Windows 8.1 won’t sleep

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

power options

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

Windows 8.1 Power Options

The Edit Plan Settings box will pop onto the screen.  Click Change advanced power settings

Windows 8.1 Edit Plan 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.  

Windows 8.1 Power Options Screen

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:

powercfg.exe /energy

After about a minute, you can view the Power Configuration report by browsing to the file location displayed in the results:

Windows 8.1 powercfg.exe

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:

powercfg.exe /requests

This will show you all the applications and drivers that are making power requests.

Windows 8.1 powercfg.exe 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

Windows 8.1 Network Connections

Now scroll down to Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6), uncheck it and click OK.

Windows 8.1 Disable IPv6

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

homegroup

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

sync settings

Next, from the Start Screen clicking the toggle switch to Off.

Windows 8.1 Skydrive Disable

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!

About

Connect with Vonnie on Twitter

Posted in How To, Windows 8.1 Tagged with:
  • dkdmvs

    After trying alot of fixes i finally managed to make it go to sleep, by disabling the IPV6 on the Network Interface. Thank you so much for the help. :)

  • rhw

    Seems the video driver can make Sleep unattainable (without changing the settings that should lead to Sleep on closing lid or whatever). Updating the NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800M (FROM version 8.16.11.8974) killed Sleep in 64-bit Windows 7 Service Pack 1 on a Dell Precision 4500M ; rolling back the update restored Sleep. Presumably other drivers have the potential to do the same sort of thing. Note that the update was one of the optional updates presented by Windows Update.

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      Interesting, good to know. If only those optional updates had warnings about the ramifications…

  • softlion

    Don’t turn off IPv6 or HomeGroup.

    Instead disable “Allow this device to wake the computer” by unchecking the box in Device Manager > Network Adapter > (your network adapter’s name) > Properties > Power Management

    You can also, in “Advanced” (instead of “Power Management”), set the “Shutdown Wake-on-lan” / “Wake on packet magic” / “Wake on pattern match” propertie values to “Disabled”.

  • Pingback: Windows 8.1 und der Standby (Energiesparmodus)

  • TouChing Thao

    i need help when i press the powerbutton/sleep button, it does that option where you press ctrl alt tab on a keyboard. how do i fix it to where if i just press the pwrbutton and it goes to lock?

  • Jayson

    Disabling ipv6 is what finally worked for me. I did not have to leave my homegroup, either.This has been an issue since 8.1 for me and I’ve periodically ran the power report and checked powercfg -requests and neither have come up with anything. I’ve also gone through and disabled anything to be able to wake the computer including keyboards and mice. For me, disabling WOL as someone suggested, if that even works, is a worse solution b/c I do use WOL, I don’t us ipv6, and probably won’t for the foreseeable future. Does Microsoft already know this is an issue or is there a place where I can voice my problem and this solution to them?

  • Andy Ward

    Disabling IPv6 worked for me too (I also use WOL so didn’t want to disable that). Running 8.1 Pro 64 bit.

  • Anthony Glynos

    Best article I have found on this, and it fixed my problem by disabling Skydrive syncing. Congratulations.

  • Deian Motov

    Thanks for the good article but none of that helped in my case, it’s also getting a “out of memory” error without being out of memory after about a hour of idle.

    Cheers.

  • Tomek

    It is funny because in my case, the very first of your methods worked. The sleep setting were both set to “never” -,-

  • SK

    Thank you! The issue with the system not going to sleep was causing me no end of issues. I use sleep all the time and recently it stopped working for me. I had already checked all other settings, but decided I’d try, just try to turn off IPV6 support. Shocked the heck out of me – that fixed the problem!

    I’d never have guessed this was the issue! Thanks so much for your blog post!

  • Pingback: Do I really need to safely remove my USB drive? | fixedByVonnie

  • gustav gustavio

    Hi Vonnie,

    Nicely done BTW; however, I have two questions for you please:

    1. How can fixing an IPV6 sleep issue, by unplugging an ethernet cable, be an 8.1 OS issue? Any chance there may be something else involved? Maybe like an incompatible router or modem or even an ISP that does not yet support IPV6?

