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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Managing Your PC Power

Thankfully, as computer makers continue to improve the hardware they offer, our computers and devices are becoming more energy efficient. This is good not only for our bank accounts, but also for our planet. We want the batteries in our laptops, tablets, and smartphones to last as long as possible. The more power we conserve, the longer our power lasts—and that’s a good thing.

One thing we’ve learned in green tech is that small changes can make a big difference. Changing the brightness of your screen, or turning off Wi-Fi or roaming when you can, can save a lot of processing going on behind-the-scenes. Even reducing energy consumption on your home desktop PC can have tangible benefits, like reducing your electric bill. Those simple techniques, added to steps like thinking through what happens when you close your laptop cover, can add up to smarter energy use for us all.

Windows 8.1 is the most energy-efficient version of Windows yet, with careful attention paid to apps that are in the foreground. Apps that cycle to the background and go into suspended mode have no impact on power usage at all. And because Windows 8.1 boots so efficiently, you won’t experience any lag time while you wait for an app you select to load. That’s a big change from the days you could push the power button and then go to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee while waiting for your computer to boot up.

Choosing a Power Management Plan

Windows 8.1 supports the same power management plans that were available in Windows 7. The Balanced power plan balances usage with performance, and Power Saver reduces computer performance a bit to lower your energy use. Selecting a plan is as simple as pointing and clicking.

  1. On the Start screen, type power plan.
  2. Click Choose a Power Plan. The Power Options dialog box appears.

  3. Click the power plan you want to use.

Changing Power Settings

Each of the power management plans you can choose with Windows 8.1 enables you to set priorities about the way you use Windows 8.1 and the type of power you use and save. For example, you can choose a plan that saves as much power as possible or select a plan that balances the power use with your computer’s performance.

You can view and change the settings to fit the plan you have in mind and tweak individual settings along the way.

  1. On the Start screen, type power options.
  2. Tap or click Power Options.

  3. Click or tap the setting you want to change. Different dialog boxes will appear depending on the option you select. The System Settings dialog box appears when you choose either Change What the Power Buttons Do or Change What Closing the Lid Does.
  4. Choose whether you want your computer to sleep, hibernate, shut down, or do nothing when you press the power button. Select the setting first for your computer when it is running on battery and then when it is plugged in.
  5. Select what you want the computer to do when you press the sleep button in battery and plugged-in modes.
  6. Choose what you want the computer to do when you close the computer lid (again, for both battery and plugged-in scenarios).
  7. Click Save Changes.

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