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Personal computer setup

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Disable Power Saving

To comply with environmental regulations, PCs are sold with power saving features enabled by default. One must disable these features for reliable hardware control.

Power Options

Windows suspends USB and PCI Express devices by default.

Open the Power Options window to see the available Power Plans. You can do this opening the start menu, typing "power options" in the Search programs and files text box, and clicking on the "Power Options" search result.

You will see 3 plans listed:

  • Balanced (recommended)
  • Power saver
  • High performance
The High performance plan actually does not disable all power saving features.

Click on "Create a Power Plan", select the "High performance" plan as the one closest to your new plan and call it something like "My high performance with all power saving disabled.". Strictly speaking, creating a new plan name is not necessary as one can modify the High performance plan, but creating the new name makes it explicit to anyone else checking your computer that the additional power saving features have intentionally been disabled.

Click on Change advanced power settings in the second step of creating the new plan, to open the Advanted settings window. The important settings to change are:

Setting Value
Hard Disks > Turn off hard disk after Never *
Sleep > Sleep after Never *
USB Settings > USB selective suspend setting Disabled
PCI Express > Link State Power Management Off
Processor power management > Minimum processor state 100%
* Type the number "0" and hit enter for "Never")

Some IT departments (like the University of Michigan) override the Windows Power Plan settings when the computer starts, so you may want to verify that these Advanced settings persist after you reboot your PC, or when you login as another user (if multiple users are setup on your computer). The University of Michigan corrected the power saving behavior by logging in to the PC's administrator account and applying above changes there so that the login script copies over the changed settings.


PCI Express C-states power saving settings need to be disabled in the BIOS, in addition to being disabled in Windows:

Name Setting
Dell Performance > C States Control (disable it)
HP Power > OS Power Management > Idle Power Savings (change from "Extended" to "Normal")

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