Troubleshoot power problems

Here are solutions to some common problems with power- and battery-related settings.

You can also try running a troubleshooter to diagnose and fix problems with power settings to help you improve battery life and reduce power usage.

To run a power troubleshooter

  1. Click this button:

    Picture of a Fix it button
    Fix this problem

  2. In the File Download dialog box, click Run, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

Show all

I can't change or view some of the power management 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 made certain settings unavailable or even removed them by using Group Policy (a tool that system administrators use to manage access to Windows features).

If you think that Group Policy is preventing you from changing a setting, contact your system administrator.

Notes

  • Windows hides power management settings that your computer doesn't support.

  • By default, "Require a password on wakeup" is the only power setting that requires an administrator account to change. If you're logged on to a computer over a remote network connection (for example, using Remote Desktop Connection), you must be logged on as an administrator to change any of your computer's power settings.

My power plan information isn't available.

Some of your power management settings, or the registry keys that are associated with those settings, have been deleted or corrupted. For more information, contact your system administrator.

Also, your system administrator may have changed the user rights that are associated with the plans and the power settings that make up those plans.

My desktop computer is plugged into an uninterruptible power supply, but I don't see the battery icon.

The battery icon might be hidden.

To show the battery icon

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and then click Properties.

  2. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, click the Notification Area tab.

  3. Under System icons, select the Power check box, and then click Apply.

If you're using an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that's connected to your computer by a serial cable, you won't see the battery icon. You can use a serial UPS with this version of Windows, but the battery icon won't appear on the battery meter or in the notification area on the taskbar.

If you're using a UPS with a universal serial bus (USB) connection, and you don't see a battery icon in the notification area, make sure that the USB cable from the UPS is connected to a USB port on your computer. If the USB cable is connected to the USB port, but you still don't see the battery icon, check the CD that came with the UPS, or update the UPS device driver. For more information, see Update drivers: recommended links.

I can't select a different power plan on the battery meter.

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 made certain settings unavailable or even removed them by using Group Policy (a tool that system administrators use to manage access to Windows features).

If you think that Group Policy is preventing you from changing a setting, contact your system administrator.

It's also possible that you can't select a different power plan because your system administrator has changed the user rights that are associated with the plans. In this case, the administrator may have designated the active power plan for you instead of letting you choose one.

I can't delete a power plan.

You might not have the necessary user rights to delete power plans.

In addition, you can't delete the default plans—Balanced, Power saver, and High performance—or 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. To delete the active plan, you must first select a different plan.

The battery icon doesn't appear in the notification area.

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 made the battery icon unavailable or even removed it by using Group Policy (a tool that system administrators use to manage access to Windows features).

Here are other reasons why the battery icon might not appear in the notification area :

  • Your mobile PC doesn't have a battery installed.

  • You're using a desktop computer without an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

  • The battery icon is hidden.

To show the battery icon

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and then click Properties.

  2. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, click the Notification Area tab.

  3. Under System icons, select the Power check box, and then click Apply.

My battery doesn't last as long as it used to.

The life span of a battery depends on several factors. For more information, see Troubleshoot battery problems.

My mobile PC has two batteries, but only one battery icon appears in the notification area.

The battery meter represents all of the batteries in your mobile PC. Even if your mobile PC has two batteries, only one battery icon is shown.

To view the remaining charge for all batteries combined, point to the battery icon.

To view the charge for each battery, click the battery icon. The battery meter shows each battery and its remaining charge.

I can't find Shut Down or Restart.

The Shut Down and Restart options are now located on the Lock button menu.

Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click the arrow next to the Lock button Picture of the Lock button. Shut Down and Restart are on the menu that appears, along with Lock and other options. For more information, see What happened to the Shut Down option?

My computer automatically goes to sleep if I don't use it after a short period of time.

By default, your computer goes to sleep after a short period of inactivity to conserve energy. To keep the computer awake longer, increase the amount of time of the Sleep after setting.

To keep your computer awake longer

  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 left pane, click Change when the computer sleeps.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, in the Put the computer to sleep list, click the amount of time under On battery or Plugged in (or both), and then click Save changes.

When my computer is asleep, it wakes if I move the mouse.

You're probably using a universal serial bus (USB) mouse. To keep your computer asleep when you move the mouse, follow these steps:

To prevent a USB mouse from waking your computer

  1. Open Device Manager by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Device Manager. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. In the list of device categories, expand Mice and other pointing devices.

  3. Right-click the entry for the USB mouse, and then click Properties.

  4. In the Mouse Properties dialog box, click the Power Management tab, clear the Allow this device to wake the computer check box, and then click OK.

My computer unexpectedly wakes from sleep.

