the “Balanced” plan, and one for anything else.

    For example, I will list my own plans:
    Balanced Away (Balanced)
    Cool balanced (Balanced)
    Away sleep (Power saver)
    Away (Power saver)

    Those, along with the default three that come with Windows 7 are listed in Power Options. Yes, I have a convoluted set of power plans =D. Each plan is a combination of different display/HDD/sleep timers and maximum CPU states. You can see which power plan I used as a template in the brackets.

    Now, whenever I select a plan that is based off the “Balanced” plan, it will take the top spot. If I select any plans based off the “High performance” or “Power saver” plans, the last selected plan will take the second position. It’s hard to describe, but simple to understand, once you fiddle around a bit. =]

  10. Sidewinder

    I have tried this and could sucessefuly restore my power plans after deleting them, using the methods described, no errors at all, but now the balanced power plan (the one i deleted and then restored) is behaving like a custom power plan, and can’t be retored to the default settings, but can be deleted using the control panel just like any other custom power plan.

  11. Sodi

    Hi,

    My machine suddenly lost the Balanced plan and the ability to create any new plans. So, I would like to go backwards and replace them. Could you help with how to get all of this back? I assume I have a corrupt file or directory since Windows says that it cannot access the power plan preferences and then that it cannot access the file specified.

    Any ideas?
    Thank you!

  12. Paul

    I’m most grateful to have the information–and the warning. IMHO, it’s [obviously] a whole lot better than never being able to find out how this works. Thanks very much, HTG!

  13. Harwest

    You can fix all issues with deleted plans by using: powercfg -restoredefaultschemes

  14. Ranjan

    Amazing article!! I had a problem with our IT support configured power plan. My system sleeps every one hour and never wakes up. I created my own power plan, but everytime I chose my plan after a while the system went back to IT support plan. The only way I could get over this was by deleting the IT Support plan by following steps given here. Thanks a lot for putting up such a useful article with screenshots as well. Appreciate the efforts.

  15. Derek Kerton

    Two reasons why this article is useful and informative:

    1) Whether it mucks up your machine or not, there will be other articles on the web telling people how to delete a profile that DON’T include the warnings. This one is much better, and if people find this one first they will be better off for it.

    2) Some people want to make changes EVEN IF there are costs to pay. Damn, people, everything has a cost. Just because deleting a profile isn’t worth it to you, doesn’t mean your needs apply to everyone. Some IT manager may want to put in only customized corporate power plans to save energy, or to work with some specific situation in their facilities. I’m sure there are lots of other examples. As for me, I used it just to identify the GUID strings that I could search for in the registry. I then was able to change the name of one of my custom profiles, something I could not do in the Win7 UI.

    If you don’t want the advice herein, um…don’t read it. The title makes it clear.

  16. Christopher

    From your screenshot of the Power Options, you have the “Balanced” power plan under the “Hide Additional Plans”. How did you do this? I would really like to hide “Balanced” and “Power Saver”. I would also like to have the default “Plans Shown on the Battery Meter” to be only “High Performance” and “eco”.

    Thanks!!
    –christopher

  17. GM

    …so, how do you get your battery to work again when you keep getting a ‘plugged in, not charging’ message constantly in the power plan window? And, you must unplug and plug in again every 3 minutes to get it back to full charge. (HP machine, by-the-way)

  18. Peter Dolkens

    To restore the balanced plan properly, you need to do this:

    powercfg -import c:\balanced.xml 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e

    The GUID on the end makes it slot back into it’s old slot.

    Everything on my system works just fine after removing and re-adding the balanced plan in this way.

  19. LOL

    The only problem is importing. You deleted them for a reason, they should stay deleted.

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