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A little thought and changing some settings now, can reduce battery/electricity consumption as well as prolong the life of your monitor. You can automatically turn the monitor off (this not only saves power, this also prolongs the monitor's life) after a certain period of inactivity. Similarly, you can automatically put the computer either on Standby mode or Hibernate mode to save power.

These things are easy to do too. Click Start --> Control Panel --> Performance and Maintenance and then click on Power Options. The following Power Options Properties dialog box will come up.

Power Options Properties dialog box
Figure 1
Power Options Properties dialog box

From this dialog box you can select your power management options. Under first tab Power Schemes, first choose power scheme for what you are setting i.e., Home/Office Desktop, or Portable or Laptop, or Maximum Battery life, or Minimal Power Management etc. Then form the bottom part of this dialog box, you choose when to turn off monitor, when to turn off hard disk, when to put your system on standby and hibernate mode. Just pick your choices for each item (remember there is a Never option available for each of these items), then click Apply, then click OK. You are done. Laptop users should choose shorter durations for each of these options for maximum battery saving. One important option they should choose (usually this is the default setting for laptops) is "Go to standby mode when I close the lid." Manually reducing the brightness of the screen can also save battery in laptops. (On Windows based laptops this is usually done by pressing the Fn key and the brightness down button at the same time.) When "Go to standby mode when I close the lid" option is chosen, the laptop will wake up as soon as you open the lid. For desktops, if your computer goes to Standby or Hibernate mode, you simply push the Power button once to wake it up.

To manually put your computer in Standby or Hibernate mode (your computer consumes much less power in either of these settings, the least in Hibernate mode), click on Start, then Shut Down. The following dialog box will appear.

Shut Down Windows dialog box
Figure 2
Shut Down Windows dialog box

In the Shut Down Windows dialog box, choose either Standby or Hibernate and then click OK. If you want to know more about the difference between Standby and Hibernate, click on Help.

A quick note about Hibernate mode: I have seen people asking questions in computer bulletin boards that they are unable to put their computers on Hibernate mode. First of all, all computers do not have this capability. Secondly, one must enable Hibernate mode in the Power Options Properties dialog box as shown below.

Enabling Hibernate mode in Power Options Properties dialog box
Figure 3
Enabling Hibernate mode in
Power Options Properties dialog box

To bring up the Power Options Properties dialog box, Click Start --> Control Panel --> Performance and Maintenance and then click on Power Options. In this dialog box click on the Hibernate tab. Then click on the box before Enable hibernation to put a checkmark there, then click Apply, then click OK. You are done. Your computer can now go on Hibernate mode either automatically (if you have set it up that way) or manually. Please also note that to go on Hibernate mode, your computer needs certain amount of disk space. Windows will tell you in the above dialog box how much disk space is available and how much is needed.



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