October 16, 2006 9:00 PM PDT

Vista flexes its power

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Companies have long known the benefits of making sure their workers get a good night's sleep--and they would be wise to let their PCs do the same, Microsoft says.

With Windows Vista, Microsoft plans to put machines to sleep after an hour of inactivity. While businesses and consumers can change that setting, the software maker said that they would be smart to let their computers nod off.

Microsoft estimates that allowing a PC to go to sleep during off hours, as compared with leaving it on all the time, saves anywhere from $55 a year to $70 annually, depending on the type of monitor.

"This is energy (consumed) when you are not even using the PC," said Dean DeWhitt, a director in the Windows kernel team at Microsoft. "It truly is a waste."

The company has done work in the upcoming Vista update to make sure that the PC can rest more easily. With Windows XP, programs could veto a user's request for the PC to go to sleep. In some cases, that meant that laptop owners thought they had put a PC to sleep, only to discover a few hours later that the machine had remained on and their notebook's battery had been drained.

But Microsoft is hoping to make an even bigger impact with desktops. Today, many businesses leave their computers on at night. Some do it to make sure that they can install security patches.

By adding the new sleep option, businesses can wake machines to install security updates, while letting them remain in the power-saving mode the rest of the time.

Also in Vista, businesses will be able to enforce the power management settings through the group policy tool. That means companies will be able to require, say, that a screen goes blank after 15 minutes of inactivity. Although Windows XP did not have that capability built in, some third-party companies, such as Verdiem, have offered that feature as an add-on.

All that snoozing time could pay off environmentally as well. Microsoft said that by putting six PCs to sleep, rather than leaving them on, businesses can save the same amount of carbon emissions that would otherwise require an acre of trees to absorb. That calculation depends on what means are used to generate the power for the PCs, with the actual energy emissions varying greatly by region.

Only about 10 percent of computers today have power management features enabled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which runs the Energy Star program designed to highlight products that can save on energy costs.

"We had a lot of success with monitors," said Steven Ryan, who oversees the EPA's power management initiative for computers and monitors. "Now we are trying to get more into PCs."

Tweaks still needed?
While Vista makes some notable steps forward, Bruce Twito, Veridiem's chief technical officer, said that there is plenty that has yet to be fixed in the operating system. Although Microsoft is allowing companies to set policies, Twito said that the group policy options are not flexible enough.

Twito also questions whether businesses will actually be able to remotely wake machines that are set to Vista's sleep mode.

"With the attention being paid to energy waste, organizations will want to do something."
--Bruce Twito, CTO, Veridiem

"The devil is in the details there," Twito said.

Microsoft says, meanwhile, that it has made significant improvements in Vista to support waking a machine over the network.

Veridiem plans to introduce its own Vista-compatible power management software within two months of the general availability of the new operating system. Vista is slated for release to large businesses in November and to the general public in January.

Twito said it is good news to see attention brought to the power wasted by leaving PCs running 24 hours a day.

"With the attention being paid to energy waste, organizations will want to do something," he said.

Today, he said, much of the attention goes to the wrong places. Screen savers, for example, use even more power than just letting a machine idle, since the CPU and even the graphics chip are often needed.

Ever increasing computing needs have meant that over the past 10 years, computers have been gobbling up more and more power, though recent chip advances have the potential to change this somewhat.

Vista is trying to make better use of power while the PC is on, too. In particular, the operating system now supports the same kind of power-throttling features on desktops that have been standard on laptops.

However, the fancy new Aero graphics in Vista are also fairly power-hungry. Testers of the operating system have reported significantly lower battery life while Vista than with XP running on the same machine. Microsoft has said it hopes to have nearly the same battery life with XP by the time Vista launches.

Microsoft had previously said it expected to be able to offer a significant savings in power use with Vista.

"We've done some calculations of power savings that we expect," Windows chief Jim Allchin said in an interview last year. "When 100 million machines are running Vista, the power savings around the world (will be) unbelievable."