Here are some things that might cause your computer to wake unexpectedly:

  • Opening the lid of your mobile PC

  • Moving the mouse or pressing a mouse button

  • Pressing a key on the keyboard

  • Network activity

  • Running a scheduled task

  • Plugging in or unplugging a universal serial bus (USB) device

  • Docking or undocking your mobile PC

To find out what caused your computer to wake from sleep, do the following:

  1. Open Event Viewer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Event Viewer. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. Expand Windows Logs, and then click System.

  3. In the Actions pane, click Filter Current Log.

  4. In the Filter Current Log dialog box, in the Logged list, select the time range.

  5. In the Event sources list, select Power-Troubleshooter, and then click OK.

  6. In Event Viewer, in the System pane, select the date and time for the event that you want to view.

  7. On the General tab, view the Wake Source for the event.

If a device, such as a USB device, is causing the problem, you can configure it so that it won’t wake your computer in the future. USB root hub devices are often set to wake your computer because it is required for a mouse click and keyboard button to wake the computer. If you don’t want that to happen, do the following:

  1. Open Device Manager by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Device Manager. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. Expand the device type, for example Universal Serial Bus controllers.

  3. Right-click the name of the device, and then click Properties.

  4. In the Properties dialog box, click the Power Management tab, clear the Allow this device to wake the computer check box, and then click OK.

    If this check box is not available, contact the device manufacturer for more information.

If a scheduled task woke the computer from sleep, first decide if that is really a problem. Some programs rely on scheduled tasks, so changing those tasks might cause problems with the program or with your computer. If you have questions about why a program is scheduled to wake your computer, contact the program manufacturer. If you are sure that you want to stop the task from waking your computer, do the following:

  1. Open Task Scheduler by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Task Scheduler. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. In the center pane, scroll down to Active Tasks, and then double-click the task that is waking your computer.

  3. Click the Conditions tab, and then clear the Wake the computer to run this task check box.

    If this check box is not available, contact your system administrator or the software manufacturer for more information.

The display on my mobile PC is too dim.

To increase the display brightness temporarily, you can use Windows Mobility Center. The brightness returns to its previous setting after you restart the mobile PC. To adjust the display brightness permanently, set the display brightness level in the power plan that you want to use.

Note

  • A brighter display uses more power, which reduces battery life.

To set the display brightness in the active 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 left pane, click Adjust display brightness.

    The Adust display brightness setting is not available if your computer does not support display brightness adjustment.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, next to Adjust display brightness, move the slider under On battery or Plugged in (or both) to the brightness level that you want, and then click Save changes.

    Note

    • The changes won't take effect until you click Save changes.

I got a notification that the battery is low.

If you receive a low-battery notification, save your work immediately and then plug your mobile PC into a wall outlet or install a fully charged battery. If you don't have access to another power source, shut down your mobile PC after you've saved your work.

When the battery charge reaches the low-battery level, a red circle with a white "X" appears above a green battery icon. In Power Options in Control Panel, you can set the low-battery level, choose whether you want to be notified when the charge reaches that level, and indicate what you want your mobile PC to do when the charge reaches that level.

To set low-battery options

  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. Under the selected plan, click Change plan settings.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, click Change advanced power settings.

  4. In the Power Options dialog box, on the Advanced settings tab, expand Battery, expand each item that you want to change, click the settings that you want, and then click OK.

My mobile PC shuts down soon after the low-battery notification appears.

Your battery might not hold a charge very long. By default, the low-battery notification appears when the charge reaches 10 percent. On a mobile PC with an older battery that has less storage capacity, a low-battery notification at 10 percent charge might not allow you enough time to save your work and log off. In this case, consider increasing the percentage of the low-battery level setting.

To increase the low-battery level

  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. Under the selected plan, click Change plan settings.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, click Change advanced power settings.

  4. In the Power Options dialog box, on the Advanced settings tab, expand Battery, expand Low battery level, click On battery, enter the new number, and then click OK.

Note

  • Set the low-battery level between 10 percent and 25 percent. If you set the level to more than 25 percent, Windows won't display a low-battery notification.

My mobile PC suddenly goes into hibernation.

The remaining charge on your battery might be very low. By default, when the battery charge reaches the critical-battery level, your mobile PC goes into hibernation.

The default critical-battery level is the minimum amount of battery charge that the computer needs to go into hibernation. Typically, there is no need to change the critical-battery level.

To change what Windows does when the battery charge reaches the critical level

  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. Under the selected plan, click Change plan settings.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, click Change advanced power settings.

  4. In the Power Options dialog box, on the Advanced settings tab, expand Battery, expand Critical battery action, click On battery, click the action that you want the computer to take, and then click OK.