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Windows XP - Change Power Settings

Welcome to this Windows XP tutorial on how to change Windows XP power settings. You may want to change the power settings to save on power or stop the computer going to sleep.

Thinks To Note
  • Click the images to see a larger version
  • Yellow arrows or circles indicate where to look or click
  • Unless specified otherwise use the 'left' mouse button to click

Windows XP - Change Power Settings

Start Menu in Windows XP showing selection of control panel

With your computer logged into Windows you should have the desktop loaded. In the lower left corner of the screen click the 'Start' button. A vertical menu will pop up.

On the right of the pop up start menu are many commonly used items. As pictured 'Control Panel' is one of these items.

Click the 'Control Panel' option on the start menu.

Control Panel selecting Power Options

The control panel will load showing all of the available settings. You will see an icon for 'Power Options' which we have highlighted in the picture.

With your mouse, double click the 'Power Options' icon.

The power options properties window will appear.

power options box in control panel windows xp

You will see four tabs along the top of the power options properties window. The First one is 'Power Schemes'.

You can create a power scheme or amend an existing one to configure the power options to suit your preference.

You can see in the example shown that our power settings are to never turn off the monitor or hard drive and never go into standby.

drop down the power schemes list in windows xp

If you click the drop down box labelled 'Power Schemes' currently showing Home/Office Desk a menu will appear with other schemes available.

If you select a scheme for example 'Max Battery' which is good for laptop computers that need to save as much power as possible, you will see how this affects the time out settings.

showing max battery in the power options in windows xp

Our scheme for Max Battery is selected and you can see that the monitor is going to turn off after 15 minutes of idle activity and the system will go inot standby after 20 minutes of inactivity.

The default for Windows XP is for the monitor to power off after 20 minutes.

select different times for power options in windows xp

You can change the time settings too. If you click the drop down box next to the function you wish to change like in our example you can select the time it becomes effective.

Once you have selected a time for turning off the monitor or hard drives, or standby you can click the 'Save As' button and type a name to save the scheme or you can press the 'Apply' or 'Ok' button at the bottom of the power options window.

advanced tab in power options under windows xp

From the top of the power options window, click the 'Advanced' tab.

At the top of the box you will see the options to 'Always show icon on the taskbar' and 'Prompt for password when computer resumes...'.

On a laptop it is handy to see the power icon on the taskbar as you can check to see if there is enough battery power left. On a desktop computer I hope you're not running on batteries so you shouldn't need to tick the 'Show icon on the taskbar' option.

The 'Prompt for Password when computer resumes' option can be handy for when you leave the room and a long time elapses. If you didn't want someone else to access your computer whilst you are away from it then this option will prompt for the password when someone presses a key or moves the mouse (assuming it has gone into standby or sleep).

Power buttons options on windows xp

Near the bottom of the window is the power button setting. You can choose what happens when you press the power button on the computer.

These settings only take effect whilst you press the button in Windows.

As pictured, you can choose for the computer to 'Shut Down', 'Stand By', 'Ask Me What to Do' ,'Do Nothing'.

show hibernation settings in power options for windows xp

From the top of the power options window click the 'Hibernate' tab.

There is only one option here to choose and that is to either enable hibernation or don't!

Hibernation is a good feature that can save you energy but saves you time too. Hibernation uses part of your hard drive to write the current status of your computer, including open files and programs, and then puts your computer to sleep. When the computer wakes up it opens everthing that was open previously.

ups options in power under windows xp

The final tab along the top is 'UPS' which stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. This is probably not something most people will ever use. It is a device that protects your computer against power surges and cuts and you can configure it on this final tab of power options.

For most UPS's though they are configured through the software they are provided with.

Once you selected the options required under power options you can click the 'Ok' button to close the power options window.

Next tutorial - Change Windows XP Regional Settings

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