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Disable Away Mode in Windows Vista

I had a really annoying situation with my Acer Extensa 5420 laptop recently. It would not sleep or go into sleep mode. I would press the sleep button, close the lid, and would even try to do it through the Windows Start menu’s Shutdown section, but the laptop would still be powered on and usually just go back to the Windows login screen.

The problem of it not sleeping came from setting up a Windows Media Extender (otherwise known as my Xbox 360). When you set up a Windows Media Extender as part of your Windows Multimedia Center, it will ask you if you want to enable or turn on Away Mode. This is what can disable your sleep functionality. It is probably more suitable for a PC than my laptop.

At first, I remapped my lid closing action and sleep button to hibernate. Hibernate is where the laptop truly saves power because it saves the laptop’s state to the hard disk. Sleep just puts the laptop into power save mode basically, but is still using a slight bit of power to keep things in memory. The difference is that sleep will go into and come out of sleep mode much faster than hibernate. However, hibernate actually saves more power if the laptop will be off for long periods of time.

Disable Away Mode

This was the real solution I was looking for. Basically, you need to go change your Power Options settings:

  • Go into the Start menu -> Control Panel
  • Click on Power Options. If you don’t see it, you might need to click on System and Maintenance to find it.
  • There will be a power plan already selected (radio button). Click on Change plan settings for that plan.
  • Click on Change advanced power settings
  • Find Multimedia settings near the bottom and click the plus sign to expand it.
  • Click on the plus sign beside When sharing media.
  • There are two settings for On battery and Plugged in. Change the picklist to be anything other than Allow the computer to enter Away Mode. I picked All the computer to sleep.

Hopefully that works for you as well. I was sick of closing the lid on my laptop to come back and find that it had actually been running the whole time and killed the battery.

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