Windows has several built in power plans or schemes intended to maximize the computer’s performance or conserve power or both at the same time. A typical power plan monitors the power usage by the computer’s different hardware and automatically turns them on or off depending on whether they are being actively used or lying idle. Windows will also automatically change these settings if the laptop is running off battery power. The default plans meet most people's computing needs but if you have special requirements, you will find Windows’ power plans inadequate.
These special requirements can be fulfilled by third party software such as SmartPower. The program can automatically hibernate or suspend or shutdown your PC, or prevent this from happening based on rules defined by the user. The rules include:
- Schedules: The program can wake up the computer or put it to sleep on schedule. The user can set the wake-up time and sleep time for each day of the week separately.
- Users: If there is user activity on the computer SmartPower will prevent the computer from shutting down or hibernate.
- Devices: If one or more devices such as the network card is online the computer will not turn off.
- Network traffic: The computer will stay on if one or more network interfaces is receiving or sending data above a certain configurable threshold.
- CPU usage: if the CPU is above a configurable threshold, the computer will stay awake.
- Processes: The computer will stay on if certain programs or processes are running.
- Power requests: If one or more programs have requested "display power", "system power" or "away mode", the computer stays awake.
These rules can be combined to create complex power profiles. For example, you may have your computer scheduled to wakeup everyday of the week from 9AM until midnight. But sometimes you work beyond midnight. When SmartPower detects that you are logged in, it won’t put the computer to sleep at 12AM. Similarly, if you have network traffic monitoring enabled and the threshold set to 15KB/sec, the computer won’t hibernate or sleep if it’s busy downloading something even if it’s past midnight. But once the download stops and the network traffic falls below 15KB/sec it will honor the schedule and put the computer sleep.
SmartPower works on Windows XP and later.