The EPA's Ryan said that companies can see a big savings by using power management features, pointing to General Electric which saves $2.5 million a year by using sleep mode on its PCs and monitors. However, Ryan said it is critical that the technology be good enough that computers don't have problems, such as freezing up when a user tries to wake the machine.

"It looks very encouraging," Ryan said, but added, "The product hasn't been released yet."

See more CNET content tagged:
group policy, power management, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Corp., monitor

73 comments

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Vista PCs will use MORE power!
You've got to be kidding me! With the higher system requirements needed to run Vista, these more powerful PCs will use more power, not less.
Posted by iBuzz (330 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This story reads like a parody . . .
. . . right out of "Dave Barry in Cyberspace."

"Buy the wonderful new version, because it does what the old
version should have done but didn't, and finally fixes the inane,
utterly indefensible problems in the old version that for some
reason we just never got around to fixing in the past five years.
We promise there won't be nearly as many problems in the new
version. We think. Sign here."

What a racket.
Posted by Splashes (423 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whatever
Who cares what OSX does. It's a f****** OS. Does it have games? Not really, so it's not a terribly good OS for gamers. Can you do a lot of overclocking on Macs? Not that I know of, so that knocks it out of the enthusiast market too.

When OSX has the game and app and H/W selection of Windows machines, come talk to me. When i can overclock if I want to and/or build my own machine, come to talk to me. Until then, shut up already. It's an OS. I buy an OS because it runs the apps I want on the h/w of my choosing.
Posted by notgonnatellya (65 comments )
Link Flag
You mean current computers can't sleep all on their own?
Looks to me that XP has an option to sleep the system after as little as 1 minute and as long as 5 hours. Mac OS X (and OS 9 if you want to include that) also has similar options. It sounds to me that companies (if they want to save power) need to change the default setting in XP (no sleep) or OS X (sleep after 1 hour) and roll that out. Do they really need to purchase Vista to see a power savings? I think not.

It's just another way for Microsoft to say "hey look what this can do" without telling you that your current computer does that already.
Posted by verucabong (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Window 98 could sleep also&
Although if you are still using Windows 98, I would not advise it
because the system doesn't always want to wake up and thus
requires rebooting the computer half the time.
Posted by jones_8099 (177 comments )
Link Flag
Your Missing The Details
XP sometimes will not sleep even if you set it to sleep because it allows applications to dictate this settings.
Posted by matt_parker (52 comments )
Link Flag
You're Missing The Details
XP sometimes will not sleep even if you set it to sleep because it allows applications to dictate this settings.
Posted by matt_parker (52 comments )
Link Flag
"On State" Power Requirements Higher.....
This is just a spin on what the real story is all about and that is that Vista is the most resource hungry desktop operating system (if you can really call it that) ever coded.
So by the time you figure the average consumption of your multiple core, multiple gigahertz CPU, your minimum 7200 RPM (yes that is a Vista spec) hard drives, your 2GB of fast system memory, your PCI Express video card with a DirectX 10 GPU and 256 MB of Video Ram then compare that with it's sleep mode you will not come out ahead of a decent power mode on windows XP.

Vista is a joke. Microsoft totally wasted millions on this bloatware resource hog. It offers a very small incremental increase in usability in trade for expensive hardware and rewriting a lot of programs not to mention redesigning your desktop PKI.

Do yourself and your company a favor...SKIP VISTA.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista Requirments
Umm I'm currently running Vista on a 1Gig Laptop (4200 RMP 40G HD) no PCI Express (just ATI Gfx Chipset w/64M Video Ram), and it works fine.
Posted by pgp_protector (122 comments )
Link Flag
not this again
Yes, Vista will use more resources than Windows XP. And XP, if anyone recalls, used more resources than Windows 95 which used more resources than 3.1 which used more resources than DOS.

Likewise, OS X had heavier requirments than System 9 which had more requirements than 7 and so forth.

