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Windows 7: What is the best option for my computer when not using?

17 Oct 2012   #1

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 
What is the best option for my computer when not using?

Hi. I have a windows 7 computer, and it gets used a decent amount in a day for various things such as gaming or homework.

In the time it is not being used, however, what is the best option? Next to the shut down button there is only a sleep option. So should I put it into sleep, or just leave it? When in sleep it stops humming.

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17 Oct 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

There's no right or wrong answer on this. It all comes down to personal preference. For me, none of my computers run overnight, except my server. If I turn my tower or laptop on, I will leave them on throughout the day in case I use them again. If I know I won't for sure, then I power them down until the next day.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

It all depends on personal preference as to what is "best".

In sleep mode all actions on the computer are stopped and any open documents and applications are put in memory. You can quickly resume normal, full-power operation within a few seconds. Sleep mode is basically the same thing as “Standby” mode. Sleep mode is useful if you want to stop working for a short period of time. The computer doesn’t use much power in Sleep mode.

The Hibernate mode saves your open documents and running applications to your hard disk and shuts down the computer, which means once your computer is in Hibernate mode, it uses zero power. Once the computer is powered back on, it will resume everything where you left off. It's usually recommended to use this mode if you won’t be using the laptop for an extended period of time, and you don’t want to close your documents.

There's also a third option called Hybrid Sleep. This is a combination of the Sleep and Hibernate modes meant for desktop computers. It puts any open documents and applications both in memory and on your hard disk, and then puts your computer into a low-power state, allowing you to quickly wake the computer and resume your work. The Hybrid Sleep mode is enabled by default in Windows on desktop computers and disabled on laptops. When enabled, it automatically puts your computer into Hybrid Sleep mode. Hybrid Sleep mode is useful for desktop computers in case of a power outage. When power resumes, Windows can restore your work from the hard disk, if the memory is not accessible.

The Sleep and Hibernate options are accessed using the arrow button next to the Shut down button on the Start menu. If you don’t see the Sleep option or the Hibernate option, it may be for one of the following reasons:
- Your video card may not support the Sleep mode. Refer to the documentation for your video card.
- If you don’t have administrative rights.
- The power-saving modes in Windows may be turned on and off in your computer’s BIOS (basic input/output system). The key for accessing the BIOS differs for each computer manufacturer. Instructions for accessing BIOS generally displays on the screen as the computer boots. For more information, see your computer’s documentation or check the website for your computer’s manufacturer.
- If you don’t see the Hibernate option, the Hybrid Sleep option is mostly likely enabled.

To access and change the various power plan settings, see this tutorial.

Power Plan Settings - Change

EDIT: Deacon beat me to it. He always was a better typist than me.
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17 Oct 2012   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I use sleep for shorter times of inactivity and shut down for anything longer than appr. 2 hours of inactivity.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2012   #5

Windows 7 x64 and numerous virtual machines
 
 

It is really personal preference. Here is what I do. My 2 media centre PC's run 24 / 7. I have the hard drives set to spin down after 20 mins in the power plan.
My 3 desktops, (1 6 year old Athlon 64 Newcastle still going strong and 2 modern PC's) I use them during the day and they are on till I go to bed then I shut them down. The hard drives are set to spin down after 20 mins. On rare occasions I'll leave them on all night such as virus scans etc. If there are thunderstorms in the area ALL computer and electronics are unplugged from the power including antenna connections. If you have overhead power lines, phone lines and cable lines I recommend you do the same. The monitors all go into standby after 20 mins. I have sleep and hibernation disabled as I don't use them on my desktops.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2012   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16
 
 

IMO, if a computer is not being used, it should not be on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
IMO, if a computer is not being used, it should not be on.
That's how I've always felt. Never understood the point of leaving client computers on overnight, unless a person sleep-surfs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2012   #8

Windows 7 x64 and numerous virtual machines
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
IMO, if a computer is not being used, it should not be on.
I know it sounds like I am being somewhat wasteful but I am using the 3 desktops I am running. I chat to my wife at work from time to time (She keeps an eye on me health wise) and relatives back in the UK on my oldest desktop. They can pop up at any time. I am playing music and browsing my favourite websites and playing easy games on the main one. The other main one has my email and weather gadgets and a bunch of other stuff on it. I spend a lot of time here now since my heart got very much weaker and I had to stop working due to pain. The other machines are really just DVR's recording Big Bang Theory and other stuff off of PBS since I can no longer justify cable. Plus it keeps the room I am in a tad warmer in the winter Everyone has their reasons.


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 What is the best option for my computer when not using?




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