Greening your computer

November 16, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Posted in Computers | 2 Comments

A typical computer uses 2-300 watts of power. In Standby mode it drops to 10 Watts or so. So if you walk away from your computer for long periods or leave it on all the time, you can dramatically reduce power consumption (and waste heat) by setting up Standby properly.

Hibernation is even greater but takes a while to wake up from. Windows uses the BIOS (boot) settings of your computer to know what to do in Standby. Most systems use the ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) standard.

The most efficient ACPI setting you’ll want is called S3. This is also called “suspend to RAM”, basically saving everything to RAM and thus powering only RAM. It can then wake quickly yet consume little power in the interim.

To set it up, first, reboot your computer and during the start cycle, press the key to enter your BIOS or “Setup”. This is usually Delete key or F1.

Click to the Power section. Browse the settings related to Suspend or Standby mode. There may be a few. Choose S3, STR, or Suspend to RAM depending on the terms used.

Save and restart.

In Windows, go to Control Panel, Power. Adjust settings in the systems standby section, and set the monitor and hard drives appropriately. 30 or 40 min. are typical. (on my computer the pick list time options didn’t match the BIOS options. Just make them similar.) In Vista, the settings are under ‘Change when the computer sleeps’.

Now your computer should go to sleep after the set time, but wake quickly from RAM. You can also manually put it to sleep if you are departing your system for awhile using the yellow Standby option on the Shutdown box. (Start, Shutdown, Standby)

More details and suggestions from Windows Secrets newsletter:


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  1. After all you can “turn on” hibernated computer remotely from another PC or just with a mobile phone or PDA using this online service – [removed by host – linked to untested eastern European domain]

    It can be also enabled to wake up with a schedule.


  2. Hi Alex
    You indicated the domain was incorrect in a followup comment but both were .me domains.

    I agree – there are tools you can use to turn on a computer for remote access. Again, you’ll want to look at your BIOS settings to ensure this is OK – Wake on LAN, for example. Some of the remote access software will do the job for you too. And you can look for alternate utilities for other combos.


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