Optimal power management settings for MS operating systems

I get asked quite often how to configure MS operating systems to save energy. The ironic part about MS OS's is that "out of the box", the default power management options are anything BUT energy efficient.

For an example, take a hospital with about 500 Windows PCs. If the network admins fail to make global changes to all of the power management settings for those PCs, they will likely consume 70% more energy than if they had been optimized. Leaving the settings at their defaults, the costs would be majorly significant, to the tune of thousands of dollars per year (not to mention the environmental ramifications).

By following the instructions below, you can expect to save about 70% of what you normally spend if you left the settings to their defaults.


Windows XP:

Start button > Settings > Control Panel > Power options

On the "Hibernate" tab, check the box labeled "Enable hibernation", then click "Apply"

On the "Power Schemes" tab, set the following options:



When you are finished, click the "Save as" button and name your power scheme to something relevant like "My uber-efficient power scheme", then click "OK" to save your settings.


Mini-rant: Well that was easy with XP, but Microsoft likes to change the locations and textual descriptions of every setting and option with each new release of their software. Apparently they need to make changes to a perfectly good operating system every year or two to justify profits. Sure wish they'd make just ONE OS that worked adequately and leave it at that... but alas! They change things, so...


Windows Vista (version 6) and Windows 7:

Start button > Control Panel > System and Security (Windows Vista) or System and Maintenance (Windows 7) > Power Options > Create a power plan > select any plan as a template > type a name for the plan, such as "My uber efficient power scheme" > Next

Choose the link for "Change advanced power settings"

From this point, the options are very familiar with the settings in the table above. For questions on any one of the options, you can click F1 for help.



In addition to using these recommended settings to optimize your computers (both laptops and desktop models) for optimal power consumption, you can also manually turn off your monitor when it's not in use. This will eliminate any significant standby losses. Performing these recommendations can save tens if not hundreds of dollars per year in electrical costs for each computer.