The exception *might* be various unixes. Until you try to run the GUI and various applications. But as demand increases - especially on multiuser machines so do the requirements.

Does anyone really think that new OSes, with more features and more options won't use more resources? Do they think cycles just magically appear? If you want to do more you need more power. The progressing needs of the OS and applications (especially games) really pushes the advanced development of hardware. If resource requirements now were the same as they were say... 15 years ago does anyone actually honestly believe that we'd have the computing power we have available to us?

As a note: I use OS X every day 8 hours a day. I like it. Its a good OS. I also have been using Linux since the pre 1.0 kernel. I also use windows boxes. In fact at home thats what I generally use. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses. Only a tool get religious about a freaking hunk of software.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
No need to wait for Vista - you can do this Already!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_pm_ez_gpo" target="_newWindow">http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_pm_ez_gpo</a>

Energystar provides a free utility to enable power management via group policy and provides free support. Now THAT is somthing you should write an article about.
Posted by andyking-pit (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista flexes its power
Huh? Mac OS X has had this for years. I suppose Vista Reviewers will be gaga over that, but really...innovation is a Microsoft PR, not a Microsoft reality when it comes to Vista.
Posted by drmdwhitley (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
There Is No Microsoft Innovation!
Microsoft is all about getting you to buy their upfront license and then they hand you a bloated piece of unstable, insecure crap that you are stuck with because you have already invested $300+! Save your money and download Solaris 10 6/06+ and experience the best OS on the planet!
Posted by matt_parker (52 comments )
Link Flag
Yawn...
Just something else easily done by Mac OS X client/server way
before Vista
Posted by richsevent4 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Mac feature for 10 - 15 years!!
My Macs have had this same NEW ADVANCED feature for at least 10
years, probably more like 15. Sounds like another amazing
Microsoft innovation.
Posted by Will Freeman (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
ohh shut up!!!
XP can do it too, I guess with Vista this integates with the active directory and may be even remotely trigger it to wake up from the network.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
Keep your pants on
Windows boxes have been nodding off automatically for years, too. It's just never been pitched by marketing as a cost savings to corporations.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Magentic power cord...
You are right, my 3 and 1 year olds continually pull the magnetic power cable out. My Mac is sleeping all the time.
Posted by erniescar (11 comments )
Link Flag
Incorrect
Most Macs cannot hibernate without a hack. It is Windows that has had the feature for years.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://matt.ucc.asn.au/apple/machibernate.html" target="_newWindow">http://matt.ucc.asn.au/apple/machibernate.html</a>
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Need Remote Desktop or Network Services
Unfortunately, they still haven't enabled the ability to wake the machine when I need to remote desktop into it, or need to serve web traffic off of it.

Add that capability, and I'll let the machine catch all the ZZZZ's it wants.
Posted by ahazelwood (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sure they have, it's called Wake on Lan
If a motherboard has an integrated NIC, it usually has a "wake on lan" feature. Using the MAC address you use WOL.EXE (Google it) and a batch file you can wake it on demand. Alternately you can set many desktops to wake up at a given time I (and certainly other administrators) have been doing both of these for many many years! Like 40MPG cars, this is not new technology nor a new achievement. Why it makes news with Vista is because MS is informing the (generally uninformed in this kind of stuff) computing public.
Posted by I.T. Garage (2 comments )
Link Flag
But guess what *does* let you do that...
Apple Remote Desktop.
Posted by verucabong (44 comments )
Link Flag
PC's already do this, OS independent It's called Wake on Lan
If a motherboard has an integrated NIC, is probably has Wake on Lan capabilities built in. An executable called WOL.EXE (freely available on the 'net) sends a "magic packet" (or sometimes other similar pakcet). This has been around for at least 10 years and is not new, I'm sure I am not the only admin who has been using this feature for some time. Has notrhing to dow ith the OS - do even a DOS 3.3 PC could be powered on remotely.
Posted by I.T. Garage (2 comments )
Link Flag
There is no sleep mode in XP?
Hard to believe XP has no sleep mode but if MS is saying so it
has to be true.
Posted by Peter Bonte (316 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The article isn't about sleep mode
XP has had both hibernate (sleep) and standyby mode for years, I think Windows 2000 had both of them as well.

