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How do I disable all power saving features of notebooks when plugged into the mains in Server 2003 managed domain?

Posted on 2006-04-29
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I work in schools in the UK.  Commonly, notebook PCs running Windows XP Pro are used to drive interactive  whiteboards for whole class teaching.  They are always used on their power supplies and plugged into the mains in  this situation.  Notebooks are used for this purpose partly because of the lack of space at the front of classrooms  to accommodate anything larger, and partly so that teachers can take the notebook out of the classroom to  prepare whiteboard content at home using the dedicated whiteboard software.

I need a "magic bullet" solution (if there is one!) that will disable ALL power saving features preferably on any up  to date (usually Centrino spec) notebook model; but here's the tricky bit - GLOBALLY - for all users regardless of  their security permissions.

As far as I understand it power settings in control panel are on a user by user basis and also cannot be changed  by a user that is a member of domain users; you need to be a member of domain admins (or at least have  admin privileges) to change the power settings.  All children/student users do not have any admin permissions  and therefore literally hundreds of changes would have to be made across a school site to eliminate the nuisance of notebooks (and sometimes projectors as well but that's a separate matter!) falling asleep during the school  day.

Please note that I am getting reports from teaching staff saying that just moving the mouse to wake up the  notebook is not enough because the notebook may come back to life but the USB driven connection to the interactive whiteboard does not, and therefore a reboot is necessary by which time their carefully prepared lesson has fallen apart as the class loses it's patience waiting for teacher to get the technology to co-operate!

I will be raising this matter with the relevant manufacturer of the interactive whiteboards but I really would like to  get control of the power settings in a sensible way.  I find it surprising that Microsoft/notebook manufacturers  implement auto screen shut-off, system standby, hibernate, hard disk shut down measures so stringently when a notebook is plugged in to the mains, as well as when on battery only.  I can understand all this for people on the move who are dependent on battery power conservation but not when the notebook is plugged in.

It is interesting to note that back in the days of Win9? power saving measures such as auto screen shut-off,  system standby and hard disk shut down were applied on traditional desktop PCs but that these days, on desktops, WinXP usually has only screen shut off implemented after 20 minutes.  It seems that Microsoft has a strange lack of direction hereabouts in what is after all an important matter bearing in mind global climate considerations...

Thanks for reading all this and in anticipation of that magic bullet (please please please!!!)
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Question by:ptruswell
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by:Gary Case
ID: 16569158
Most BIOS setup programs have an ACPI configuration area -- if you simply disable ACPI in the BIOS this should do what you've suggested.   I just checked my laptop, and it has a "Battery Save Options" setting, which I could set for full power and disable all of the CPU Sleep options, etc.
Check in your BIOS Setup pages and see if you don't have something similar.
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by:ptruswell
ID: 16577936
Thanks garycase - I had considered the BIOS option but I think I should have clarified that I want to disable the power saving features only when plugged in on the power supply, and not when on battery only.  If this selective approach is possible in the BIOS I will give it a go :-)
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by:Gary Case
ID: 16578088
I doubt the BIOS has a battery vs adapter setting -- but it's possible.

The other thing you could do is setup two profiles - one for battery, one for adapter;  but if I understand your comment about multiple users that's probably a major pain.

From what you said about "typical" use, I think I'd just leave ACPI enabled; but set the power scheme to "Home/Office Desk" instead of "Portable/Laptop", and set the display to blank and the hard drives to turn off in a relatively short time.   This will still save a reasonable amount of power, but will never power off the USB ports.
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Author Comment

by:ptruswell
ID: 16783009
Thanks for your comments garycase, I am going to leave this Q open a little longer to see if there are any other possible answers.
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rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 16824456
You say you are using a w2k3 server based lan with active Dir? Then you should at least be able to set the screensaver to on or off via a policy. I didn't go through all the settings, but you might also be able to set other settings you need there. Also, I'm using dell notebooks, and these can be set inside the bios to act according to how it is powered, battery or mains. You can set most power settings individually there.
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Author Comment

by:ptruswell
ID: 16830795
Thanks for that Rindi - I'll have a look at AD but I haven't come across this function so far (ability to set screen savers and power management).  Do you know the AD path?
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by:rindi
ID: 16840259
I don't have an example right now where I could check it out. Just look for policies set and you should be able to find the settings in there.
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