How to Change Power Save Modes

by Maya Austen

The average computer consumes between 150 and 800 watts of energy while in use, and 50 to 400 watts while idle. Modifying a computer's power saving settings helps to minimize these numbers. The process of changing a computer's power saving mode, while easy to do, varies slightly depending upon the type of operating system you're using. To access the computer's power saving settings you need to open the Power Options properties window. Not only do you have the option of changing a computer's general power saving mode, but you can also customize the settings within the selected mode.

In Windows XP

Right-click any empty space on the desktop, select "Properties" from the shortcut menu, go to the "Screen Saver" tab and click "Power" in the "Monitor Power" section to open to the Power Options properties window.

Pick your preferred power saving mode by clicking the "Power schemes" drop-down menu and selecting the most appropriate setting for your computer--for instance, "Home/Office Desk," "Portable/Laptop," "Minimal Power Management" or "Always On."

Modify the monitor power saving settings by clicking the "Turn off monitor" drop-down menu and selecting a time. This setting programs the computer monitor to shut down after the computer has been idle for the specified period of time.

Click the "System standby" drop-down menu and select a time. This setting programs the computer to reduce power to standby levels after the computer has been idle for the specified period of time.

Save changes by clicking "OK."

In Window Vista and Windows 7

Click "Start," select "Control Panel," click "Systems and Security" or "System and Maintenance," and click "Power Options" to open to the Power Options properties window.

Choose between the "Balanced" power plan and the "Power saver" power plan.

Modify the monitor power saving settings by clicking the "Change plan settings" link next to the power plan you selected in Step 2. Click the "Turn off the display" drop-down menu and select a time. This setting programs the computer monitor to shut down after the computer has been idle for the specified period of time.

Click the "Put the computer to sleep" drop-down menu and select a time. This setting programs the computer hard drive to shut down after the computer has been idle for the specified period of time.

Select "Save Changes."

About the Author

Maya Austen began freelance writing in 2009. She has written for many online publications on a wide variety of topics ranging from physical fitness to amateur astronomy. She's also an author and e-book publisher. Austen has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the New England Institute of Art and currently lives in Boston, Mass.

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