A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that manages how your computer uses power. Power plans can help you save energy, maximize system performance, or achieve a balance between the two.

You can change settings for any of your power plans, including the three default plans—Balanced, Power saver, and High performance. The default plans meet most people's computing needs. If these plans don't suit your needs, you can easily create your own plan by using one of the default plans as a starting point.

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What is the difference between a power plan and a power scheme?

There is no difference. In earlier versions of Windows, power plans were called power schemes.

Which power plans are available?

Windows provides the following default plans to help you manage your computer's power:

  • Balanced. Offers full performance when you need it and saves power during periods of inactivity.

  • Power saver. Saves power by reducing system performance. This plan can help mobile PC users get the most from a single battery charge.

  • High performance. Maximizes system performance and responsiveness. Mobile PC users might notice that their battery doesn't last as long when using this plan.

Your computer manufacturer might provide additional power plans.

To see or change the power settings for any of these plans, see Change, create, or delete a power plan.

How can I use a different power plan?

Open the battery meter, located in the notification area on the taskbar. Click the battery icon Picture of the battery meter, and then select one of the three power plans that appear on the battery meter:
  • Balanced. Balances energy conservation with performance

  • Power saver. Conserves energy

  • High performance. Maximizes system performance

Your computer manufacturer might provide additional plans and might customize the battery meter.

To select a power plan in Power Options in Control Panel

  1. Open Power Options by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Power Options.

  2. On the Select a power plan page, select a power plan.

Some of the custom plans from the computer manufacturer might also appear by default on the battery meter on a mobile PC, or as one of the preferred plans on a desktop computer.

What kind of settings can I change in a power plan?

As long as there are no restrictions imposed by your system administrator, you can change the settings for all of your power plans, including the three default plans (Balanced, Power saver, and High performance), plans provided by the computer manufacturer, and any plans that you create for your own purposes. Your user rights and computer's hardware configuration might limit which settings you can change.

Some of the links in the left pane of Power Options in Control Panel open System Settings. Changes made to system settings are automatically made to all of your power plans. By changing system settings, you can do the following:

  • Help secure your computer by requiring a password to unlock the computer when it wakes from sleep.

  • Choose what your computer does when you press the power and sleep buttons on your keyboard or mobile PC frame or, with a mobile PC, when you close the lid. For example, when you press the power button, the computer can either do nothing or it can shut down. If the computer supports sleep and hibernate, pressing the power button can also put the computer into one of these power-saving states.

You can also change the following settings for individual power plans:

  • Set your computer to go to sleep after a specified period of inactivity. For more information, see Turn off a computer: frequently asked questions.

  • Adjust the brightness of your display.

  • Choose when to turn off the display during periods of inactivity.

For more information about how to change power plan settings, see Change, create, or delete a power plan. For more information about system settings, go to the power options article on the Microsoft Help and Support website.

Can my computer support any power plan or power management setting?

Not necessarily. Because hardware configurations vary on different computers, your computer might not support some of the power management settings that are available with this version of Windows. Windows automatically identifies the hardware configuration of your computer and makes available only the settings that you can change.

To learn more about your computer's hardware configuration, check the documentation that came with the computer or go to the manufacturer’s website.

How can I create a power plan?

  1. Open Power Options by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Power Options.

  2. In the task pane, click Create a power plan.

  3. On the Create a power plan page, select the plan that is closest to the type of plan that you want to create.

    For example, if you want the plan to conserve energy, select the Power saver plan.

  4. In the Plan name box, type a name for the plan, and then click Next.

  5. On the Change settings for the plan page, select the display and sleep settings that you want the computer to use when it's running on battery and when it's plugged in, and then click Create.

    If you are using a mobile PC, your plan appears under Plans shown on the battery meter. If you are using a desktop computer, your plan appears under Preferred plans. The default plan that you based your plan on now appears under Additional plans.

  6. Make sure that the power plan that you want the computer to use is selected.

Why can't I delete a power plan?

You might not have permission to delete it.

You might also be trying to delete one of the default plans—Balanced, Power saver, or High performance—or the plan that you're currently using (the active plan). The only power plans that you can delete are the plans that you create and any additional plans that are provided by the computer manufacturer.

Why can't I change power settings?

If your computer is part of a network at an organization—such as a school, government agency, or business—your organization's system administrator might have disabled or even removed certain settings by using Group Policy. If you think that Group Policy is preventing you from changing a setting that you need to access, contact your system administrator.

Another possibility is that you might not have the required user rights to change power settings because your system administrator has changed the permissions that are associated with these settings.

Note

  • To change power settings on a computer that you're connected to remotely (for example, using Remote Desktop Connection), you must be logged on as an administrator on the remote computer.

I'm running Windows Vista on a mobile PC and can't consistently get the full Windows‌ Aero user experience (the transparent glass design with window animations). Is there anything I can do?

Yes. If you are running the Power saver plan, Windows sometimes turns off transparency automatically. If you don't want this to happen, you can switch to the Balanced power plan. To change an existing power plan:

  1. Open Power Options by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Power Options.

  2. On the Select a power plan page, select Balanced from the list of power plans.