Windows 7 Knows the Power of Saving

When I received my electric bill last month, I was floored!  I had no idea that running 2 PC’s and my home entertainment system could come at such a high price.  Luckily, I had the foresight to use a bunch of energy-saving power strips, complete with Master functionality.  My new upgrade to a faster PC (with an exciting 6 cores and 1 TB of memory) made it even better.  Here is how Windows 7 took my energy savings to the next level:

1.       Customizeable “wake up” settings

You know the drill.  Your computer goes to “sleep” after a period of inactivity, saving you energy when not in use.  Did you know that with the right power strip, you can really amp up the green factor?  I have my PC set so that the main computer tower is plugged into the “Master” switch on my power strip.  When the PC goes into hibernation, the monitor, speakers, and other peripherals power down.  (I even have a desk lamp with CFL bulb that shuts off, as well.) 

Windows 7 has made it easy to “wake up” your PC so that you can resume activity.  It even lets you choose what will get your PC running again.  To assign a device the power to wake up your computer, simply:
  1. Click on the Start Menu button
  2. Click on Devices and Printers
  3. Find the device you want to assign (in this case, we are using the USB mouse)
  4. Right-click “Properties”
  5. Click the “Hardware” Tab
  6. Click “Properties” at the bottom
  7. Make sure you are on the “General” tab.  Then click “Change Settings”
  8. Choose the “Power Management” tab
  9. Select “Allow this device to wake the computer”

You’re done!  You can do the same thing with your keyboard, as well.

Customizeable "Power" Plans

Whether you're using a laptop or a desktop, it's easy to set the options on your Windows 7 operating system to conserve energy just the way you choose.  You can even save various setting profiles or "plans" for different times of day, or for different users.  To customize your plan:
  1. Access the "Control Panel"
  2. Choose "Hardware and Sound"
  3. Click "Power Options"
  4. Select "Create a Plan" from the left-hand side.  You can also change an existing plan OR simply select "Balanced" (which gives you the perfect mix of energy-saving and performance) or "Power Saver" (the most aggressive saving mode.)

Energy "Reporting"

Finally, if you're really comfortable with accessing your computer's DOS, you can run this simple report to see where you can potentially save some energy:

1. Find your MS-DOS Window by going to Start/All Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt (do not actually click on "Command Prompt") and right-click on Command Prompt to select "Run as Administrator". 
Click "yes" to allow access, if prompted.
2.  Once you have your little black box open, type in "PowerCFG/ENERGY"

3.  Once the report has finished, it will look like this:

4.  To access the report, go to the path specified (in my case, it was C:/Windows/System32).  You should see the Energy Report as a file in this folder.  Drag it to your Desktop to be able to open it.

5.  You should now see the full report for your computer.

Do you see anything that you can do to improve your energy-efficiency?  I sure do!

Windows 7 makes it pretty easy to tweak your settings for optimal performance.  What have you found you like best about it?

*I wrote this post as an entry in the #WindowsMoms Mom 2.0 Summit giveaway.  I'm going to the event whether I win, or not, however.  See you there!