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Startup your PC in 10 seconds AND don't waste power

I have assumed that you know how to get into your PC's Control Panel - on XP that is by clicking on Start and then Control Panel - or Settings if you are using the 'old' XP menu system.

This page relates to the 'Power Options' feature within the Control Panel.

The images below will show a larger version of the same image if you hover your mouse over them, stop hovering to remove the larger version.

Windows XP and Vista both have the capability to 'Hibernate' when you don't need your PC and this is really, really good news for you and the environment because while in hibernation your PC uses very, very little power.

The other very useful feature for many users is that you don't need to close down all the programs that you were using before you hibernate. Even more useful is, as you might expect - you don't have to wait for your PC to go through the ritual of starting up again!

If you want to save the last few Watts of power then you can switch it off completely at the socket on the wall while it is in hibernation mode - Laptop users don't even need to do that last action - just unplug the charger.

Please note that you fully SHOULD CLOSE DOWN your PC at the VERY LEAST EVERY MONTH** and my normal recommendation is every week(end).

Note that every Windows PC needs to be restarted after the ritual of Microsoft's 'Patch Tuesday' (2nd of every month) for important security updates to take effect. See Windows Update - Settings and Advice for recommendations.

The option of hibernation can be made available by going into 'Control Panel' and then choosing 'Power options' and there is a 'Hibernation Tab' which needs to have the check box enabled.

The easiest way to make this quickly available is to go to the 'Advanced Tab' and where the prompt says 'When I press the power button...' you should select 'Ask me what to do'.

Note that Laptop users will have extra options to those to the left - for instance they can choose to:

  • Hibernate when the lid of the Laptop is closed
  • Hibernate when the battery is discharged to 10% (say)
  • Hibernate after a certain period of inactivity

The only usability issue that is so irritating is that on XP when you get the prompt asking about 'what to do' (see image to left) - Turn Off, Restart or Standby there isn't a fourth option saying Hibernate even though pressing the 'H' key does hibernate from that prompt.

If you REALLY want to see Hibernate as an option you have to hold down the Shift key (when prompted 'what to do') and you will see 'Standby' change to 'Hibernate'. Pressing H will also hibernate when this image is displayed even without holding down the Shift key.


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