The Power Options program manages the power consumption of your computer. That’s a big deal when you’re operating a laptop on battery power, of course, but it’s also important if you’d like to save money (and the environment) by cutting down on the juice consumed by your desktop PC.
The options available in this program depend on your PC’s particular features. Figure 8-17 displays the Power Options Properties dialog box for a typical laptop computer.
The Power Schemes tab lets you select, change, or create power schemes. A power scheme defines which components of your PC shut down since you last used your keyboard, mouse, or processor. Much like a screen saver, power schemes are designed to save power, but they offer a greater variety of tricks:
Turn off monitor. Your monitor goes dark, and its power light changes from green to yellow.
Turn off hard disks. The hard drives stop spinning.
System standby. The computer goes into standby mode, which is similar to being asleep. The monitor, fan, hard drive, and other components go dark and still. (Only a trickle of electricity is required to keep alive what’s stored in memory.) When you press a key or click the mouse, the PC wakes up in less than five seconds, returning to the screen everything you were doing before the computer dozed off. (The one downside of standby mode: If the power goes out, you lose any unsaved changes in the documents on the screen.)
Figure 8-17. The Power Options program is a shape-shifter, ...