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.

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.

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


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.

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

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

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:

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!

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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