The article is about improved policy for corporate environments.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
read the whole story
b4 everone takes sides and starts a war, read the whole story. before we react and make inflammatory remakes we should think. the power savings feature is related to group policy, for instance at my old job they had the sleep mode on,but i bypassed it. with these new claimed settings the network admin can't be bypassed (easily).
Posted by garyfields (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
How to put XP monitors to sleep - BY MICROSOFT!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/tips/monitorsleep.mspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/tips/monitorsleep.mspx</a>

And, let's not forget that XP knows how to hibernate - essentially putting the PC to sleep too - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/mobility/getstarted/hibernate.mspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/mobility/getstarted/hibernate.mspx</a>.

I mean really, CNET! Why don't you get someone to write articles that can at least Google about the subject before wasting our time?
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sell It Baby!!!!!!
I can tell the sales team is working overtime on this one. By putting your system into suspend mode when the system's not in use you can save energy? Really? Duh!!!

And doesn't wake on LAN work with XP? It has for me. I always figured that was more a factor of the BIOS than the OS. Glad the Microsoft has set me straight (humor).

Sounds like the #1 way to save energy is to use an LCD monitor (another duh). That way you get the savings 24-7.

If Microsoft wanted to really save some trees they'd completely overhaul their OS so it didn't take a supercomputer (and thus an average system load of 200-400 watts) to run responsively.

CNet is doing their readers a disservice by publicizing this Microsoft fodder.
Posted by cacarson (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac Energy Saver "How To"
For those Mac users wanting to know more on how to use the
Energy Saver Preference to easily schedule their computer to
automatically Start-Up, Shut-Down, or Sleep (display/CPU/both),
you can find it in the Finder's Help menu or here...
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.4/en/" target="_newWindow">http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.4/en/</a>
mh1614.html

Don't forget, you can always open System Preferences and type
in "sleep" in the search field, and your Mac will highlight where
to click (Energy Saver).

You will also find many options available such as "Wake for
Ethernet network administrator access".

It is nice to see MS Windows users finally getting the features
they deserve. If you want to see Vista 3.0 for 2014, stop by any
Apple store today.
Posted by Aryugaetu (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac has finally caught up?
MS has had both standby and hibernation states for YEARS which sounds like even more options than you list for the Mac. (Does Mac have standby?) It's nice to see that Macs have caught up with Windows.

This article was about improvements in policy settings in corporate environments. Things that could be done before are going to be easier for admins.

But yes, congratulations on catching up with the Windows world!
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
Dumb Mac Users
Why are Mac Addicts so defensive? No one even mentioned apple and they get defensive.

I don't care for OS X but if your os was so good then you could let it speak for itself and the mac addicts wouldn't have to hawk how great OS X every second of every day.

Perhaps OS X isn't that great? My experience in OS X is this: pretty looking graphics but very mouse intensive. I find I am much more productive in Gnome or Windows 2000/XP.

OS X, Windows XP, Linux all have their fans. Can't the Mac people realize that if Linux and Windows people want to switch they will and that they should stop shoving down an inferior operating system our throats? There are Apple stores all over the country, if I want to learn more about macs I can.
Posted by hybris06 (66 comments )
Link Flag
even my cell phone can do that
and my old tv, my heater system , mu fridge mhhh even me.
Posted by cgamboak (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista flexes its power
It should be more of a concern for us all. We love are electrical appliances, but do we stop and think, "Should I buy this product, am I wasting energy". Do us hell. We purchase more and more. Its as bad as societies need for fashion. Luckily for me, in my area of England are trash is divided in to recyclable bags, but we still dont worry about the energy we consume. More and more households are investing in electric readers that are easily attached to the electric meter and they tell you how much electricity you are using and how much its costing you. Its about time these devises were built in to are electric meters.
Savo
Worcestershire England
Posted by sispersonal (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"our", not "are"
You English wouldn't have a problem spelling "our" if you pronounced things correctly, like us Americans.
;-)
Posted by dmm (336 comments )
Link Flag
uhuh..
try turning your stuff off, funny how that saves money with any operating system installed on any make or model of computer.

