Subscriber Dottie Cox wrote recently about her computer — it stayed running all the time and would not go to sleep:
Terry, my computer in the past couple of days will not go into a sleep mode (stays on constantly). Isn’t this harmful? How can I correct this? Thanks for all the good news and tips you give us each week. I look forward to receiving it. Dottie
First, I wrote back to Dottie with the number one problem-solving solution for windows — Reboot! It solves all sorts of problems with Windows. Better yet, shutdown (power off) and then start it up again. That may solve the sleep issue.
With regard to the computer running all the time, that is not harmful. I have three Windows PC’s that stay running 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. One is my home theater PC. It gets rebooted every month or two when Windows Updates require a reboot, or more often if Dixie Electric is feeling frisky and has power blips or power outages. My desktop gets rebooted every couple weeks, as does my wife’s computer — usually because Windows Updates require a reboot.
None of these computers are set to go to sleep, although we usually turn off the monitors to save the life of he fluorescent tubes that do the backlighting in the LCD monitors. Otherwise, we have the Windows power-management settings set to blank the screen after 20 minutes of inactivity.
You can control Windows XP’s power management settings via the Control Panel ( Start > Control Panel ). Then, select Power Options from the dialog box shown below.
The Power Options Properties dialog box (below) gives you a number of different power options for your computer, including allowingn you to select power schemes from the Power Schemes option pull-down. You can also create your own custom settings and save them to those default scheme names or to your choice of names.
Not only can you set the power options for those times when you’re running on battery power (that’s notebook batteries, not UPS batteries, though), you can set different power-savings option for when your computer is plugged into the power mains.
After the period of inactivity that you select for each action, you can have Windows XP turn off your monitor, turn off your hard drives, have the system go into Standby Mode (Sleep Mode) or Hibernate (in which it saves the system state to the hard drive).