    2. Why does leaving a homegroup only fixi the sleep issue for some (but not all)? Any chance the ones that fail might be using a mix of older hardware and/or OS versions? I know many are still using XP in the mix. Mine is a pure 8.1 OS homegroup and I have never has an issue.

    In summary, I think many of these issues are related to outdated hardware and people are looking in all the wrong places. Now, before I would point the finger at MS, I would be looking at my own configuration to ensure all hardware is compatible with 8.1. And, if it is supposed to be, my first step would be to go back to the manufacturer and ask why? They are in the best position to help because they can duplicate your exact condition (most times) to see where the problems lies. And, if they find it to be a genuine bug, they are certainly in a better position to deal with Microsoft directly or even the component manufacturer.

    One responder mentioned a driver update cured his issue and I would say that is a key element here. I also had a sleep issue when building a new rig recently and my PC wouldn’t sleep. However, I easily determined that the cause was my graphics driver, which I forgot to install, so I was running on the default 8.1 driver. However, once I updated the driver, it slept like a baby ever since.

    While we’re on the subject of drivers, I believe there are many that have updated to 8.1 using older hardware; however, I do not believe that all manufacturers have provided the appropriate drivers accordingly. After all, they are in the business of selling new hardware and the last thing on their minds is making old hardware last forever.

    Again, you did a nice job and I’m sure it has helped many.

    Best regards,

    gus

  • gustav gustavio

    Hi again Vonnie,

    The powercfg -a message can also be used as a quick check on the sleep states that have been made available to the OS by the BIOS. S3 should be shown as available; however, if not, look to the BIOS for that feature to check it is turned on. Also, be aware that sometimes it is difficult for the average user to make that determination because the wording of the S3 option might not be exactly what one is looking for. In my case, my BIOS identifies the S3 option as “suspend to RAM.” Also, if the option is shown as active in the BIOS but not recognizable by the OS, then I would urge one to go back to their motherboard provider and look for a BIOS update to ensure compatibility with 8.1. If still no joy after all that, I would strongly suggest a direct communication with their motherboard support group to find out what’s happening and why. Please understand it is not the fault of the OS when the BIOS fails to communicate the sleep states properly. Also, please remember that it is the responsibility of the individual vendors to conform to the requirements of the OS provider. It is not the OS provider’s responsibility to try and make any new OS compatible with all existing hardware.

    Still a nice effort on your part BTW.

  • Peter_Pedro

    I have the same problem “energy-report.html” how do I fix it? Nothing else works.

    • Ruthie

      I tried the prompt for powercfg.exe/energy and got nothing. So then I tried the second suggestion which was powercfg.exe/requests and found out that POCKET CLOUD was keeping my computer awake! I never asked for POCKET CLOUD, it was just installed in automatic updates three days ago, which coincidentally is when my issue started! I went to programs and uninstalled the POCKET CLOUD program and now I am hoping that this fixes my issue with my computer not sleeping. Pocket Cloud evidently needs your computer to be awake so you can access it from remote locations. I have no need for that, so there fore I do not want Pocket Cloud. Hope this helps you or someone else. This has been driving me nuts!!!!!

  • Ground Hog Day

    Nice job of placing most fixes on single page! Anyone that doesn’t find a fix here (but they should) can browse this 1,200+ post at eightforums.com. I can’t believe how much waste there is in that huge thread but if you have the time to browse through “all” the responses, you may find one or two different ideas. BTW, that thread (see link below) is mostly filled with complaints and there are 4 or 5 posters that are responsible for over half the responses. That forum is definitely not my first choice when looking for any solution. Most times, the recommendations are vague, and if you question any of the old heads over there, they probably will get you banned. May there are just retirees that have nothing better to do and that forum is their only entertainment.

    http://www.eightforums.com/general-support/28226-windows-8-1-refuses-sleep.html

  • Denis

    Windows 8.1 not going to sleep is a thing of the past for me. Turning off my Sky Drive Sync did the trick. Thanks you so much!

Advertisement

Team fixedByVonnie
Only members get exclusive content from Vonnie

Be the first to know what will make you a pro! The best part? It's free.