How to Configure Laptop Power Settings for Best Productivity

21 June 2016

Most businesses today have a mix of desktops, laptops and tablet computers as part of their IT fleet. Getting the most battery life versus performance from mobile computers is a balancing act – however using some of the included features in Windows can help you get the balance right.

There are 5 main power saving modes on Windows laptops and tablets:

Standby (also known as ‘Sleep’)

Standby quickly puts your computer into a low power mode, leaves all programs and files open as they are, but will continue to drain the battery a little. Coming out of standby only takes a couple of seconds meaning you can get straight back to what you were doing.

We recommend this power saving mode when you are moving your laptop from one place to another but will power it back up again within 1-2 hours. For example, going from one client’s site to another in the same day.

Connected Standby

Connected Standby is an upgraded version of ‘Standby’ which is most common on new tablets and some ‘convertible laptops’. It allows the system to periodically awake from standby and check for new emails and alerts.

If your computer supports this, then choosing ‘Sleep’ will automatically put it into Connected Standby.


Hibernate works like Standby, it leaves all your open files and applications as they are, but actually turns your computer off. When you turn your computer back on again, all your files and applications are as you left them. When in hibernate there is no drain on the battery.

Coming out of hibernate only takes about 10 seconds on most systems. We recommend this mode instead of Shutdown in most cases because it saves you waiting for your laptop to start up each time you need it.


Is a special mode of shutdown which was introduced in Windows 8 and continues in Windows 10. In this mode your programs are closed like shutdown, but Windows does some trickery to allow itself to start up faster next time.

We recommend Hibernate instead.


Shutdown is still what the majority do on their laptop, however it’s a legacy of when it was the only power saving option in Windows. Shutdown closes all your applications and files, then unloads the operating system. When you turn your computer on again, it must re-load the operating system and applications from scratch. Usually taking between 30 seconds to 1 minute.

We recommend Hibernate instead.

So, What Should You Use

The best balance between power saving and performance is Hibernate for laptops. We recommend you use Hibernate instead of Standby (or Sleep) because it doesn’t drain your battery when in this mode, and can come out of Hibernate much faster than Shutdown (or Hiberboot).

When you’re with a client or waiting to access an important file or check an email – why wait any longer than you need to.

Here’s how to set your laptop or tablet to go into Hibernate automatically when you close the lid, or press the tablet’s power button:
1. Open the Control Panel: Click ‘Start’ then type ‘Control Panel’
2. Change the view type: Click ‘Power Options’ if you can see it, otherwise change the ‘View By’ at the top to ‘Large Icons’
3. Click ‘Power Options’
4. On the side click ‘Change what closing the lid does’
5. Then change your preferences there for the 'power button' and 'closing the lid' to ‘Hibernate’:

Now instead of shutting down, just close the lid, or press the tablet’s power button and your system will hibernate automatically. When you’re ready to use it again open the lid, or press the power button again. Save yourself the long start up and shutdown times (unless you have a very fast laptop)!

We can help manage power options across all your mobile computers centrally (rather than a 1 by 1 basis) as part of Managed IT Services to help improve performance of your laptops and workforce. Contact us below to find out how.

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