Is your Windows desktop an insomniac? Does your Windows PC stay awake no matter what you try? Maybe you’ve tried to adjust the Power Options in the control panel? Maybe you tweaked your LAN and USB device settings. Maybe you played around with the Powercfg utility? Maybe you tried all of the advice out there and still your PC won’t sleep. That has been my experience.
At home I have two custom-built PCs that use a lot of power. Inside these rigs I am running some pretty powerful video cards on 800W power supplies. My power bills were getting quite high and I was looking for ways to cut costs. I did not want my PCs running when nobody was using them. These are family computers that often get left on “by accident”. The problem for me was getting them to sleep. Windows has had power control settings since day one, but I have always had issues with this feature. Sometimes my PCs wouldn’t wake after going to sleep. Sometimes they would go to sleep at unexpected times without warning. But lately, my PCs just never went to sleep. I had hoped the issue was only happening on Windows 7 and that after I upgraded to Windows 8 things would improve, but they didn’t. I would schedule my computer to sleep after 20 minutes and began to notice the computer stayed awake. Sometimes my computer would sleep, but then immediately woke up for some reason. I researched the issue and learned that there were many things that could wake up a computer, from: shared media to USB devices. Here is one support link from Microsoft on how to troubleshoot the issue: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/976877
I even learned how to “Get a detailed Power Efficiency Diagnostics Report for your computer“. Yeah, this has been a time consuming task. Ugh!
Determined to fix the issue once and for all, I would try solutions like the ones suggested in the support article, but after hours of tweaking, my PCs defiantly stayed awake. Just when I thought I had the computers down for the night, the little naughty PCs would wake themselves up again. Finally, I got fed up and came up with my own creative solution- I wrote an app called Nightcap that puts your PC to sleep after a specified period of time. Out of the box, Nightcap will put your computer to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity. But the computer doesn’t just fall asleep without warning. A minute before sleeping, a warning will pop-up on screen with a countdown timer alerting you to the fact that your computer is about to sleep. To cancel the sleep state, simply move your mouse or press a key. Even cooler, the app can be set to fall right back to sleep if the computer has woken up without user interaction.
I had planned to make Nightcap available this weekend, but I wanted to ensure that the program provided a way for you to give feedback and report issues. Nightcap was developed on Windows 8, so I want to do some testing on Windows 7 and possibly XP.
If you have a sleepless PC and want such a program, please let me know and I’ll work extra hard to make it available on my site soon. My hope is that Nightcap will save you from hours of frustration and maybe even a little on your power bills. I know, for certain, it has saved money on mine.