Windows 7 / Getting Started

Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Power Options Utility in Control Panel

The Power Options utility in Control Panel provides a central location where users can configure how their computer balances power consumption against performance, create and manage power plans, configure the behavior of the power buttons on the computer, and configure other advanced settings. In Windows 7, this utility has been enhanced by hiding the High Performance plan by default under the Show Additional Plans option.

This was done to encourage users to conserve energy by not making the High Performance plan as visible as the Balanced and Power Saver plans.

Selecting either of the top two links on the left opens a screen where the user can configure the behavior of the power button on the computer and require that a password be specified when returning from Sleep mode.

Beginning with Windows Vista, standard (non-Administrator) users can manage most power management settings on their computers. In earlier versions of Windows, users had to be local administrators to manage power settings on their computers. In addition, in Windows Vista and later versions, there is a single set of power plans for the computer. All users have access to the same power settings across the computer, helping to avoid situations in which power policy changes based on which user, if any, is currently logged on. This is a departure from Windows XP, where one portion of the power policy was specified on a per-user basis and the remainder on a per-computer basis.

To manage advanced power options, select either of the lower two links on the upper left of the main Power Options screen and then select Change Advanced Power Settings to open the Advanced Settings tab for Power Options.

Advanced power settings provide more detailed control over power consumption and the ability to change some settings not displayed elsewhere in Power Options. Additional settings include the power-saving mode for wireless adapters, USB selective suspend, PCI Express Active-State Power Management, and Search and Indexing activity on the system.

Note that some systems (particularly mobile computers) may have additional power settings in advanced power settings. For example, third-party drivers and applications may add new power settings. Common third-party settings include power management options for video adapters.

Note When you select Change Settings That Are Currently Unavailable and respond to the UAC prompt, no new items will appear in the list, which can seem confusing. However, some options that could not be edited before can now be edited.

Power-Saving Modes for Wireless Network Adapters

On the Advanced Settings tab for Power Options, four different power-saving modes are displayed under Wireless Network Adapter (the On Battery settings are relevant only on mobile systems and computers with batteries):

  • Maximum Performance
  • Low Power Saving
  • Medium Power Saving
  • Maximum Power Saving

If Maximum Performance is chosen, the wireless adapter will not use any power management features but will communicate with the wireless access point at the maximum speed. However, if Maximum Power Saving is chosen, the wireless adapter will conserve energy by communicating with the wireless access point at a lower speed. This reduces wireless performance but conserves power and helps extend battery life on mobile PCs. The Low Power Saving and Medium Power Saving settings balance power savings and performance.

Note You can configure additional advanced power settings by using the Powercfg. exe command. See the section titled "Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Powercfg Utility" later in the tutorial for more information.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Devices and Services
  2. Understanding Device Installation and Management
  3. Device Enhancements in Windows 7
  4. Display Enhancements in Windows 7
  5. Understanding Device Installation
  6. Driver Store and Driver Packaging
  7. Driver Staging vs Installation
  8. Driver Staging and Installation Process
  9. Detailed Installation Process
  10. Managing Driver Packages
  11. Using PnPutil.exe
  12. Using Dism.exe
  13. Driver Signing
  14. Driver Ranking
  15. Installing and Using Devices
  16. Enhancements to the Device Installation Experience in Windows 7
  17. Scenario 1: Driver found in Driver Store
  18. Scenario 2: Driver found on Windows Update
  19. Scenario 3: Driver in Driver Store, But Better Driver on Windows Update
  20. Scenario 5: No Driver Can Be Found for the device
  21. Scenario 6: Vendor -supplied media is available
  22. Scenario 7: Additional Device Software is Available For Download from vendor
  23. Configuring Device Installation Settings
  24. Using the Devices And Printers Folder
  25. Understanding Device Stage
  26. Understanding the Device Experience Architecture
  27. Device Containers
  28. Device display object
  29. Device Metadata System
  30. Managing Device Installation Using Group Policy
  31. Managing Device Installation Behavior
  32. Managing Driver Installation Behavior
  33. Blocking Installation of Removable Devices
  34. Managing Device Redirection Behavior
  35. Troubleshooting Device Installation
  36. Using Windows Error Reporting
  37. Using the SetupAPI Log File
  38. Using Driver INF Files
  39. Using Device Manager Error Codes
  40. Using Driver Verifier
  41. Repairing Driver Store Corruption
  42. Repairing Index File Corruption
  43. Understanding Power Management
  44. Power Management Enhancements in Windows 7
  45. New Power Policies in Windows 7
  46. Configuring Power Management Settings
  47. Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Power Options Utility in Control Panel
  48. Configuring Power Management Settings Using Group Policy
  49. Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Powercfg Utility
  50. Understanding Services
  51. Service Enhancements in Windows 7
  52. Managing Services
  53. Managing Services Using Task Manager
  54. Managing Services Using the Sc.exe Command