Switch between two power plans (UPDATED 2021)

Switch between two power plans

Maximise the energy saving of your PC. Set it up so that it changes automatically from ‘Always On’ during the day to ‘Power Saver’ at night. We show you how.

Click Start, point to All Programs followed by Accessories, right-click the Command Prompt icon and choose ‘Run as administrator’.

In the command prompt window type powercfg -L and press Enter.

All available power schemes will be listed, along with their identifying 36-character codes, called GUIDs (we looked at these in a workshop in issue 353).

Copy these by first pressing the Alt and Space keys to open the command prompt window’s menu, press E and then S. Press Alt and Space again, press E and then Y.

Type notepad into the Start search box and press Enter, then press Control and V to paste the text. Save the file by pressing Control and S.

To open the Windows Task Scheduler, type schedule tasks into the Start search box and press Enter.

There should be three panes visible. In the left pane, click the ‘Task Scheduler Library’ item. Then in the right (Actions) pane locate the ‘Create Basic Task…’ link and click on it to launch the Basic Task wizard. Type a suitable short name (such as ‘Turn on Always On’) in the Name box, and then type a short description in the Description box to help you remember what it does. Now click Next.

The next step of the wizard shows the Task Trigger settings

A trigger is any action that starts the task, and on this screen you can see all the available trigger options. In this example we want to enable the Always On scheme at 9.00am every morning, so click the radio button marked Daily.

Click Next. The current date and time will be shown. Change the Start time to 09.00.00 by clicking on the hour, minute and second figures successively and clicking the small up or down arrows at the right. Change the date too if you wish.

Click Next, select ‘Start a program’ and click Next again. In the Program/script box type powercfg.exe.

Then in the ‘Add arguments (optional)’ box type ‘-S’ (that’s a capital letter) followed by a space. Open the Notepad file created in Step 1 and highlight the entire 36-character GUID for the Always On power plan (in our case, this is 01536ba0-f1a0-4306-ad39-8a8841682380 but it will be different on your PC). Copy this by pressing Control and C.

Then return to the wizard and paste it (press Control and V) after the ‘-S’ in the ‘Add arguments’ box, checking once more that there is a space after the S. Click Next.

Tick the box labelled ‘Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish’. Click Finish and the task’s properties dialogue box will appear. This allows you to change all the settings of the task, but we just want to check one setting.

Click on the Settings tab and ensure the ‘Allow task to be run on demand’ box is ticked. Click OK to save and close.

Repeat Steps 2 to 5 to create another task that turns on the Power Saver scheme (get its GUID from the Notepad file), but in Step 3 set the Start time to 18.00.00.

After clicking OK, return to the main Task Scheduler window. In the top half of the middle pane, scroll down the list to find the new tasks. Highlight one and test it by clicking the Run button in the right pane.

Wait a moment, click on the History tab and it should say ‘Task Completed’. Check the Power Options page in Control Panel to confirm the setting has been made.

To edit a task, click the Properties button in the right pane, or remove it by clicking the Delete button. Close Task Scheduler by clicking the X at the top right of the window.

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