View Full Version : Power Management/Power Down

01-07-2001, 12:53 PM
I'm preparing to upgrade our WordPerfect Office installations in the office. While I'm at it, I want to configure the workstations to run as optimally as possible. I've seen recommendations to disable power management functions. I'm wondering, though, what the effects of doing so will be. I'd like to better understand how power management works on newer machines before deciding on this option.

Our workstations are Dell Pentium 3s running Win98SE. They are all less than 2 years old. They automatically shut off when you shut down Windows. (Well, most times they do. Sometimes they hang at the shutting down screen.) Does turning off power management affect the automatic shut down? The monitors will also power down after a period of disuse. I assume this would be affected by turning off power management. The hard drives also seem to spin down after a period of disuse. Is this a part of power management?


Paleo Pete
01-07-2001, 09:49 PM
Power Management shouldn't affect automatic shut down, Windows handles that. Yes, shutting down the monitor and hard drives are related to power management.

The power management settings do affect the monitor and hard drives shutting down after specific intervals. I usually set mine so it never shuts down the hard drive, since spinning up and down is where most of the wear and tear happens. I use my machine quite frequently during the day, and if it spins up and down several times a day that amounts to a lot of wear on mechanical parts I can live without. Shutting down the monitor shouldn't have any physical affect. I set mine to shut down the monitor in 15 minutes. If I'm gone that long I'm probably gone for a while, why use the power?

One thing to watch for is screensavers. If you set a screensaver to come on after power management shuts down the monitor it will often cause the machine to lock up. Screensavers are basically nothing more than eye candy with SVGA monitors anyway, since they don't "burn in" like older ones did, so I don't use them at all.

Disabling power management entirely shouldn't hurt a thing, it simply won't shut down the monitor and/or hard drive.

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01-08-2001, 05:20 PM
While we're on the subject (I think!), what determines whether your machine automatically shuts down versus receiving the It is now safe to turn off your computer screen? TIA

01-08-2001, 07:16 PM
Wasn't Power Management written specifically for laptop systems? I've heard this many times from many sources. I'm thinking this could be the explanation as to why it doesn't work well with Desktop PC's.

(Any thoughts on this one?...)

01-08-2001, 09:02 PM
fraelorn: I don't know that power management was written specifically for laptops, but it certainly is alot more useful on laptops...when you consider that even a fairly large desktop only has a 300watt power supply, how much electricity are you going to really save by having the hard drive shut down?

In laptops though, where battery life is at a premium, you can add time to your battery by turning off the display, spinning down the disks or even running the cpu at a reduced speed...

terilyn: assuming windows is running correctly, it should always shutdown on newer computers...if your power button is one that you press and release to turn on. if it has a power button that you press in to turn on and turn off by pressing it and it pops back out, then you will get the shutdown screen...this has to do with the way the motherboards work...

samantha: turning off power management may cause a small increase in perceived performance: if you don't have to wait for the screen to come back on or for the hard drive to spin back up, then it will seem faster...it won't hurt anything...although turning off power management in windows may not completely shut it off, some computers have power management built into the bios, independent of windows

Paleo Pete
01-08-2001, 10:06 PM
Terilyn: The method of shutting down is generally dependent on the type of board and power supply. With AT cases and power supplies, the power switch is pressed once to turn the computer on, again to turn it off. Then you get the "It is Safe to turn off your Computer" message after the windows shut down procedure. With ATX cases and power supplies, the switch is a single-press switch. Press it once to turn it on, Windows shuts it down automatically after the shut down routine. In emergencies, you can hold down the power switch for about 5 seconds and it will shut down. I'm not sure how much Windows has to do with the automatic shutdown, but I think it has to be done by the OS, I see no way the power supply or motherboard could do it alone.

I'm not sure whether power management was designed for laptops, but it seems I've heard that before too, so it just might be the case. It certainly is more beneficial with laptops, for the reasons outlined above.

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01-10-2001, 09:29 PM
I was going to disable all the power management I could find in both Windows and the BIOS. Will disabling power management in the BIOS affect the shutdown routine?

I've read in other places that with this new PCs, it's necessary to hold down the power switch to get the machine to turn off (and some new PCs apparently come without a power switch - how silly!). But, with our Dells in the office, if the shutdown hangs at the "Windows is shutting down" screen (which one of mine does a lot), we just hit the power switch button to turn off the PC. It also will shut down the PC if it hangs while you're using it. Maybe it's because the PCs are little older or maybe it's because Dell was smart enough to design them.

In any event, I would think that the OS has to communicate something to something (the BIOS?) to tell it to shut down and then the BIOS or other firmware has to be capable of shutting down the PC. I don't think Win95 will automatically shut down, at least not Win95A. I must admit that I miss the "It is now safe to turn off your computer" screen, which I still think is so funny.


hvy duty
01-15-2001, 07:26 PM
microsoft had a patch for win 98 shutdown hangs on certain mobo's it is in the d\l at mircosoft you might see if that fits your mobo