Exercise for the Reader

December 7, 2008

Vista Sleep Problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seth Porter @ 6:36 pm

I don’t think this really counts as a blog without a post about Vista (or XP) sleep and hibernate problems. So, here goes.

Several months ago, my Vista box stopped being able to go to sleep. It tries to, everything spins down for a moment, but then it immediately restarts and comes back up in the “just awakened” state. I can even hear it happening from another room (when the machine tries to sleep automatically), because the fans go full-on for a moment (under BIOS control) before Windows takes over and they idle back to their normal quiet state. (I’ve got a new case, the Antec 900, which I love — vastly quieter than my old server tower, which had five 80mm fans and sounded like a jet taking off, all the time — but it’s pretty loud when that big ol’ fan on top spins up to full speed and the two 120s over the drives max out.)

Anyway, I just ignored it for a long time, since the common solutions from Google didn’t help, and I couldn’t figure out what was triggering it. I tried the obvious suspects, like disabling Wake On LAN (though I actually kind of want Wake On LAN, but it was worth a try), but they didn’t help. Looking through Event Viewer didn’t give any hint as to why the machine had woken up; as far as I can tell, Vista thinks it’s doing what I told it to, so isn’t logging it.

But then a comment on a blog led me to the “powercfg” command line tool. Apparently this was shipped in XP and 2003, but at that point it appears to have only supported power scheme management. However, the Vista version has a -lastwake option, which “Reports information about the event that woke the computer from the last sleep transition.” Exactly the information I was missing! So it turned out that, for some reason, my keyboard (a wireless USB Logitech job) was waking the machine up. Disabling the keyboard’s ability to wake up the computer (via Device Manager) was sufficient to let it go to sleep and stay there.

This is still a somewhat unfortunate solution, since I would kind of like to be able to wake the computer up without reaching down for the power button, but given the choice I’ll take being able to sleep at all. I’m also losing network connectivity on wake, which is a well-known problem with nVidia chipsets. But I’m going to bask in the newfound sleepiness of my machine for a few days before attacking that one.


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