So you’ve taken the plunge. You’ve done the unthinkable and updated your perfectly working computer to Windows 8.1 and now some of the stuff that used to work, no longer works.
And now you find yourself in a real quagmire: you’re wondering why Windows 8.1 wants to stay awake all the time.
No matter what you do, it categorically refuses to sleep when idle. In this article, I’m going to show you how to make your intractable PC sleep when it’s just sitting around doing nothing. For some reason, Windows 8.1 doesn’t know when to take a break and it’ll inexorably munch on the battery until it drains the thing. Windows 8 slept fine when idle – but in Windows 8.1, it’s like the stupid computer needs the digital equivalent of an ambien before it enters sleep mode.
(i.e. taking an ambien is tantamount to manually forcing the computer to sleep)
1. Check your Power Options
Let’s try the obvious stuff first. It stands to reason that clicking Sleep should put the computer to sleep; however, those settings can change — let’s make sure they haven’t. Go to the Start Screen and type
Press enter and your power plan should immediately show up. Go ahead and click the blue Change plan settings link immediately to the right of your power plan
The Edit Plan Settings box will pop onto the screen. Click Change advanced power settings
The Power Options box shows up with a myriad of settings.
Scroll down until you see Power buttons and lid and then click the + (plus) sign next to Sleep button action to verify the action is really set to Sleep.
Pressing the sleep button is tantamount to popping an Ambien; however, the computer should sleep automatically when there’s no or minimal disk activity. I bet your settings are properly configured here – which is one of the reasons why this conundrum is so freggin’ annoying.
2. Generate a powercfg Report
We need to find out the exact application (or applications) that is turning your Windows box into an insomniac.
Fortunately, Windows comes with a niffty little tool to make our sleuthing a little easier.
Press the Windows Key + x then press the letter “a” to open a Command Prompt with Administrator rights. You have to be an admin to pull of this trick.
Now enter this into the black void known as the Command Prompt:
After about a minute, you can view the Power Configuration report by browsing to the file location displayed in the results:
My report is a recondite webpage named energy-report.html sitting in C:\WINDOWS\system32\
Admittedly, the report reads as if it were designed for robots but not people, so it can feel abstruse and you might find yourself scrambling for an interpreter.
The other option is to run:
This will show you all the applications and drivers that are making power requests.
I don’t have any power requests right now, but when there’s a problem you might see the name of a device driver or an IP address that can help you narrow down the root cause. If something is requesting access to your computer, such as a SmartTV or media server, it can keep your machine up all night processing the request and you might see vestiges of it hanging out here.
3. Disable IPv6 or Leave your Homegroup
IPv6 is the latest edition and future replacement of the current IP addressing protocol known as IPv4. Most adapters have both versions enabled for backwards compatibility but you can safely disable IPv6 for now until it becomes ubiquitous.
Note: this trick isn’t really a solution but just a band-aid. Think of it like a transitory workaround until Microsoft fixes what I believe to be a bug.
Turning off IPv6
If you notice that disconnecting the Ethernet cable from your computer lets it peacefully fall asleep then disabling IPv6 in your TCP/IP properties might allay the problem. If this does the trick, it might be because you’re still running Windows 8.1 Public Preview or a buggy release of the RTM edition.
Visit the Start Screen and enter:
view network connections
Right click your Ethernet adapter and click Properties
Now scroll down to Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6), uncheck it and click OK.
Leaving the Homegroup
Homegroups are a great way to share media resources with family and friends at your home. It lets you share all your music, videos and printers with just a few clicks; however, for some reason Homegroups are infamous for stopping the computer from catching its zzzzzz’s.
The simply workaround is to leave the Homegroup.
From the Start Screen enter
then click Leave the homegroup and choose Finish.
4. Close all applications
The last thing to check is to make sure every program you can feasibly close is actually closed.
For example, if you leave VLC Player open, or an Internet Explorer window active in the foreground the computer probably won’t fall asleep by itself.
Also, make sure Skydrive is off because Skydrive does a lot of background synchronization which can keep the machine actively sending data to and from the Cloud. You can close SkyDrive by typing
Next, from the Start Screen clicking the toggle switch to Off.
The Bottom Line
Windows 8.1 is super fastidious when it comes to nap time. Sometimes it feels like the stars have to be in precise alignment, the computer has to be in the perfect position or every single application has to be closed before Windows learns to sleep without coercion.
Yes, you shouldn’t have to disable IPv6 or leave a Homegroup to have your computer drift into dreamland when it’s just sitting around doing nothing but unfortunately I haven’t found a true fix for this problem.
Hopefully Windows 8.2, which is slated to drop in the first half of January 2014, will address this sleeping pandemic, for now we all have to leave with Microsoft’s shenanigans.
Which of these tips helped your computer catch up lost sleep? Share your wisdom in the comments below!