Information Technology Services

Conserve Power

In an effort to be environmentally responsible and provide energy savings for the University, ITS is providing tips and tricks to configure your computer to save power.

Why should I care about my computer's energy use?

Desktop computers use a lot of energy! Some simple facts:

  • After lighting and air conditioning, computers consume the most energy in Clark's office spaces.
  • Common desktop computers use about 60 watts and flat screen displays use an additional 30 watts.
  • If 50% of Clark's faculty and staff implemented our recommended settings on their desktop computers, we could save almost $12,000 a year! That's before you consider the savings with laptops and all of our students' computers.

For ITS managed Windows computers, we will be utilizing the Power Options control panel. Within the Power Options control panel, we will be using a combination of power saving plans to provide substantial energy savings with minimal effect on your computing experience. You will be free to customize your primary desktop, laptop, and departmental computer lab's power plans however you like for presentations or other special occasions.

Power plans available from ITS via the Power Options control panel

  • Clark Recommended
    • When the Clark Recommended power plan is selected your computer will:

        Dim Display Turn off display Turn off hard drive Sleep Hibernate
      Desktop n/a 20 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes 60 minutes
      Laptop (plugged in) 5 minutes 20 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes 60 minutes
      Laptop
      (on battery)
      2 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes 15 minutes 30 minutes
  • Min Savings / Remote Desktop
    • When the Min Savings / Remote Desktop power plan is selected your computer will:

        Dim Display Turn off display Turn off hard drive Sleep Hibernate
      Desktop n/a 20 minutes 20 minutes Never Never
      Laptop (plugged in) 5 minutes 20 minutes 20 minutes Never Never
      Laptop (on battery) 2 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes Never Never

The Clark Recommended power plan is the recommended option for desktop and laptop computers as it will save the most amount of energy while minimizing the impact on your daily computing. If you need to access you desktop computer remotely, utilizing Remote Desktop Connection, the Min Savings / Remote Desktop power plan is the one that should be selected.

Changing Energy Settings


Your computer will start saving energy when left unattended. In this mode, it will decrease power consumption and provide the University with energy savings. To wake it up, simply move the mouse or strike a key on the keyboard. It does take a few seconds for your computer to wake back up, just a little patience will help this effort. None of your programs will be closed, you will not lose any unsaved work and you will not need to wait for your computer to reboot when you wake it up.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will my monitor shut off or my computer go to sleep while I'm working?
    • No, the power settings are designed to have minimal impact on your computing experience. As long as you move your mouse or use your keyboard, no power saving measures will take place. Your computer will only implement power saving measures when it has been left unattended.

  • What is the difference between Sleep/Standby and Hibernate?
    • Sleep is a power-saving state that allows a computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again. Putting your computer into the sleep state is like pausing a DVD player - the computer immediately stops what it's doing and is ready to start again when you want to resume working.

      Hibernation is a power-saving state designed primarily for laptops. While sleep puts your work and settings in memory and draws a small amount of power, hibernation puts your open documents and programs on your hard disk, and then turns off your computer. Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power. On a laptop, use hibernation when you know that you won't use your laptop for an extended period and won't have an opportunity to charge the battery during that time.

  • How can I tell if my computer is in power save mode?
    • If your monitor is black, and the monitor power light is amber, your computer has entered the first level of power save mode and it has reduced power to the monitor. If your computer's power button light is flashing green, your computer has entered Sleep and it has reduced power to both the monitor and the computer. You can move the mouse or strike a key on the keyboard to wake the computer. If your computer's power button light is not lit, the computer is powered off and is using the least amount of power possible. If the computer hibernated, all of your work was saved when the computer powered off and once it has booted, you can resume where you left off using your computer.

  • How do I wake my computer up to start using it?
    • There are several ways to wake your computer up. Most computers will wake up by simply moving the mouse, or striking a key on your keyboard. If your computer does not wake up with the mouse or keyboard, press the power button once.
      *Be patient, it takes a few seconds for your computer to wake back up.