Save energy and money by running Windows Vista


You wouldn’t leave a light on in your house all day if you were thinking about conserving energy. Yet every day people leave their PCs running 24/7. Fortunately, advances in Microsoft’s latest operating system help businesses and individuals save energy without a second thought.

Did you know that installing Windows Vista will:

  • Reduce the carbon dioxide generated by an organization, equal to 45 tons per year for a business with 200 desktop PCs?
  • Deliver savings on energy bills of up to $91 per desktop PC per year?

How is this possible?

The carbon-footprint offsetting and cost savings arise from the power-management features of Windows Vista. The operating system addresses these areas through the default “sleep” mode, which automatically activates after one hour of nonuse. In an office, these settings can be managed centrally using Group Policy. The sleep mode is more reliable than Windows XP’s standby mode, in terms of both entering the mode and safely resuming.

Your Questions Answered

1. Do I have to change the settings on my PC to use Windows Vista’s power-saving features?
No, your PC is preset to save energy. Your monitor will power down (also called screen blanking) after 15 minutes of nonuse and the PC will enter sleep mode after 60 minutes. To “wake” your PC, just move the mouse or press any key. Waking should take less than two seconds and should return the PC to your last screen.

2. May I change the default settings to shorten or lengthen the time period before my computer automatically sleeps?
Yes, you can change the default settings by using the Power Options in Control Panel. From there you can adjust when the computer sleeps and when the display blanks, and you can configure the actions for the system’s power buttons.

If you want your PC to sleep right away on a one-time basis, just go to the Start menu and click on the round yellow button, or simply tap the half-moon button on your keyboard (if applicable).

Windows Vista’s Eco-Friendliness // Change the default settings by using the Power Options in Control Panel // (© Microsoft)

3. Should I turn off my computer overnight to save energy?
If you are using the sleep feature, you do not need to turn off the PC each night. The majority of computers will use less than four watts of energy in overnight sleep mode and a little less than two watts if they are shut down all the way. However, if you are taking an extended vacation, you may want to turn off your computer and unplug the AC power adapter. Even in off mode, most power adapters will continue to draw around a half-watt of power.

4. Will sleep disconnect my computer from the Internet?
Sleep will not disconnect your PC from the Internet if you have a broadband connection (e.g., cable or DSL). Broadband Internet connections are always connected; thus when you resume from sleep mode, your Internet connection will return automatically. However, if you have a dial-up connection, your connection will be broken.

If you are actively downloading, your machine will stay awake until the download is complete. However, your screen may go blank. This action will not impact your download.

5. Do screen savers save energy?
No, screen savers actually use more energy than idle or screen-blanking modes. If you want to personalize your PC, use a photograph or other image as wallpaper instead of as a screensaver.

With early-generation PCs and displays, screen savers were introduced to avoid permanent imprinting of images on displays during long periods of nonuse. Over time, screen savers have taken on more of a personalization role, and they have become obsolete thanks to improvements in display technology. Screen savers run when a PC is not in use, thus they are energy-inefficient.

6. Do I have to turn off my laptop to save energy?
No, just close the lid and your laptop will enter sleep mode immediately. If you forget, your laptop will go to sleep within 20 minutes on battery and 60 minutes on AC power. Unplugging your laptop AC adapter will prevent your battery from charging. Even when the system is off, the battery will charge so that you have a fully charged system the next time you use your laptop. Modern laptops will automatically stop charging once the battery is fully charged.

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