Actually the thing that people forget, particularly in these days of power saving peripherals, is that if 300+ staff turn off their monitors there can be a dramatic effect on the electricity bill - so that if you work somewhere where turning off computers is not an option, just turning off the monitors can make a real difference.

As for the OS power saving thing - I believe you'll find that just about every piece of modern hardware, from HDs to laptops, printers to monitors, can do this with no intervention of over-priced and what will probably be an over-hyped operating system.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow! What Technical Advances!!!
I am amazed at 2 things here. First, MS thinks that this bold new
technology that allows your computer to sleep is either bold or
new. Second, that C|Net would write such a large story about a
non-news item.
Posted by i,Jimbot (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why amazed?
MS is constantly claiming 'innovations' that aren't innovative, and c/
net has a habit of publishing non-news.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
breaking news!! wow! groundbreaking!
microsoft is at the cutting edge!! what a concept! why did it take
MS 10-15 years to copy this from the Mac OS? news worthy??? cnet
news needs a new editor.
Posted by ed9 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Big Deal - Micorosft Technologies Never Work Properly
Microsoft operating systems have had some sort of 'energy saving' feature for at least ten years, and they have never worked effectively. This smacks of desperation on Microsoft's part -- they're trying to build a value proposition to drive corporate customers to upgrade when they know Vista offers no real benefit over Windows 2000/XP.
Posted by bw94382 (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about the default 3 a.m. updates?
Did Microsoft just catch the green wave? I thinkits just a cheap publicity stunt aimed at true environmentalists that may not be a tech savy as others.

Can anybody tell me if Vista also defaults to 3 a.m. update time? How will a sleeping PC update itself? Does it wake up, work and go back to sleep?
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista Looks To Be Fantastic (ally Out Of Date).
Micro Soft, next thing you know there'll be a feature where it will
restart after a power failure.

This is an example of how 90 percent of the world have been in
the Dark Ages as far as operating system functionality by using
Microsoft products which never innovate.

Heaven help them all.

Ross Bellette,
Christchurch, NZL
Posted by Bellette (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is news?
Macs have been able "sleep" for years. The Energy Saver feature has
allowed for various sleep options. Surprisingly, the article didn't
mention that this Vista feature has been available on millions of
computers for years.
Posted by Celliwill (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Funny
I just love how the Mac fanboys think that they have had a feature for 10-15 years yet in most cases they actually don't even now!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://matt.ucc.asn.au/apple/machibernate.html" target="_newWindow">http://matt.ucc.asn.au/apple/machibernate.html</a>
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Serious Question
Is there a difference between Hibernate and putting the monitor
and HD to sleep? They sound like the same thing to me. I looked
it up on Wikipedia and it claims that they are the same thing
which if that is the case then Windows and Apple have both had
this for few years. And Apple and Microsoft "borrow" things from
each other all the time. Apple's Time Machine is System Restore
which was first brought in on Windows 2000 (I think) and some
of Microsoft's new security features, Gadgets (Widgets in OSX)
and Windows Flip came from OSX so all of this bickering is
stupid. I use both systems I use OSX most of the time but I still
use Windows and its not a bad OS. It has its problem but
everything does.
Posted by jones_8099 (177 comments )
Link Flag
actually not so much
Safe Sleep, the Mac equivalent of hibernate, has been available for new Mac models starting with an October 2005 revision of the PowerBook. Subsequently, a crack was made available to enable this feature for much older Mac computers running OS X 10.4. Classical Mac OS once also supported hibernate, but this feature was dropped by Apple.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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