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Learning Windows 7: Manage Power Settings

In XP you probably already know how to manage the power settings for your system on a laptop or desktop. Today we take you through how to manage power settings and create custom plans in Windows 7.

There are new power management options that you can set up in Windows 7 compared to XP. You might want to change plans to save battery power on your laptop, or reduce energy consumption on a desktop at home or the office. Here we will look at how to manage and tweak the power plans, and how to create custom plans as well.

Power Settings

To access power plan options, type power settings into the search bar in the Start Menu and hit Enter.

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The Power Options screen opens and from here you can select from three predefined plans–Balanced, Power saver, or High performance.

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Click on Choose what the power button does and you can tweak several options such as Requiring a password on wakeup and what the power button on the computer does. If you set When I press the power button to Do nothing, you won’t have a problem with the PC shutting down when you accidently hit the power button.

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To change any one of the predefined power plans click on Change plan settings.

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Then you can change the amount of inactive time before the monitor is turned off or the computer goes into Sleep mode.

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If you want to revert back to the default settings, simply click on Restore default settings for this plan.

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Custom Power Plan

To create a custom plan, click on Create a power plan from the Power Options section.

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In the Create a power plan window a predetermined plan that is closest to what you want, and give the plan a name.

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In the next screen select the sleep and display settings you want to use and click the Create button.

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After your plan is created you’ll see it under the preferred plans list.

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If you click on Change advanced power settings, there are several options you can tweak. These settings should only be used by advanced users, as if you turn off the wrong thing, your computer may not function correctly. Choosing between the predetermined settings should be adequate for most users.

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If you are having issues where your laptop is draining too much battery power, or you want to check the overall efficiency of power usage on your computer, check out our article Use PowerCfg in Windows 7 to Evaluate Power Efficiency.

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Conclusion

Windows 7 makes it easy to manage power settings for different computing situations. If you find your computer mysteriously shutting down or going into sleep mode, this should also help you determine why it is happening.

We also have a few other articles related to power management in Windows you might be interested in:

Disable Power Management On Windows 7 or Vista

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Switch Power Plans

Change the Windows 7 or Vista Power Buttons to Shutdown/Sleep/Hibernate

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 01/15/10

Comments (11)

  1. Santo

    Not much of major change in Power Management when compared to Vista. After using Windows 7 for past few months I don’t think it as a great and stable operating system as it was advertised by Microsoft. I hope there will be a service pack released very soon.

  2. zepe

    I’m using Win7 and when I place the computer in Hibernate it wakes up with the smallest vibration. Is there a way to make it so it won’t wake up with the mouse, but instead only wakes up by pressing a key on the keyboard?

    Thanx,
    zepe

  3. Thomas Richards

    Question: What would Windows 7 do for me that XP won’t?

  4. jd2066

    @Thomas Richards: That is a tricky question. It depends on what you use your computer for. I have found many performance and usability improvements in Windows 7 but that is just me, it may very for you.
    If you want a more detailed answer, it would be best to ask on the How-To Geek forums instead of in comments on an article.

  5. David

    What a joke Win7 power management is. XP gave more options that Win7. It does not allow me to set at what percentage of battery life these things take place. Second, even though I have marked never go to sleep, when on battery and the power gets low it goes to sleep and it does this without notifying me. It does not notify me whether I have never go to sleep nor if I allow it to go to sleep. There are very few options in Win7 what a lame change in the OS from XP.

  6. Rob

    @David:
    the settings above are the standard, non advanced settings. There are more advanced settings than what is above, and the power management in Windows 7 is much much more advanced (and more stable) than XP had to offer.

  7. W.D. Mahan

    The power options function is in need of rewrite. On my system they are all but gone…I can no longer modify or add a plan… when I try I get a RED X with a message “Your Power Plan Information isn’t available”.
    OK how about a reset button…or a repair app…. to get me a fresh start.

  8. Lex Law

    I was unable to delete a custom power plan until i chose an “additional plan” so the custom plan fell in ranking and was no longer in the “Preferred plans” section. Then when I chose “Change plan settings” for the custom plan I saw the delete option.

  9. Whale

    hi how are u how to changed sleep to hibernet

  10. DavidP

    With XP I could have different settings based on whether the computer was on battery vs external power. Does this feature exist in Windows 7?

  11. DavidP

    Sorry to bother the readers here. Of course I tried Balanced LAST.

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