Maximizing Your Computer’s Power Efficiency

Power efficiency of your computer is typically important for two reasons.  The first is to keep electrical costs low.  The second is to maximize the time a computer can stay on battery (ex. laptop battery, UPS battery, etc).  Today’s computers have more components built in (ex. memory card readers, wireless, bluetooth, etc) and or connected externally (ex. USB devices, printers, etc) that will eat away at your wallet and or remaining battery life.  This article will show you how to you can control, report, and lower your computer’s power consumption.

Controlling

Windows 7 allows you to view, edit, and activate power plans.  Power plans inform your computer’s hardware and software on how to consume power.  To view, edit, or change the active power plan:

  1. Logon as an administrator
    1. By default, only administrators can change Windows power settings
  2. Click the start button, type Power Plan, and the click ENTER
  3. Make your required changes.

For more information on Windows 7 power plans:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Power-plans-frequently-asked-questions

Reporting

Starting with Windows XP SP2, Microsoft bundled the power utility PowerCFG.exe to allow you to manage your computer’s power configuration from a command prompt.  Starting with Windows 7, PowerCFG.exe has the ability to examine and produce a report of your computer’s power consumption.  To produce the report on a Windows 7 computer:
  1. Logon as an administrator
    1. By default, only administrators can change Windows power settings
  2. Click the start button, type CMD, and the click CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER
    1. CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER causes any selected program to run as an administrator
  3. Type the following in the command prompt window and press enter:

The report will outline things like the various components of  your computer, it’s power management capabilities, what’s consuming  power and how, etc.

For more information on PowerCFG.exe and the energy report:

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/pnppwr/powermgmt/powercfg.mspx

Savings

Here are some quick tips to help your save on a computer’s power consumption:

  1. Report and control on your power consumption (see above sections).
  2. Turn off features you don’t need or use frequently.
    1. Ex. Turn off audio, bluetooth
  3. Lower your screen’s brightness.
  4. Disconnect/turn off devices your don’t need or use frequently.
    1. Ex. Disconnect/turn off the printer, turn off the computer when not needed
  5. Limit the number of programs you keep running.  More programs = more CPU/memory = more power consumption.
  6. Enable hibernation.  More info: http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-enable-hibernate-option-in-windows-7/

For more tips on saving laptop battery power:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Conserving-battery-power