Windows Power Settings

3 Simple Ways to Change Power Settings in Windows 10

By default, Windows 10 and earlier versions set the Power Plan to Balanced. The most notable feature of the Balanced Power Plan is the computer’s processor is automatically adjusted based on demand and it will sleep when idle for an extended period of time. These settings are good for most users but do not allow for time for updates to apply after hours. Business users should disable sleep to allow Windows to update and restart if needed during non-working hours.

Table of Contents

Choose the Right Power Plan

Which Windows “Power Plan” Should You Use?

By default, Windows sets the Power Plan to Balanced. This allows your computer to automatically increase CPU speed as demand increases and reduce it when less processing power is needed.

Windows comes with 3 predefined Power Plans. They are named Balanced, Power Saver, and High Performance. Power Plans are a group of recommended settings to control your computers power consumption. Your computer manufacturer may have included a custom power plan.

Built-in Windows Power Plans


Increases your CPU speed as processing demand rises and decreases it as necessary to reduce power consumption.  This plan is set by default and meets the needs of most users.

Power Saver

Reduces CPU speed, monitor brightness, and other components are set to low power mode to reduce power consumption. This plan sacrifices performance for increased battery life. Laptops will automatically switch to Power Saver when the battery has 20% remaining.

High Performance

The CPU speed is not decreased during periods of low demand. However, some systems may not honor this setting and still reduce the available CPU cores. If this occurs consult your manufacture for the correct BOIS settings that need to be adjusted. Other components like the monitor brightness, graphics, and WiFi are set to maximum performance.

When should you tweak your power settings?

Although most users will never need to adjust their power settings, there are instants when tweaking them resolves issues with devices and components. Often these issues arise when the computer power plan is set to Power Saver which makes Windows very aggressive to save power. This can sometimes cause components and devices to malfunction.

External devices stop functioning after a period:  Depending on your set up this can be caused by either the USB or PCI Express power settings. Set the USB selective suspend and PCI Express Link Power Management to disabled.

Computer freezes or is very slow to respond: If the issue occurs after the computer has been idle for a while, set the Hard Disk to “Turn off hard disk after” to 0 minutes.

WiFi disconnects: If you have already ruled out a poor wireless signal or malfunctioning hardware, try setting the Wireless Adapter Settings to “Power Saving Mode” Maximum Performance.


Easily Access Power Options in Many Ways

How to Access Windows Power Settings

There are 3 ways to access Windows Power Settings.

Use Windows Settings

Perhaps the simplest way to change the Power Plan is by using Windows Settings. This simplified view contains the 3 most common settings users are looking to change. You can change how soon the screen turns off when the computer is plugged in, the idle time before the computer goes to sleep, and change the Power Plan.

  1. Hold the Windows Key + I to open the Windows Settings menu
  1. Select System
Windows System Settings
  1. Select Power & Sleep
Windows Power Options in the settings app

Use Control Panel

Note: The Control Panel opens using the last view that was set. By default, the Control Panel will open in a simplified view that does not contain a Power Options shortcut.

  1. Hold the Windows Key + R to open the Run Window
Open the Windows Control Panel from the run commend window
  1. If the Control Panel opens in a simplified view, change the view to ‘Small icons’
Windows Control Panel simplified view
  1. Type control and press OK
Windows Control Panel Power Options
  1. Select Power Options

Use Powercfg.cpl

This is our favorite way to quickly access advanced Windows Power Settings with the least amount of effort.

  1. Hold the Windows Key + I to open the Windows Settings menu
Open the Windows Power Options from the run commend window
  1. Type powercfg.cpl and press OK
Windows Power Options

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