Vista has a number of new features that optimize the way that your computer functions – especially in the area of power consumption. The new power plans, sleep mode and more intelligent management of hardware resources are some of these. However, there is one small problem that comes with this – if you leave your computer to perform a download, in many cases it just doesn’t complete since Vista automatically puts the computer to sleep after a period of inactivity. This is especially true if you’re downloading on a laptop and on battery.
To solve this, what you need to do is create a new Power Plan that takes care of this. Go to Control Panel | Hardware and Sound | Power Options. You will normally see three options here – Balanced, Power saver and High performance. To create a new plan, click on the "Create a new plan” link on the left side.
You next have to select a power plan to use as a base for the new one. I selected Power saver and gave the new plan a name Downloads.
On going to the next screen, you can set the state that disables sending the computer to sleep after a period of inactivity. I set both values (for on battery and on AC power) to Never. I also turned down the display brightness significantly and the time taken to turn the display off.
Pressing Create sets up the new power plan and switches to it immediately. You can use the battery/power icon in the notification area to control the power plan being used. Simply click on it and select the plan you want. The window only shows 3 plans at a time. So the plan you used as a base for the new one is no longer showed.
However, you can click the More power options link at the bottom to go the Power plans page and view the hidden plans here.
Now all you need to do when you start a bunch of downloads on your laptop is to set the Power plan to Downloads and walk away. The machine will continue downloading as long as there is power. In case of battery, it will go into hibernate mode only when there is no power juice left. This way you can maximize the time that your machine continues downloading.
| Windows Vista